In 2013, when former blogger Barry Stein was working at Miami Cigar & Co., he started working on a cigar of his own called the KILO. When he moved jobs and joined Two Guys Smoke Shop, the KILO project came with him where he continued to work on it. Owner of Two Guys Smoke Shop, Dave Garofalo, also headed up the United Cigar Group, which distributed Garofalo’s own brands as well as Atabey, Bandolero and Byron.
Originally slated to be produced at the La Aurora factory, Stein joined up with Noel Rojas to finish the KILO project. The final iteration was blended and produced at Rojas’ factory, Tabacalera Aromas de Jalapa. KILO came to market at the 2015 IPCPR Convention and Trade Show under the United Cigar Group umbrella, making its debut at the show in two different sizes: Robusto (5 x 50) and Toro (6 x 52).
- Cigar Reviewed: KILO Toro
- Country of Origin: Nicaragua
- Factory: Tabacalera Aromas de Jalapa
- Wrapper: Ecuadorian Habano
- Binder: Nicaraguan Corojo 2006
- Filler: Nicaragua
- Size: 6 Inches
- Ring Gauge: 52
- Vitola: Toro
- MSRP: $9.50 (Boxes of 18, $171)
- Date Released: July 2015
- Number of Cigars Released: Regular Production
- Number of Cigars Smoked For Review: 2
First thing I notice as I take the cigar out of the cellophane is the very evenly colored, reddish brown wrapper. While it looks smooth and soft, there’s a little bit of roughness to it with a light oily feel. The band is nice, with slight embossing that gives the not overly busy band a little bit more depth. The aroma coming off the wrapper is heavy barnyard notes of earth, fresh hay and some wood. Vanilla, licorice, cinnamon and some sweetness blossom from the cold draw, giving it an almost root beer flavored profile. There is also some freshly cut grass on the tail end, producing a flavorful and interesting beginning.
Starting out the first third I’m getting bold pepper and salty earth up front, while in the background is a mix of many different notes, including spices, cocoa, the freshly cut grass from the cold draw and light hints of dried fruits. The burn starts out nicely even and quite sharp, though it gets slightly wavy about an inch in. Displaying nicely patterned lines, the light gray ash seems to have a medium density to it and holds together well to just past the inch mark. Bold pepper that dominated the first little bit is now just a light sprinkle of pepper on top of the remaining profile. There is still an earthiness to the profile, though spice, cocoa, grass and a creamy sweet fruit note have taken center stage together to make an interesting profile that works well in a unique way.
As I move into the second third, the burn has really evened itself up to almost perfect. The earth has faded, while the creamy spice has grown along with the sweet fruit note to dominate the profile, with cocoa, grass and a small touch of pepper making up the background notes. Draw has been good so far, producing plenty of flavorful smoke. The ash is still holding on well, but has started to be slightly less dense, with small pieces flaring out and flaking off, though not to the point where it’s annoying. The whole profile continues to have a creamy sweet overtone to it, matching nicely with the spice, fruit, cocoa and grassiness.
The final third continues with much the same profile, though the pepper has started to make a return to the forefront. With a flavorful but mostly light profile of spice, fruit, cocoa and grass, the strength of the cigar has been hidden, and is only starting to be felt in the final third. With the pepper now at the front, along with the rich fruits, cocoa, spices and grassiness, the cigar continues to be flavorful and smooth all the way to the final inch.
- The KILO brand has unofficially been launched two times. The first two were the original version, and debuted at the the 2013 Chattanooga Tweet-Up and again at Primo Cigar Shop in Santa Fe, N.M., with the third being the official launch of the new blend and seeing its regular production release at IPCPR 2015.
- Stein stated in a press release that him and Rojas had been friends and he had wanted to work with him, but that KILO was already slated to be produced at La Aurora. It seems fate intervened, allowing the two to work together on the final blend.
- Both samples I smoked were almost identical, giving a good, even representation of the cigar.
- The cigars for this review were provided by United Cigar Group.
- Final smoking time averaged right around two hours.
I never had the chance to try the original blend of the KILO, but what I did get to experience out of Rojas’ factory leads me to believe this was a great move for Stein’s brand. The KILO was a flavor bomb right out of the gate, with shifts in the flavors that kept it interesting all while meshing together wonderfully. The construction was consistent, with the burn staying mostly even and not requiring any intervention on my part. Reasonably priced and sporting an enjoyable profile, I can easily suggest seeking these out and trying them for yourself. I look forward to trying the robusto size as well, but if it’s anything like the toro, I know I’ll be looking for more of each.