Wrapper: Dominican Habano
Binder: Brazilian, Nicaraguan
Filler: All-ligero: Esteli, Jalapa, Dominican
Size: Gran Toro 6 x 54
Price: $8.00 +/- Depending on quantity bought.
This ain’t your Daddy’s PDR. This is new and lethal. The filler is 100% ligero. Yeow! This means strap yourself in, wear a crash helmet, and have a bucket nearby.
The Pinar Del Rio company, run by Abe Flores, has made some serious strides since the 2011 IPCPR show where this cigar debuted. Flores is striving for the high premium market, instead of the $39.99 bundle of 20 you see on CI.
This is an extremely limited production of 600 boxes of 20. The band artwork is gorgeous. I never talk about bands. It’s ridiculous. But the silver/black combination is striking on both bands.
The sample was given to me by the fine folks at Rocky’s Cigars. It is not on their web site yet. They are about to pounce… so it will be posted very soon.
The Gran Toro is an enormous cigar. I can tell by looking at it what my day is going to be like: Recovering from all that nicotine found in all ligero cigars. But then maybe not…maybe I’ve grown some peach fuzz on my chick peas.
The cigar has a beautiful oily glean to it. Even in the dim light where I type, it shines. Construction is good with minimal veins and it’s hard as a rock. Although, there is some push to the stick, but I hope I don’t find any draw problems.
The initial sniffs are horrendous. Dog crap and barnyard….and super tobacco. Almost like smelling a cigarette. Since the foot is closed, it’s impossible to get an aroma. So I snip the cap and sniff. Less barnyard, but still intense. A tad bit of cocoa.
I light up….hoping my head doesn’t explode.
Oh my. It’s delicious right out of the paddock. Very earthy, pepper, espresso, and lots of leather. It starts out with a bang with a high medium body. It quickly gets very creamy. But my head feels like I lit up a cigarette. The burn line is on target.
I bet you didn’t know this… and why should you? I have never smoked one single cigarette in my LIFE! Don’t ask. I got halfway through one back in high school and ended up very sick. So I told myself that these were not for me.
The coffee and cocoa are coming through in a subtle way. Not overpowering and not ready for a Diet Coke yet. The draw is dead nuts perfect. The cigar softens up a bit and the draw is a dream. And I’m loving the flavors at the 1” point.
The cigar burns very slowly. The char line is impeccable. And then about the middle first third, the sticks gets very sweet. A molasses sweetness. Surprise, surprise!
As I start the second third, the power lessens and mellows. But I can still feel some pepper in the back of my mouth. The cocoa and creaminess are oozing from the cigar so I run to the fridge for my Diet Coke.
I’m amazed at how perfect the burn line stays. This is turning into very close to a perfect cigar. Just my style: Full, full bodied; spicy, cocoa and espresso flavors, buttery smoothness, creamy, leather, and a syrupy sweetness. I’d like to add that the cap is perfect as well. Not a single piece of detritus has broken loose. Not a single piece of tobacco has come loose in my mouth. Perfect construction.
Of course, I haven’t gone to the dark side yet by smoking the last third….that’s where the demons live.
I’m going to just lay back and smoke the bitch and write when it comes to me. Clearly, this will be a two hour smoke.
I want to take this moment to say hi to my buddies at Rocky’s Cigars…Mark (Buddah) Cowlin Jr and Mike Glynn. They gave this stick to me to entice my good FB friends. With only 600 boxes produced, this is going to be gone, baby gone….in no time. I may have to perform some sort of sexual favor on Buddah to get some more. It’s OK. I was in the music business….how do you think record deals are made? Really. With Mike, a hearty hand shake will have to suffice. He’s too old. I like ‘em young…in their 30’s when they think they are smart but are really very odd and transitioning to adulthood.
I leave the second third completely sated. The strength is full but so brimming with finesse, you don’t notice it that much…..I should clarify though…I am now laying on the floor with the laptop on my chest and a towel next to me. Loads of nicotine entering this temple of mine.
The last third is a power house of flavor and body. The spice is in the forefront, but just barely. The sweetness, the creaminess and the cocoa are flaming away.
I give this cigar a perfect 10.
And now for something completely different (Part 2):
There I was…..dressed like a rock star in training on a train seeking its way to Leeds, England. I think we played the same place as the Who did for their “Live at Leeds” album.
Sonja loved to dress in boas and beads…a real Hippie. She was also very attractive. A looker. As I made small talk with the Parliament minister sitting across from us at the parlor table, I began noticing something out of the corner of my eye. Sonja was twitching.
WTF? We hadn’t been on the train 30 minutes with 7-1/2 hours to go, and she was going through withdrawal. Goddamit!!!! I didn’t know how to deal with this.
The minister’s wife was definitely staring at Sonja. I laughed and said “She’s a junkie going through withdrawal. Pay no mind.” And laughed again. I hoped some reverse psychology would work…It did for another 30 minutes until she began to convulse.
Her arms began to flail. So I grabbed them. It was like someone on steroids. I could barely contain her. Her eyes rolled up. She started to make animal sounds. She got one arm free and began to claw at her other arm with her fingernails, taking layers of skin with them. This would continue for 8 hours causing red bloody arms.
Now mind you, I sat in a full first class parlor car with maybe 40 rich people. All were staring and not a single goddam one asked if they could help?
Not even the two douche bags sitting across the table from us.
I was on my own. I thought of finding the other members of the band but then I was told they would bolt and the band would collapse. And I’d be out of a job. A has-been before my time.
So I sat there all day long. Fighting with her while trying to conceal it and no one coming to my aid. It was like a Twilight Zone episode.
I had some Dramamine on me for motion sickness. I started emptying the bottle into her mouth and it helped a little. She would fall asleep after I popped 6 pills in her mouth. Occasionally, the band would walk through our car on the way to the club car to drink or eat and they’d wave with big smiles on their faces, glad that they weren’t the ones stuck dealing with Sonja. I smiled and waved back. Sonja was unconscious.
We got to Leeds and then to the hotel where Sonja and I shared a room. I plopped her on the bed, tied her to the bed, and ran down to the pharmacy…maybe half a block a way. I got her prescription of methadone and needles and I ran back to the hotel.
She was gone. I panicked and ran into the hallway. Nothing.
I found her in the closet, laying in the fetal position and making more animal sounds.
I dragged her to the bed and tried to revive her. Her eyes were rolled back. She was delirious.
I straddled her. I yelled at her while I began to prepare her injection. Now I have never given a person a shot in my life, let alone an intravenous one. So all I could see were tomorrow’s headlines. “Jew Bass Player Kills Beloved Singer.”
I broke the methadone glass ampule and guessed how much should go into the syringe. I tied her off with a rubber thingie.
I was unable to get her arm to be still. So I put all of my weight on her, and I began to bitch slap her while yelling her name. Over and over and over. Finally, she came to her senses from me slapping her.
“Sonja…please….you have to hold still and help me. I don’t know how to put a syringe into your vein.” She guided the syringe into her vein perfectly on the first time and she pushed the plunger. Then there was silence. Was she dead?
It took almost a minute but her eyes opened with lots of sparkle and she smiled at me.
I fell off of her, sideways, and fell to the floor next to the bed. I lay on my back, breathing hard.
Sonja sat up and asked how I was doing? She had no recollection of the day.
“So Phil….you want to go find the roadies and play poker?”
“No, thanks. I think I will just lay here for a while.”
And off she went. I heard the door slam and I lay in completely soaked rock n roll star clothing.