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For its lone release at the 2019 IPCPR Convention & Trade Show, Garo Cigars released the 1887, a line that gets its name from the year that members of Garo’s family migrated from Armenia to Argentina, which became the beginnings of the family’s involvement in the tobacco industry and to which company as it stands now traces its roots.

Using an Ecuadorian habano wrapper, Dominican olor binder and Dominican corojo filler, Harout Bouldoukian said that it falls in the middle of the flavor and strength spectrum. It is available in three sizes, all of which are box pressed.

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  • Garo 1887 Robusto (5 x 54) — $7.92 (Box of 24, $190)
  • Garo 1887 Toro (6 1/2 x 54) — $8.75 (Box of 24, $210)
  • Garo 1887 Torpedo (6 1/2 x 54) — $9.58 (Box of 24, $230)

The Garo 1887 is a regular production line with the cigars presented in natural wood boxes to create a clean and simplified presentation.

  • Cigar Reviewed: Garo 1887 Torpedo
  • Country of Origin: Dominican Republic
  • Factory: Tabacalera Cinqo Estrellas
  • Wrapper: Ecuador (Habano)
  • Binder: Dominican Republic (Olor)
  • Filler: Dominican Republic (Corojo)
  • Length: 6 1/2 Inches
  • Ring Gauge: 54
  • Vitola: Torpedo
  • MSRP: $9.58 (Box of 24, $230)
  • Release Date: June 2019
  • Number of Cigars Released: Regular Production
  • Number of Cigars Smoked For Review: 3

I’d be lying if the main band didn’t remind me just a bit of the Cuban Cohiba brand in terms of color and the lines of white fleur-de-lis, plus the figure in gold over the word mark also shares some of the same design elements. There’s a good visual interplay between the color of the wrapper—a well-tanned if slightly mottled toffee shade—and the shades of the bands; the primary band has a milk chocolate background, while the foot band is largely an off-white with brown text. Then, the foot of the cigar contributes some additional interest as the tobacco use to cover the end sticks out just a bit beneath the secondary band. The box press is sharp and well-defined, with the distinct pillowy firmness that is generally found in this vitola and treatment. The covered foot of the Garo 1887 Torpedo is fairly light and neutral, offering a bit of corn flakes and the related sweetness, with occasional suggestions at some pepper. The cold draw is a touch loose and leans more towards bread than cereal, but the intensity is very mild as well. A bit of creaminess is present as well, at times reminding me of condensed milk.

The first few puffs of the Garo 1887 Torpedo are much more pepper-laden than I would have expected, a pleasant surprise given how mild the cigar presented itself prior to lighting. That said, the cigar still wants to be somewhat restrained in terms of body and flavor depth, and once those initial puffs register and pass, the cigar shifts towards a profile that is more wood forward, a bit dry and more like lumber than a freshly chopped evergreen. A retrohale just before the end of the first third shows a good amount of creaminess to the smoke, though not enough to mute the pepper. The flavor has continued to build upon the wood note, taking that aspect into the lumberyard as the burn line advances the cigar into its next portion. There’s also a bit more pepper hitting the back of the throat, giving it a gruffer physical sensation. Combustion and smoke production are both doing well, though flaky ash is a bit of an annoyance.

Without changing the flavor profile of the cigar too much, the Garo 1887 Torpedo feels like it has just a bit more oomph and body than it did in the first third. The pepper is a bit cleaner, the wood a bit less vibrant and I’m wondering if some earthiness is coming in or if it’s just a byproduct of the changes. There are some flirts with coffee and coffee grounds, though with no fruit, sweetness or acidity, the connection isn’t strong and is to the kind of coffee I don’t often drink. Past the midway point, pepper through the nose becomes a bit less bright but no less punchy, picking up a bit of meatiness and burnt ends as well. The draw, burn and smoke production are still very good, while the ash remains flaky across all three samples.

The burn line gets a bit uneven in the first sample’s final third, and while I wanted to let it go, it made it to the point where I was compelled to touch it up a bit. It turned out to be an isolated incident, and the only time I’ve even so much as looked at my lighter. There’s still some pepper in the final third, though it has subdued just a touch, equalling out with the intensity of the wood that has remained a constant since a few puffs into the cigar. While the nicotine strength of the cigar hasn’t changed month, the flavors have concentrated a bit more, particularly the black pepper, while the wood has scaled back a bit and given some room for the earthiness from earlier on to materialize and develop. The aroma of the cigar at rest is pleasantly rich and peppery, with just a bit of smokiness coloring the impression. A bit of funkiness can find its way into the cigar as it gets into its final two inches, at first getting a bit sour and chalky before it turns to an interesting earthiness that just doesn’t sit well on the tongue in two of the samples, while the third dodges the experience. Heat isn’t much of an issue as well, which leaves the profile to continue to distill and concentrate down, imparting a more robust and occasionally grating feeling on the palate and throat. It’s not the best finish I’ve had, but it’s generally not bad enough to feel like the cigar needs to be put down overly early.

Final Notes

  • The ash was quite flaky in the first sample, and I found myself brushing off my lap and laptop more times than I wanted.
  • Garo has been in business since 1995, which is quite an achievement for a boutique cigar company.
  • I’d peg the overall flavor level at medium-plus to just shy of full, while nicotine strength doesn’t get quite as full but offers enough to be felt.
  • The cigars for this review were provided by Garo Cigars.
  • Final smoking time was one hour and 40 minutes on average.
87 Overall Score

It's no secret that the majority of cigars go through flavor evolutions from the second they are lit until they are put to rest in the ashtray, and many times it's a matter of how high the high points are compared to the rest of the cigar. In the case of the Garo 1887 Torpedo, there are some spots where the combination of black pepper, dry lumber and earth are quite good, certainly enough to make it a cigar to search out. However, if there was one thing that held it back a bit from being a really solid cigar was the swings between where the cigar was really enjoyable and where it was either rough on the palate or just out of balance and imparting some less than enjoyable flavors. That all said, it's still a cigar worth lighting up and could make for a solid introduction to the Garo portfolio.

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Patrick Lagreid
About the author

I strive to capture the essence of a cigar and the people behind them in my work – every cigar you light up is the culmination of the work of countless people and often represents generations of struggle and stories. For me, it’s about so much more than the cigar – it’s about the story behind it, the experience of enjoying the work of artisans and the way that a good cigar can bring people together. In addition to my work with halfwheel, I’m the public address announcer for the Colorado Rockies and Arizona Diamondbacks during spring training, as well as for the Salt River Rafters of the Arizona Fall League, the WNBA's Phoenix Mercury and the Arizona Rattlers of the Indoor Football League. I also work in a number of roles for MLB.com, plus I'm a voice over artist. I previously covered the Phoenix and national cigar scene for Examiner.com, and was an editor for Cigar Snob magazine.

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