Toro, 6” x 50 ring gauge / $7, Silo Cigars
By now, regular readers will probably notice that I took a trip to Knoxville recently. Two trips to Knoxville within 3 weeks, to be completely accurate...and both times I stopped at Silo Cigars in Farragut to see what they had “new and different” that I might be able to review (for those of you not from “around here” Farragut is to Knoxville as Irvine is to the rest of Orange County, California...or pretty close to it...if you know SoCal, you’ll catch my drift). One of the cigars I came across was introduced to me as a “very limited release” from the Chaveta Cigar line, this one with a Habano wrapper. Chaveta is a line owned (I believe) by the same folks that own Tower Pipes and Cigars in Sacramento, California. One six stores in the country sell Chaveta and only one is outside Central California...all the way across the country in East Tennessee. The original Chaveta uses Nicaraguan and Dominican fillers, a Dominican binder, and a Brazilian Bahia Maduro wrapper; I can’t tell from the website how much filler is held in common with the Maduro, but the Habano uses Nicaraguan, Dominican and USA Broadleaf filler, a Dominican binder, and a “Habano” wrapper...I put Habano in quotation marks because that’s all it says...no country of origin is listed. This review sample is my first experience with this cigar.
The band is nice-looking, a combination of “traditional” with the medals adorning the sides and “modern” with the swoopy cursive font spelling “Chaveta” and the artwork of an actual cigar-roller’s best friend (in case you didn’t know, a chaveta is the curved blade, usually with a handle directly opposing the blade, that torcedors use to trim and shape wrapper leaf while rolling it onto a cigar...that’s a simplistic explanation...if you ever see an actual working torcedor with a chaveta, it’s almost like a magic show...they are true artists with the blade). The wrapper leaf itself was glistening with oils. The carmel-colored leaf was broken up with a few medium-sized veins but nothing that seemed like it would cause uneven burning. I got a strong whiff of barnyardy earth from the body of the cigar and a little hay after it had been out of the cellophane 10 or 15 minutes and the earthiness dissipated a bit. The foot had a stronger manure-like earthiness and a nice underlying sweetness. The cold draw was very good and I got flavors of hay, cedar and a little pepper spice...and there was this strange flavor that was hard to identify, maybe some other wood note...oak or something. Interesting and unusual.
After lighting the odd woodiness got a little more pronounced...almost definitely an oak note, which went along well with the strong earthiness and cedar flavors in the mix. A bit of spice in the retrohale came as no surprise. What did come as a bit of a surprise was the subtle, underlying sweet note on the palate...a bit of cocoa powder and sweetened coffee that I suspect was coming from the Broadleaf in the mix. That continued to be the flavor profile I experienced through the first third as the cigar was converted to a solid ash the color of concrete.
That ash proved to be almost the consistency of concrete, too, as it held on for an inch or more without flaking or falling. The draw was great and the burn line was quite even. During the second third, the Chaveta Habano lost a bit of its wood flavors in favor of a more pronounced molasses sweetness that I believe was from the Habano wrapper. There was a bit of leather, too, and plenty of earthiness; the pepper spice that had started solely on the nose, made its way to the palate as well.
As the final third got going, I noticed a move to a more earthy character...more black coffee and strong tobacco flavor, too. While this cigar had not been, up to this point, anywhere near full bodied, it was starting to show a bit of nicotine strength...and the body did seem to be ramping up a bit, too. As I neared the end, the Chaveta Habano had crept into the full bodied range and the strength had evened out a bit. It did continue to get earthier as it went, though, and it burned fairly hot, which I'm sure I could avoid if I smoked more slowly. In the end, this was a very good cigar with a lot of interesting flavors and plenty of complexity to keep me interested. It wouldn't be an every day smoke for me, but I could see buying a few more of these to keep around. The body and strength would make it too strong for new smokers, but others might find a new favorite here.