Today we’re taking another look at a relatively new cigar brand, Dante Cigars. Though the cigar brand was originally used well over a century ago, Mo Fakhro and Mike Huff used the name and launched their new cigar line in April. Back in April for the release, Brooks reviewed the Canto I: The Imp and today I’ll be taking a look at the Canto IV: Toro.
The inspiration for the naming of both the line and some of the different sizes can be attributed to Dante Alighieri’s 14th century epic poem, Divine Comedy. The epic poem is divided into three canticas – Inferno, Purgatorio and Paradiso – while each cantica is then divided up into 33 cantos. While the Dante line doesn’t have nearly as many sizes as the Divine Comedy has cantos, they did use the term Canto to divide up their sizes. Here is a list of the current Dante lineup:
- Canto I: The Imp (Petit Corona) – (4 x 44) – 100 Boxes of 45 (4,500 Total Cigars) — $8.50 (Boxes of 45, $382.50)
- Canto II: Short Belicoso – (4 1/4 x 52) – 200 Boxes of 20 (4,000 Total Cigars) — $11.00 (Boxes of 20, $220.00)
- Canto III: Robusto – (5 x 50) – 200 Boxes of 20 (4,000 Total Cigars) — $10.50 (Boxes of 20, $210.00)
- Canto IV: Toro – (6 1/2 x 52) – 200 Boxes of 20 (4,000 Total Cigars) — $11.50 (Boxes of 20, $230.00)
- Canto VI: Asmodeus (Corona Gorda) – (5 1/2 x 46) – 200 Boxes of 20 (4,000 Total Cigars) — $11.30 (Boxes of 20, $226.00)
Boxes of the Dante look like this.
Michael Huff explained a little more about their branding and the significance behind the brand:
This is a re-imagining of the early 1900s brand which was made in the states. Which is one reason why we wanted to do it in Miami, to keep part of its history alive. The boxes utilize the image of Dante on the box top. The story of the Divine Comedy is very close to my heart. I wrote on about its many parts during my time at university studying the history and symbolism of religion. It still remains to this day one of the greatest works in history, so to be able to pay homage to it again in my first cigar brand was an opportunity i could not pass up.
- Cigar Reviewed: Dante Canto IV: Toro
- Country of Origin: USA
- Factory: Casa Fernandez Miami
- Wrapper: Mexican San Andrés
- Binder: Nicaragua
- Filler: Nicaragua
- Size: 6 1/2 Inches
- Ring Gauge: 52
- Vitola: Toro
- MSRP: $11.50 (Box of 20, $230.00)
- Date Released: April 2013
- Number of Cigars Released: 200 Boxes of 20 Cigars (4,000 Total Cigars)
- Number of Cigars Smoked for Review: 2
The dark rich brown Mexican San Andrés wrapper surprised me with it’s smooth, soft and oily feel since I’m usually used to San Andrés wrappers being a little more rough. With just enough give and a very nicely applied wrapper it appears that the cigar is very well constructed. Clipping the cap the cold draw notes are of sweet tobacco, milk chocolate, touch of sweet cinnamon. The aroma off the wrapper is more sweet tobacco and some cocoa.
The first third starts off with strong pepper, hot cinnamon and a touch of leather. My earlier speculation of good construction is confirmed with a great draw. Despite a cracked foot—my fault, not the manufacturer’s—the burn is fantastic. The dark grey and white ash holds almost to an inch and a half, even then resisting when I try to ash the cigar. Even this early into the cigar I can tell it is going to have the strength to match the full-bodied profile. The flavors have changed a little bit about an inch in, still bringing a strong peppery kick though the cinnamon and leather have faded and have been replaced with dark roasted coffee and earthy undertones.
Continuing into the second third the Dante is still blasting pepper at the forefront, almost drowning out the background notes of earth, leather and dark roasted coffee. The burn has required a few minor touch ups, though the draw continues to be superb and the ash still refuses to let go when I try to roll it off. Surprisingly, the pepper has started to fade and the overall profile has developed an almost sweet note to it.
Moving into the final third the profile still mainly consists of coffee, leather, earth and a little pepper with an overall mild sweetness to it. Some splits in the wrapper have started to affect the burn requiring minor touch ups here and there. I’m not sure if those splits were there when I started smoking or if they developed along the way. The Mexican San Andrés wrapper is quite a bit more delicate than I’ve experienced on other cigars. Despite coming a bit unraveled, the cigar finishes up smoothly without getting harsh or bitter.
- Again to clarify, I believe the wrapper issues were 100% caused during transit to me or while I was handling the cigar. The second sample I smoked didn’t have any wrapper issues, though strangely enough I had a very difficult time keeping that sample lit.
- An expansion to the line is planned with two more sizes to be released in July at IPCPR: the Canto VI (7 x 50) and the Canto VII (6 1/2 x 60).
- The Casa Fernandez Miami factory is seeing more and more clients. Also using the factory in addition to Casa Fernandez is Ezra Zion. It makes sense given the ease of traveling to Miami versus Honduras and Nicaragua.
- Fakhro and Huff are both part of the management of the Arlington, Va.-based Cigar Connection.
- The Imp (Petit Corona) and Asmodeus (Corona Gorda) vitolas have pigtails while the other parejo vitolas do not.
- As noted by Brooks in The Imp review, there was no Canto V at launch. Here is an explanation as to why from Michael Huff:
The 5.5×46 is my favorite size, so I gave it the number VI (6) because I was born on the 6th of April. A further meaning is that Canto 6 in Dante’s Inferno takes place in the 3rd circle, where gluttony resides. when I blend a cigar, I want to smoke it in the 5.5×46 vitola. I want to make sure that everything I want out of a cigar (flavor, aroma, appearance, etc) can be found in that size. In my mind, I want this particular vitola to FEED all the wants of the cigar smoker.
- The cigars for this review were provided by Dante Cigars.
- Final smoking time was two hours.
I enjoy Mexican San Andrés wrapped cigars for the most part and the Dante Canto IV: Toro is no exception. The profile was enjoyable and even if it wasn't as complex as I would've wanted, the flavors themselves did go well together. As always, I prefer a smaller ring gauge which allows the wrapper's flavors to shine, so I think that the thinner cigars in Dante’s lineup would probably be more down my alley. Having said that, I still think the cigar is enjoyable and can easily suggest seeking them out to try for yourself.