Thursday the news broke of the acquisition of Toraño Family Cigars by General Cigar Co., which came as a surprise to many, none more than the employees of Toraño Family Cigars, some of whom are actual family. Many saw this as a small company selling to a big company to save the brand before the FDA regulations put them out of business. I’ve been a fan of both companies, and have or had friends in both. I can’t help to feel let down by Charlie Toraño in the way he, from an outsiders perspective, let his employees, sales force, even employees bearing the family name down by not preparing them for this eventuality. From the outside looking in, based on conversations both public and private, it looks like Charlie was the big winner in this transaction, and the rest of the company is out on the street, so to speak. Oddly, this isn’t the first time Charlie’s done this. Several years ago he let his sales staff go when he entered into distribution with CAO, without warning and right before Christmas. I have to admit, I had a pretty good opinion of Charlie up until Thursday, and now I’m not so sure. General gets a reasonably good line of cigars out of the deal. From what I understand, Leccia Tobacco wasn’t included in this deal, and Sam has several options available to him. He’s in a good position as he’s probably a pretty attractive property in the market, a hard working guy with a quality product. Anyway, I grabbed a Toraño Vault D-042 robusto for my Thursday walk and reflected upon all of this. This cigar started off with a void in the center, which I found ironic. I’ve enjoyed these in the past, it’s got a Habano wrapper that’s very oily looking, and features a leaf of Pennsylvania tobacco in the filler. Once it burned past the tunnel, about an inch and a half of the 5″ length, it behaved nicely. Rich and tasty. General Cigar Co. says they aren’t planning to make any changes to the manufacture of the Toraño line, and there’s a few that I really like and hope they leave alone. I’ve had a good relationship with someone at Toraño for most of the past tern years, I’m sorry to see the company leaving the industry, so close to their centennial too.
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