I've been drooling over this cigar since the summer. Released at the 2005 RTDA in New Orleans, the Virtuoso from Carlos Torano "had me at hello". The Carlos Torano booth put on a show, passing out delicious samples of vintage port to help commemorate the release of Reserva Decadencia. But, my focus was on Virtuoso. Touted as the strongest Torano-made cigar to date, I remember licking my chops in anticipation, just like I am as I write this, peeking inside my recently purchased box of Crescendos every 5 minutes.
The Virtuoso is a pretty cigar. Especially when looking at the masterfully tapered Crescendo. The Nicaraguan wrapper is incredibly smooth; oily, vein-free and the color of creamy milk chocolate. The blend of long-fillers from Nicaragua, Honduras and the Panama gives off a robust, earthy pre-light aroma while the pre-light flavor offers the slightest bit of pepper. These attributes carry over into the smoke as it burns. Each puff exudes a thick smoky cloud that surrounds me as I enjoy a creamy bouquet of earthy and woody notes, finished by a crisp, tobacco aftertaste. About midway through, the full-bodied character catches me off guard, making me a little dizzy as I get up to grab another glass of water. The evident strength snuck up on me and seemed to hit me like a ton of bricks. Fortunately, it faded just in time for me to enjoy the spicy blast of earthy flavors on the finish, leaving me satisfied for the night. Two thumbs up for Torano Virtuoso. This is a wonderful after dinner smoke that will hold its own against any robust stout or 'slowly-aged' scotch.