Back in September of 2014, General Cigar Co. acquired the Toraño Family Cigar company. While no immediate changes were announced, eventually there was a revamp of the Vault blends in May of 2016. It gave them an updated look and featured four new Vault blends, which were also the first new blends to be released under General Cigar Co.’s ownership. Originally released in 2011, the Vault line was an idea that took old blend ideas from a notebook that resided in a bank vault. The press release for it had this to say about the background:
Blends from the Vault originate from the family’s cigar “blend book” which was started by Carlos Toraño, Sr. in 1982. The blend book, which is now almost 30 years old, has a record of every blend concept the Toraño family has ever worked on. The tobacco stained pages of this book include blends that could only come from a family with the history, knowledge and tobacco experience of the Toraño family. Amongst the blends recorded are many which the family has released over the years, together with some blends which were deemed to have tremendous potential, but fell short of the family’s high expectations. This book has come to symbolize the Toraño’s blending expertise, creativity, and is now securely stored in a safety deposit box in a bank vault.
This year, General Cigar Co. continued to expand the Vault line with two more blends. Jack Toraño had this to say in a press release about them:
Our blending team in Nicaragua re-envisioned a couple of dynamic blends from my family’s original recipes. Both new lines round out the sizes available in the Vault line while continuing the tradition of exceptional blends in stand-out packaging and affordable prices. I look forward to sharing the new Vault lines with Toraño fans at cigar shops and special events across the country.
This brings the new Vault line to six total blends, each featuring two sizes. While the initial four blends each had the same two sizes – a robusto and a gordo – the two new blends have two sizes specific to the blend.
- Toraño Vault P-044 Robusto (5 x 50) – $5.50 (Boxes of 20, $110)
- Toraño Vault P-044 Gordo (6 x 60) – $6.50 (Boxes of 20, $130)
- Toraño Vault TM-027 Robusto (5 x 50) – $5.50 (Boxes of 20, $110)
- Toraño Vault TM-027 Gordo (6 x 60) – $6.50 (Boxes of 20, $130)
- Toraño Vault C-033 Robusto (5 x 50) – $5.50 (Boxes of 20, $110)
- Toraño Vault C-033 Gordo (6 x 60) – $6.50 (Boxes of 20, $130)
- Toraño Vault L-075 Robusto (5 x 50) – $5.50 (Boxes of 20, $110)
- Toraño Vault L-075 Gordo (6 x 60) – $6.50 (Boxes of 20, $130)
- Toraño Vault E-021 Rothschild (4 1/2 x 50) – $5.49 (Boxes of 20, $109.80)
- Toraño Vault E-021 Robusto (5 x 52) – $5.99 (Boxes of 20, $119.80)
- Toraño Vault W-009 Robusto (5 1/2 x 54) – $6.49 (Boxes of 20, $129.80)
- Toraño Vault W-009 Toro (6 x 50) – $6.49 (Boxes of 20, $129.80)
- Cigar Reviewed: Toraño Vault W-009 Robusto
- Country of Origin: Nicaragua
- Factory: STG Estelí
- Wrapper: Nicaraguan Jalapa Sungrown
- Binder: Honduran Jamastran
- Filler: Honduran Jamastran, La Entrada 2010 Vintage
- Length: 5 1/2 Inches
- Ring Gauge: 54
- Vitola: Robusto
- MSRP: $6.49 (Boxes of 20, $129.80)
- Release Date: January 20, 2017
- Number of Cigars Released: Regular Production
- Number of Cigars Smoked For Review: 3
The Vault W-009 has a nice mottled brown wrapper, with darker veins popping out from the leaf. It has a smooth feel to it, though I wouldn’t call it soft, along with a slightly oily sheen. There is very little give when squeezed, falling just short of what I might call a firm or hard cigar. Coming off the wrapper is an aroma of damp earth, leather and a bit of musty wood, while the cold draw produces notes of rich milk chocolate, a smooth touch of spice, gingerbread, hints of cedar and a pinch of black pepper.
Starting into the first third it’s quite smooth, with a light spice up front, followed by cedar, a bit of cocoa and only a touch of black pepper in the background. A retrohale confirms the easy nature of the profile, highlighting the pepper slightly more, but is similar with the cocoa and spice a little stronger. About half an inch in, the pepper starts picking up, making the profile a bit stronger and the retrohale not as easy. The burn line is quite even, though it does have a bit of a wavy look to it – nothing remotely requiring a touch up however. Dense, white ash holds easily to an inch, and even protests a bit as I roll it off into the ashtray. Towards the end of the first third the black pepper has plateaued, now a much more significant flavor in the profile. Spice, cocoa and cedar follow closely, with a new hint of earth in the background.
The second third continues to see the black pepper up front alongside the spice which has become a bit stronger. The cocoa, cedar and earth add some flavor, but the whole profile is missing a touch of sweetness that could really tie it all together. While the burn continues to be a bit jagged, it’s even and hasn’t required any touch ups. Likewise, the ash continues to hold on strongly like before. I let the ash test its limits and it reaches over an inch and a half before I notice it about to fall off.
Moving into the final third the profile continues much as before, with pepper, spice, cocoa, cedar and earth making up the bulk of the flavors, though for some reason they seem to be fading out. There isn’t any harshness or bitter notes, but they just aren’t nearly as strong or flavorful as they had been. The burn has finally wandered off center, with a section falling behind and needing a little help. As the W-009 wraps up, I still find myself yearning for a bit more flavor, as the profile continues to fade into just general smokiness.
- Construction across all three samples was fairly consistent, with only one sample having some flaky ash that didn’t hold on nearly as strong as the other two samples. It also needed one touch up in the middle that the other two did not.
- The band for the Vault series is quite large, covering up a little over a third of the W-009 Robusto.
- Speaking of the bands, they are so similar to Camacho’s revamped line that the Vault band photographs upside down just like the Camacho ones do. My guess would be that if you’re orienting text lengthwise, they probably chose to do so for people holding it in their right hand, which we don’t for our photographs, since cameras are also designed to be operated with the right hand.
- The six Vault lines each are distinguished by a color in addition to their name, however the highlighter green of the P-044, light orange of the C-033 and yellow of the W-009 appear to be only a few shades different from each other.
- Cigars for this review were purchased by halfwheel.
- Final smoking time averaged a little over an hour and a half.
The Toraño Vault W-009 was something I was excited to try, as I had not gotten to smoke any of the new blends since the move to General. The cold draw was pleasant, and the smoothness at the beginning of the cigar was a very nice surprise. It seemed to me though that the profile never really solidified into anything, always a touch anemic and lacking a cohesion between the notes. The first two thirds were enjoyable enough despite that, though the final third fading out left me wanting more. While I don’t think I’ll be revisiting this particular Vault blend again, I could still suggest picking a few up to try for yourself, especially if you’re looking for a lighter, smooth cigar that smokes easily.