The bull, the brute, the Bos taurus; the toro vitola sold itself as thicker than a classic Churchill and longer than a Robusto. It was once looked at as borderline grotesque. You can imagine a dapper gentlemen looking as if he’d been plucked from the Great Gatsby saying, “Who would want to smoke such a thick cigar for such a long time?” That conversation seems like it would have been had on another planet because today we’re considering whether or not the toro still lives up to this big, bold, bullish nickname.
In a way, the toro has become the new corona. In the previous installment of Vitola 101, we talked about the corona and how it was the benchmark for all other sizes. The corona birthed the double corona, the corona gorda, the petit corona, etc.… It was the benchmark because it was ubiquitous, everyone knew what it was so it was the perfect reference point. Today’s most popular size is without question the toro and its family of sizes.
A standard toro is 6” by 50 ring gauge. It started as an extension of the “robustness” of a robusto.
But consumers move the market and cigar factories follow trends so when cigars like La Gloria Cubana Serie R and others, with large ring gauges, started becoming more popular (circa 1999) almost everyone followed suit. Today you’ll find more cigars that call themselves toros in the 6” by 52, 54, and 56 ranges than the original. In other cases they push the boundaries of length and call a 6 1/2” by 54 a toro.
The question still remains, does the original toro still live up to its bullish name? It’s hard to say but when you compare a toro to a “gran toro” at 6” by 60 ring gauge, the toro looks more like a corona than ever.
Size and ring gauge range of what is commonly considered a toro in premium cigars.
Three Standout Toros
BINDER: Dominican Republic
FILLER: Dominican Republic
VITOLA: No. 3
PHYSICAL SIZE: 6 x 50
RAMON ALLONES BY AJ FERNANDEZ
PHYSICAL SIZE: 6 x 52
VITOLA: No. 5 Parejo
PHYSICAL SIZE: 6 x 54
“The reason I particularly like the toro size and why I think it is so popular is that it gives the smoker just the right amount of smoking time. Also since toros are now becoming the most common size manufacturers use to blend their cigars, it is usually the best representation of that particular blend concept.”Erik Espinosa
“As a retailer I love selling them but as a consumer and tobacconist, I’m a little befuddled. The toro used to be the most exciting, amped up version of a robusto, it was next level. It used to be the fat bull of cigars but now it doesn’t seem like the fat bull of cigars anymore, it’s more like a smaller cousin to the new, bigger ring gauges. I was comparing it yesterday to the fat LFDs and the Gran Cojonu by Tatuaje and the toro is now, relatively speaking, in a well-stocked humidor, not your biggest, fattest, baddest cigar.”Jorge Armenteros
Tobacconist University & A Little Taste