In 1989, Nestor Miranda not only founded Miami Cigar & Co., but also created one of the company’s first releases: Don Lino. While there have been a few updates to the line since then—most notably, the Don Lino Africa and its refresh in 2019—the brand has remained under the radar for most cigar enthusiasts.

Earlier this year, Miami Cigar introduced not one, but two new blends for the Don Lino line during the 2021 PCA Convention & Trade Show, named Don Lino Connecticut and Don Lino Maduro. While the Connecticut version of the cigar is made with an Ecuadorian Connecticut wrapper covering a Dominican olor binder and four different fillers, the focus for my review today is the Don Lino Maduro, which incorporates a Mexican San Andrés wrapper covering a Dominican olor binder as well as three filler tobaccos, all from different counties: Cameroon, Dominican criollo 98 and Pennsylvania broadleaf.

The Don Lino Maduro debuted in three different vitolas.

  • Don Lino Maduro Gran Toro (6 x 60) — $6.50 (Box of 20, $130)
  • Don Lino Maduro Toro (5 1/2 x 54) — $6.25 (Box of 20, $125)
  • Don Lino Maduro Robusto (5 x 50) — $5.95 (Box of 20, $119)

According to Miami Cigar & Co., the Don Lino Maduro cigars are being produced at an undisclosed Dominican factory and boxes began shipping to retailers in August.

  • Cigar Reviewed: Don Lino Maduro Toro
  • Country of Origin: Dominican Republic
  • Factory: Undisclosed
  • Wrapper: Mexico (San Andrés)
  • Binder: Dominican Republic (Olor)
  • Filler: Cameroon, Dominican Republic (Criollo 98) & U.S.A. (Pennsylvania Broadleaf)
  • Length: 5 1/2 Inches
  • Ring Gauge: 54
  • Vitola: Toro Extra
  • MSRP: $6.25 (Box of 20, $125)
  • Release Date: August 2021
  • Number of Cigars Released: Regular Production
  • Number of Cigars Smoked For Review: 3

Visually, the Don Lino Maduro Toro is covered in a reddish milk chocolate brown wrapper that has both a bit of tooth as well as some obvious oil present. In addition, there are some noticeable veins running up and down the length of the cigar and it is very firm when squeezed. The aroma from the wrapper is a combination of generic wood, barnyard, earth, leather and black pepper while the foot brings notes of pistachios, cedar, leather, and tobacco. Finally, after a straight cut the cold draw features flavors of strong cocoa nibs, leather tack, cedar, espresso beans and slight cinnamon.

There is plenty of both espresso bitterness and spice on the palate from the moment I toast the foot of the Don Lino Maduro Toro; and unfortunately, neither dissipate all that much as the first third continues to burn down. Eventually, I taste other flavors of dark chocolate, gritty earth leather, nuts and cedar, but none are even close to strong enough to threaten becoming the main notes. The profile is fairly spicy overall so far, while the retrohale features a small amount of black pepper and some indeterminate sweetness that seems to be getting stronger as the first third continues. Construction-wise, the burn presents issues and has to be touched up early on in two of the samples, but neither are close to major issues and the draw is excellent on all three cigars after straight cuts. Flavor is just under medium, body is a solid medium and rising while the strength is close to the medium mark by the end of the first third.

Thankfully, there are some major changes in the profile of the Don Lino during the second third, starting with the main flavors in the profile that now include milk chocolate and cinnamon which reminds me strongly of Mexican hot chocolate. Secondary notes of earth, coffee beans, leather, earth and anise flit in and out, while there is still some black pepper and generic sweetness present on the retrohale. In terms of construction, the burn has evened out nicely and the draw remains excellent, while the smoke production is pouring off of the foot in massive quantities. Flavor has increased to medium-plus, body is still at a solid medium and the strength has hit the medium mark but seems content to stay there for the moment.

The final third of the Don Lino Maduro is extremely similar to the preceding third, albeit with a bit less cinnamon on the palate, meaning that the top flavor is now straight milk chocolate. In addition, I am still tasting bitter espresso, hay, gritty earth, leather and a touch of citrus at various points along with some black pepper and generic sweetness on the retrohale. The overall construction continues to be above average, with both the burn and the draw giving me virtually no issues on two samples, although my third cigar needs a touch-up in each third to keep things on track. Flavor ends at medium-plus, body ends at medium and the strength ends up just over the medium mark by the time I put the nub down with just under an inch remaining.

Final Notes

  • Both the Connecticut and Maduro versions of the new Don Lino debuted in the same three vitolas at exactly the same price points.
  • The makeup of the Don Lino Maduro is extremely interesting when you consider those price points: not only does it include tobacco from Mexico, but also the Dominican Republic, Cameroon and the U.S.A., four counties you don’t often see together in a blend for a cigar priced around $6.
  • As mentioned above, the Don Lino Maduro is not the first cigar in the line to include Cameroon tobacco, as it is also used in the blend for the aforementioned Don Lino Africa, albeit as a binder and not in the filler.
  • I do wonder if a bit of age will help the first third drop some of the aggressive spice and obvious bitterness, especially since the second and final thirds show just how enjoyable this cigar can be.
  • Apparently, the bands for the new Don Lino Maduro were delayed enough that the company wasn’t sure if they were going to be able to be shown off during the 2021 PCA Convention & Trade Show and as a result, about 100 of the bands were made just for the show.
  • While the flavor was seemingly unaffected in any major way, the final cigar I smoked for this review had quite a few more burn issues than the other two which necessitated me touching up the burn once in every third.
  • Miami Cigar & Co. advertises on halfwheel.
  • The cigars smoked for this review were purchased by halfwheel.
  • Final smoking time for all three samples averaged one hour and 39 minutes.
  • If you would like to purchase any of the Don Lino Maduro Toro cigars, site sponsors Famous Smoke Shop and JR Cigars have them in stock now.

Update (Nov. 22, 2021) — Miami Cigar & Co. has clarified that the MSRP of the Don Lino 6 x 60 is $6.50, not $6.

86 Overall Score

Although the Don Lino Maduro Toro has some issues with bitterness and too much spice in the first third, there is a massive change in the profile right around the start of the second third. Those changes include an explosion of complexity highlighted by flavors of milk chocolate and cinnamon along with some nice—albeit more generic—sweetness on the retrohale. In addition, while there were minor issues with the burn on all three samples, they were easily corrected and the strength level gradually increases to a point just past medium right before the cigar ends. Throw in the $6 price point and you are left with a cigar that is easily good enough to recommend trying, so long as you can get past the first third.

Brooks Whittington

I have been smoking cigars for over eight years. A documentary wedding photographer by trade, I spent seven years as a photojournalist for the Dallas Morning News and the Fort Worth Star Telegram. I started the cigar blog SmokingStogie in 2008 after realizing that there was a need for a cigar blog with better photographs and more in-depth information about each release. SmokingStogie quickly became one of the more influential cigar blogs on the internet, known for reviewing preproduction, prerelease, rare, extremely hard-to-find and expensive cigars. I am a co-founder of halfwheel and now serve as an editor for halfwheel.