Toraño Vault D-042 Guest Review
Here at Casas Fumando we are always open to guest reviews, and this most recent guest review has come to use from Jeff Oda in Seattle. Jeff has been a long time reader and probably the most active reader/commenter on our site for some time. Over the last few years Jeremy and I have had contact contact with the guy, traded sticks, and even pulled off a few beer trades. You guys should all be well aware of Jeff by now, but if you aren’t, he popped up in a guest review of the cigar that I created when I was in Nicaragua at the Drew Estate Cigar Safari last year and then again with an excellent review of Nomad’s Vagabond, one of EO Brands 601 Green Label, La Gloria Cubana’s Rabito de Cochino, Villiger’s La Libertad, Bonita Smoke Shop’s Time Warp Big Ben, Nomad C-276 Torpedo, L’Atelier Extension de la Racine ER13, Bodega Reunión Aperitivo and Digestivo by Bodega Premium Blends and the most recent review the Viva Republica Propaganda Disinformation. He’s been racking them in, and at this rate we should be considering making him a regular! Please show him some love! – Tony
With last year’s acquisition by General Cigar of the Toraño brand, I thought that it would be timely to get in a review of a cigar that I had been meaning to take a look at for a while now. The Vault D-042 line is a follow-up to the Vault A-008 that Tony reviewed a couple of years ago. The Vault D-042 is a completely different blend that was launched at the 2013 IPCPR trade show, and features a “rare Pennsylvania leaf” in the filler. While both parties involved in the sale of Toraño to General Cigar assert that nothing will change with the blends and that manufacturing facilities will remain the same, I guess that remains to be seen. My advice to lovers of the Toraño brand would be to stock up now, just in case.
This little snippet of information on the Vault D-042 comes from the Toraño website:
This latest “Blend from the Vault” combines select Central American tobaccos, but with an unusual addition. According to President Charlie Toraño, “My father and I discovered a rare Pennsylvania leaf, while on a 1998 tobacco trip. Extensive experimentation revealed it to be an excellent enhancement to the filler tobaccos in Blend D-042 which we recorded in the blend book in 2004. The Pennsylvania tobacco’s flavor perfectly balanced the Nicaraguan filler combination. The original blend had a Sumatra Ecuadorian wrapper which was a popular choice at the time and widely available. In making some small adjustments to the original blend, we added a Habano Ecuadorian wrapper and the result was impressive. Blend D-042 is a powerful smoke, but with long and lingering sweet spice notes, it is very rounded and flavorful. It’s a fitting addition to our Vault line, complementing our runaway top-seller and widely distributed Vault Blend A-008.”
The Vault D-042 come in four sizes: Robusto – 5×52; Toro – 6×50; Torpedo – 6-1/8×52; and BFC – 6×60.
Wrapper: Ecuador Habano
Binder: Nicaragua Habano
Filler: Nicaragua Jalapa and Esteli; Pennsylvania
Size: Robusto 5×52
Smoking time: One hour, twelve minutes
Pairing: Oakshire Brewing Ill-tempered Gnome Winter Ale
The Toraño Vault D-042 comes draped in a uniformly dark chocolate brown Habano wrapper with noticeable veins and a somewhat bumpy roll. I’m not sure if this is supposed to have a slight press to it, but it’s not exactly round. I suspect that’s because I bought this as part of a sampler that came tightly cellophane. The primary band is a classy looking combination of metallic magenta tinged red, gold, and black, while the foot band is of the same red with black lettering indentifying the cigar as “Blend D-042”. The bands look quite nice against the color of the wrapper. The wrapper itself doesn’t seem to have much of an aroma to it, just a tinge of earthy tobacco, while the foot shows a slightly stronger scent with the addition of a bit of hay. Clipping the cap reveals a loose cold draw with very little flavor.
Lighting up produces a copious amount of peppery and woody smoke, but the pepper dials down quickly and is joined by a bready note along with a bit of earthiness and a faint sweet spice. The retrohale shows more of the wood and pepper flavor and is relatively smooth. Early on, the burn line is thick and going off at a slant, prompting an early touch-up. A light and somewhat bright sweetness is now showing up on the tip of my tongue, but I can’t quite pin down what it reminds me of. The pepper has almost completely faded out, leaving the cedary wood, light earth, and sweet spice to take charge. The burn has been behaving well since the touch-up, and the ash has held to a good 1-1/2”+ before being easily tapped off. By the end of the first third, the body is no more than medium.
There was an almost overwhelming muskiness to start out the middle third of the Vault D-042, but it died off quickly and the cigar has now turned smooth and creamy, with the same flavors previously shown dominating. Just past the halfway point more earthiness has asserted itself and a bit of coffee and toastiness on the wood has emerged, while bread, nuts, and that sweet spice balance things out. The burn has wavered, but has self-corrected each time, and the ash has again lasted for 1-1/2”.
The body of the Toraño Vault D-042 has now climbed up near the medium-full range and I have yet to feel much of anything in the way of nicotine strength. The flavors have deepened, and the pepper has returned on the retrohale. With about two inches left, I’m obliged to give it a quick touch-up, but it’s not a big deal at all. The flavors remain consistent down to where just over an inch remains, when it becomes a little bitter and harsh, probably due to me getting cold and rushing things a bit so I can get back into my warm house.
The Toraño brand seems to draw some rather indifferent views from a lot of people, but I’ve always liked the cigars that I have smoked from them, especially the Exodus 50 Years and the Vault A-008. Despite the somewhat inauspicious pre-light character, the Vault D-042 proved to be a solid, if not “wow”-type cigar, with flavors that I found enjoyable and the construction, draw, and burn were all very good. Only a couple of quick touch-ups were required, and no re-lights. In fact, the one that I had a previously was even more enjoyable, perhaps because I wasn’t stuck outside in the cold while smoking it, and it lacked that short bout of heavy musk that threw things off for a few minutes. Being that it’s pretty easy to find them at a discount, I think that it’s certainly worth picking up a couple to try.
I wanted to match up the Vault D-042 with a beer with some, but not too much, body and a light sweetness, so I went with the Ill-tempered Gnome from Oakshire Brewing. Oakshire is based in Eugene, Oregon, the home of those dastardly University of Oregon Ducks. The Ill-tempered Gnome is a hopped up brown ale, with a good amount of roasted and dark malts that give it a bit of fresh roasted coffee nose and a bit of sweetness in a medium bodied quaff, while the hops provide a bittering balance. The brew actually served as a good palate cleanser and helped to bring out some of the more underlying sweetness in the cigar, while matching well with the other flavors the Vault had to give.