Country of origin: Nicaragua
Color: Natural (Colorado)
Ring gauge: 56
Wrapper: Nicaraguan (sun grown)
I've been a longtime subscriber to Cigar Aficionado magazine. I have the utmost respect for its publisher and editorial staff, and their reputation in the industry. I read all of their cigar reviews and enjoy their annual Top 25 Cigars of the Year list - neither of which have historically inspired or influenced my cigar choices. This annual Top 25 list has been openly criticized and disputed over the years with claims that the list may be driven by marketing and advertising dollars, and not a true representation of the people's choice.
The 2012 Cigar of the Year honors went to Flor de Las Antillas Toro by My Father Cigars. I took the distinction with a grain of salt; that is, until I received the Robusto in my monthly cigar club January shipment. It was absolutely incredible, and I've been ordering and smoking the Toro Gordo ever since. I've smoked at least 10 thus far - not only have they been consistent, but the smoke has gotten better each time.
The Flor de Las Antillas Toro Gordo is a gorgeous rounded box-pressed cigar that exudes nobility, with its artistically ornate band and the foot adorned with a single plum-colored ribbon. It is the largest of the 4 available vitolas. The cigar has a pretty colorado-colored wrapper with very small veins and barely visible seams - it has a rough texture with no oiliness. The cigar has a spongy consistency from head to foot, and appears to be well constructed, with a double-capped head. The wrapper is quite aromatic, mostly like leather, and the foot gives off a very bold sweet tobacco fragrance. After taking considerable time to savor the aesthetics, I applied a guillotine cut to the cap and took multiple pre-light draws of sweet cedar - the draw was quite easy. There were no flavors that lingered on the tongue.
The cigar lit very easily and maintained a relatively even burn - required two touch-ups, which I attribute to smoking outdoors during a quite windy evening. Burn time was about 1 hour and 20 minutes, which has been consistent with this line.
This Nicaraguan puro is a full-bodied cigar of medium strength. The smoke starts with heavy aromatic tobacco flavor, but with a heavy doses of cocoa and sweet cedar woodiness. There is very mild spiciness on the palate. Black pepper is prominent; however, only with each retrohale. After the first third of the smoke, the cocoa and sweet cedar flavors remain, but become very creamy. The spiciness is now similar to ginger and not only lingers on the palate, but also increases with intensity. The black pepper during retrohale is still present; however, has decreased significantly. Although quite robust, the cigar has a very smooth finish with a more earthy tone. This cigar is phenomenal...
My Father Cigars has a factory based in Esteli, Nicaragua and owned by the very well respected Garcia family with Cuban roots. Don Jose "Pepin" Garcia is the company's master blender who started cigar rolling as a pre-teen in Cuba in 1961, working at a cigar factory owned by one of his uncles. He rose to prominance with his cigar rolling prowess and received several awards of distinction throughout his career. He left Cuba for Nicaragua in 2001, and subsequently opened his own factory in the Little Havana section of Miami, FL and created El Rey de los Habanos, Inc. in 2002. Today, My Father Cigars is run by Pepin with his son Jaime and daughter Janny - who have both established excellent reputations in the industry, as they maintain the traditions that their family has held in Cuba for many, many years.
The Flor de Las Antillas was released in May 2012, and was named in honor of Cuba, which is the largest of the Antillas (the Antillean islands of the Caribbean which include Cuba, Puerto Rico, Jamaica, and Hispaniola [Haiti and the Dominican Republic]). In addition to the Toro Gordo, the 3 other vitolas include: Toro (6" x 52); Belicoso (5.5" x 52); and Robusto (5" x 50). Click here for the My Father Cigars website to check out the portfolio (which I've smoked in its entirety and have enjoyed all immensely - most notably La Duena, My Father Le Bijou 1922, and Don Pepin Garcia JJ Series).
★★★★ Very Good