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Cigar Review: MBombay Gaaja Toro

11 Jul 2016


Mel Shah, owner of an upscale cigar and wine lounge in Palm Springs, California, is the man behind Bombay Tobak. You may be more familiar with the name MBombay, though, which is his small-batch brand of high-end cigars made in Costa Rica.

GaajaMBombayShah’s newest creation is called Gaaja (pronounced Gaa-ya), which is Sanskrit for elephant. “We had been working on the blend of Gaaja for more than four years,” reads a press release dated June 20. “The process involved in logistics and long fermentation of tobacco from countries like Peru and Paraguay really tested our patience. We had to wait for three vintages of the hybrid Connecticut wrapper leaf for the perfection we wanted.”

Gaaja was formally introduced on July 1. Its recipe calls for an Ecuadorian hybrid Connecticut/Cameroon wrapper that’s grown in the desflorado fashion. (The process of cultivating desflorado tobacco requires a watchful eye and arduous attention to detail; the buds on these plants are cut off before they flower to force the plant’s energy on leaf production instead of flower production.) The binder is Ecuadorian, and the filler is a combination of Seco from Peru; Viso from Ecuador, Paraguay, and the Dominican Republic; and Dominican Ligero.

Only one size is available: a Toro measuring 6 inches long with a ring gauge of 54. Of note is the peculiar shape, which I would describe as box-pressed on the back (the side with the back of the band) and rounded on the front.

The Toro is a velvety smooth, moderately oily cigar with a clean, golden exterior and a spongy feel in the hand. It’s accented by a unique, interesting band of light blue, red, and gold with “Gaaja” written on one side and “Bombay Tobak” written on the other. The pre-light notes at the foot are pungent and crisp with loads of sweet hay. The cold draw is airy and smooth.

Once lit, I find a medium-bodied, silky profile with flavors ranging from honey and graham to bread and dry wood. There’s a core of creaminess in the background that I would describe as buttery with hints of almond. Tea, cedar spice, and warm tobacco are also present in this complex taste. At the halfway point and beyond, the flavor starts to flirt with the medium- to full-bodied range, and the spiciness ramps up as well. Construction is outstanding.

You should expect a lot from a cigar that retails for $15.50. Fortunately, Gaaja delivers with a well-balanced, thoughtful profile that rewards careful, contentious attention. My advice is to enjoy this in a quiet, solitary environment with little distraction, and be prepared for a rewarding, distinctive experience. This gem is worthy of four and a half stogies out of five.

[To read more cigar reviews, please click here.]

–Patrick A

photo credit: Stogie Guys

5 Responses to “Cigar Review: MBombay Gaaja Toro”

  1. CigarBuddha Monday, July 11, 2016 at 4:36 am #

    I was recently gifted this cigar, and smoked it as well. I can definitely agree with you on the “hay” notes, but that was about it for me. I thought the hay dominated my entire smoking experience. Therefore I was not impressed. But after reading your review, I think I will revisit it and give the Gaaja another try. I’m totally bummed at the fact I didn’t have such a pleasurable exexperience as you did. Maybe it could’ve used some more rest. Thanks for the review!

    • The Stogie Guys Monday, July 11, 2016 at 11:09 am #

      Thanks for sharing your experience. Would be interested to hear back from you after you give this cigar another try. As you can see, to my palate at least, I think Gaaja has a lot going on besides just hay. I thought the flavor was quite complex.

  2. Charlie Monday, July 11, 2016 at 10:38 am #

    Tobacco from Paraguay really piques my interest…I think MBombay is really stepping outside the box by using different/unique varietals of cigar leaf. Great review, I would like to try this blend.

  3. mike Monday, July 18, 2016 at 4:19 am #

    How can i buy these?

  4. Mel Wednesday, July 20, 2016 at 3:09 pm #

    Hello Mike,
    You use our website to find nearby retailers.