By: Carlos Torano
Size: Double Robusto 5.5 x 56
The Fortress by Carlos Torano is a Cigars International exclusive. It uses Nicaraguan, Peruvian, and Honduran tobacco as filler and has a smooth Nicaraguan Habano Rosado wrapper. Snipping the head, I get a nice easy draw with a slightly sweet tobacco note. I’m ready to get some fire on the foot!
First Third: It took some time to get the Fortress lit. There’s a lot of tobacco stuffed in this cigar. Once it warmed up the cigar opens up with a generous amount of medium bodied smoke. I’m getting notes of pepper, wood, a vanilla like sweetness but lots of sourness on the finish. The aroma is woody with hints of spice and sweetness. A cinnamon spice develops in the retrohale and burns the sinus a bit.
After about ten minutes into the cigar the sourness on the finish fades away. The pepper quickly becomes the dominant note with the spice and sweetness forced into the background. I’m finding the Fortress to be a bit harsh and I’m hoping the pepper drops in intensity or I’m going to have trouble finishing this cigar.
Second Third: By the time I reach the second third the pepper has faded a lot making it a more enjoyable cigar for me. I’m getting lots of creamy smoke with notes of wood, caramel, pepper and spice. Finish has developed an interesting floral note. This is one of those cigars that really benefits from smoking slowly. The cooler I keep the burn, the sweeter and more intense the flavors. It’s hard for me to describe but the taste and aroma are really nice.
Final Third: Not much new to report. The sweet woody notes stay consistent into the final third and I still get a mild pepper spice in the retrohale. No problems with the construction. Burn wanders a little but self corrects. Strength builds towards the end but remains in the medium range.
Final thoughts: I first smoked this cigar when it was released in 2010 and I didn’t like it. I thought the pepper was overpowering and made the cigar too harsh and strong for my liking. I threw the remaining three cigars I had into the cooladore and forgot about them. I found them in late 2011 and tried the Fortress again. I was pleasantly surprised. The extra year of aging has really helped this cigar. The overpowering pepper has mellowed leaving behind a nice sweet woody flavor profile. I wasn’t a fan when the Fortress was first released but I am now. If you haven’t tried the Fortress or if it’s been a while I’d recommend giving it a try.
Flavor and Taste: 15/20
Price Point: 9/10
Would I buy a box: 3/5