Nestor Miranda Art Deco Gran Toro

Though it’s not officially released yet, small quantities of the Art Deco have been sneaking onto the shelves of select retailer(s) in a low-key bundled format recently. As a result, I’ve had the opportunity to smoke a number of Nestor Miranda’s stylish new smokes, at retail, since IPCPR. And as we all learn quickly, trade show samples are great, but it’s what arrives at the cigar shop that counts.

When they do hit your local brick and mortar on or around November 12th, you’ll find them in flashy tins instead of the traditional cigar box. (I’ve seen one, and they look a great deal like Art Deco lunchboxes. I have asked Nestor if he’s given thought to putting a handle on them. No word on that yet.) The cigars will be available in three sizes, Coffee Break (4 1/2 x 50), Robusto Grande (5 1/2 x 54) and Gran Toro (6 x 60).

Like the Special Selection, this cigar is also made by the prolific Don “Pepin” Garcia. One of the things that makes the Art Deco interesting is the large percentage of Dominican leaf in the composition. There’s no doubt of Pepin’s skill when it comes to blending, but he typically works with leaf from Nicaragua. As Nestor Miranda is quoted as saying in the official press release, “We wanted to get Pepin out of his comfort zone, which is using Nicaraguan tobacco.” And they succeeded. Now let’s see how he did in this unfamiliar territory.

Cigar Stats:
Size: 6 x 60
Wrapper: Nicaraguan Corojo ’06
Binder: Dominican Criollo ’98, Nicaraguan Habano ’00
Filler: 40% Dominican San Vicente, 60% Nicaraguan Pelo de Oro
Smoking Time: 2 hours
Beverage: Water
Source: Purchased by reviewer
Price: MSRP $8.57

The Pre-Smoke
I know 6 x 60 is big, but you don’t realize how big until you’re holding the Gran Toro in your hand. It’s huge, almost comically big, but it’s still a good looking cigar, none the less. That’s due in large part to the oily and attractive wrapper leaf and the great looking band that reminds me a little of a hood ornament on a classic car. It does seem to have a lot of veins, but they are pretty fine. A cigar with this much surface area can’t help but show more veins than thinner traditionally-sized sticks.

Except for one, the cigars I lit up for this review were consistently firm. There was a light, sweet hay and compost scent to the wrapper, and the cold draw produced a little tart sweetness.

The Burn
For the most part, the burn was spot on with the Art Deco Gran Toro. But I did run into some trouble with one stick. If you take a look at the picture of the cigar feet above, you will probably be able to guess which one. It started off with a very loose draw (a problem which is made worse by the stick’s girth, fortunately it tightened up a bit after a while), produced a flaky ash, and needed repeat correction for very uneven burn.

Considering the half dozen (or more) of these I’ve smoked so far, and the obvious visual difference of the filler, it seems fair to conclude that that poor performance was the exception, not the rule. The rest burned evenly, drew nicely, and had white, compact ashes.

The Flavor
Like some of Miami Cigars’ other sticks, there isn’t much in the way of flavor transition from one third to next, or even between halves. (Though there is a gradual growth of a warming spice as the cigar progresses.) By an inch or so in, you know what to expect for the duration of the smoke. And what you’re in for is an intriguing combination of a slightly tart green apple sweetness, wood, and a smokey, earthy spice that reminds me of paprika.

The Price
No complaints about the price. It’s in the zone, and it seems reasonable considering the acre of quality tobacco you get with each stick.

The Verdict
A couple of things surprised me about the Gran Toro, the first is that it’s the size that tastes best to me of three available vitolas. It isn’t just the 6 x 60 hype, the blend works very well in this format. And the second thing is that it’s not quite as uncomfortable to smoke as I expected. But then, I am not one to clench a cigar in my teeth between puffs.

On the subject of discomfort, as uncomfortable as it may have been for Pepin to nix some Nicaraguan leaf to make room for a healthy dose of the Dominican, he really rose to the occasion with the Art Deco. You could say that Pepin’s pain is your pleasure. (But I really wouldn’t recommend doing so.) I love this cigar, it’s one of the few I can smoke more than once a day and still look forward to lighting up another the following day.

It’s not easy to get your hands on these yet, but it will be soon and I’d recommend keeping an eye out for them. And when you do find them, light one up and let me know what you think.

Liked It: Love it. Box-worthy.
Buy It Again: Definitely
Recommend It: Yes, you really should.

Tower of Burn
Here for your viewing pleasure is my trademark Tower of Burn.