Indian Motorcycle Connecticut Shade Toro

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If there’s something that must be an amazing feeling from the cigar brand owner’s perspective, I’d have to think getting your products carried in another country would have to rank pretty near the top of the list. So much so, it might even call for a special cigar.

In the case of the Indian Motorcycle brand, which is owned by Phil Zanghi III as part of his Debonaire House company, he decided to create the brand’s first Connecticut-wrapped cigar as a special treat for the brand’s Canadian fans.

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The new line, the Indian Motorcycle Connecticut Shade, features an Ecuadorian Connecticut shade, Dominican binder and fillers from the Dominican Republic and Nicaragua. It is made at the De Los Reyes factory in the Dominican Republic and offered in two sizes.

  • Indian Motorcycle Connecticut Shade Robusto (5 x 50) — $7.50 (Boxes of 20, $150)
  • Indian Motorcycle Connecticut Shade Toro (6 x 52) — $8.45 (Boxes of 20, $169)

The cigars were released in May and join the Indian Motorcycle Habano and Indian Motorcycle Maduro in the brand’s portfolio. It will debut in the U.S. later this year.

  • Cigar Reviewed: Indian Motorcycle Connecticut Shade Toro
  • Country of Origin: Dominican Republic
  • Factory: De Los Reyes
  • Wrapper: Ecuador (Connecticut)
  • Binder: Dominican Republic
  • Filler: Dominican Republic & Nicaragua
  • Length: 6 Inches
  • Ring Gauge: 52
  • Vitola: Toro
  • MSRP: $8.45 (Boxes of 20, $169)
  • Release Date: May 2019
  • Number of Cigars Released: Regular Production
  • Number of Cigars Smoked For Review: 3

The band on the first cigar looks like it got dirtied during the application process as if someone who had been handling damp tobacco had touched the top part of it. However, after smoking the other samples, it appears to just be an aesthetic of the paper. The foot band on all three samples is also attached incredibly well, so much so that not only can I not slide it off, I can not get a clean break in the adhesive and have to tear the band in order to get it off, which is a shame because they are nice enough to warrant keeping, if that’s your thing. The wrapper is a lightly-tanned color, golden in pretty much every sense of the word, even with some color variation on individual leads. There are some decently sized veins on the leaf but they aren’t distracting or out of the ordinary. The roll is firm and looks clean, with the heads constructed well. Aroma off the foot is fairly in line with expectations, light and mild with just a bit of pepper helping to brighten up popcorn, white bread toast and dry woods. One sample adds in a bit of floral fragrance, and the result isn’t far off from what I might find at the fragrance counter of a department store. The cold draw is smooth and almost oily in texture, still mild in flavor showing some white rice, popcorn and even the occasional rice cake, now without as much of the pepper that was found through the nose.

The first puffs of the Indian Motorcycle Connecticut Shade Toro are definitely on the milder end of the spectrum though not completely thanks to some very subtle white pepper and the slightly metallic sourness that can be found in Connecticut tobaccos. I’m a bit surprised to find it in an Ecuadorian-grown leaf, but it is what it is all the same. It’s not quite the sourdough bread flavor, though it does seem to be trying to get there at times. A mix of black and white pepper builds through the first inch, and before the first clump of ash departs it starts leaving a lingering tingle on the tongue. Speaking of ash, it is more fragile than I anticipated, falling off just as I picked it up to take what I was planning on being the first photo, hence the shorter ash in the photo below. The first third finishes still fairly mild with some white pepper still tingling the senses, while the technical aspects have all been quite good.

As the second third gets underway, I notice the smoke becoming just a bit hotter, and while it may be more of my own doing than of the cigar’s, I’m reminded to slow down my puffing rate just a bit. The more impressive change is that the smoke adds just a bit of body, something that wasn’t really noticeably missing until the change happens. The popcorn flavor sticks around through the midpoint, with black pepper trying to wrestle control away and occasionally succeeding. Across the midway point, the cigar is still fairly mild but flexes a bit with white pepper both on the palate and in the nose by way of retrohales. The cigar continues to burn remarkably well, with no issues with the draw, combustion, burn line or smoke production.

The final third doesn’t begin with any drastic changes to the flavor or strength profiles of the Indian Motorcycle Connecticut Shade Toro; if there is something to give the cigar credit for is its consistency from sample to sample. One thing I do latch onto is the occasional and very brief flavors of sweet cream that emerge. They are similar to half-and-half but with a bit more potency, yet they disappear both from my palate and the cigar itself as quickly as they appear. While the cigar flirts with nuts and warm graham cracker at times, it never veers too far away from its core flavors, save for the occasional taste of burnt popcorn that emerges when I get a bit too zealous with my puffing rate. There’s a bit of a metallic twinge beginning to affect the cigar as the burn line passes where the band would be, and it’s an effect that stays with the profile until it’s time to put the cigar down. Similarly, even with slower puffs, the toast and popcorn now taste burnt, and it’s clear that the cigar has reached the point where it is fully smoked and ready to be put down.

Final Notes

  • Zanghi relaunched the Indian Motorcycle brand in the summer of 2015 after it was discontinued by Rocky Patel Premium Cigars in January 2015.
  • Zanghi and Rocky Patel launched the Indian Tabac Cigar Co. in 1995, with cigars released the following year. Eventually, the name faded away as Patel focused on building the brand around his name, officially changing it to Rocky Patel Premium Cigars in 2006.
  • As I was searching for some additional into about the Indian Motorcycle cigars brand, the first thing I noticed in the pictures was the same spot on the band that I assumed to be a smudge.
  • I found there to be very little—if any—nicotine strength from the Indian Motorcycle Connecticut Shade Toro.
  • I likely harp on bands more than the site’s other writers, and probably more than I should, but I hate when bands are affixed both too firmly and with too much glue. I get that a band needs to stay on the cigar, but it shouldn’t be so difficult to remove that it ends up damaging the thing in the process.
  • Debonair House and the Indian Motorcycle brand are distributed in Canada by Brigham 1906.
  • The cigars for this review were provided to halfwheel by Debonaire House.
  • Final smoking time was one hour and 25 minutes on average.
88 Overall Score

I certainly enjoyed smoking this latest addition to the Indian Motorcycle portfolio, though I do have some reservations about it. As the technical aspects were flawless, my biggest requests lie solely with the cigar itself in that I simply wanted the Indian Motorcycle Connecticut Shade Toro to just give me a little bit more of its best aspects: a little thicker and fuller body and smoke in the first and final thirds and definitely more of the sweet creaminess that it flirted with on a handful of puffs, particularly if I could do a straight swap for the rougher flavors that the cigar offered. Give me that, and this could certainly be a contender for a go-to, milder Connecticut seed cigar.

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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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