Tonight I had the chance to try the Mbombay KeSARA Toro courtesy of Bombay Tobak Cigars. Ron Arellano, National Director of Sales and Online Marketing for Bombay Tobak, dropped me a line via Reddit’s /r/cigars and asked if I would be interested in receiving some samples of their new lines in exchange for unbiased reviews. I jumped at the opportunity as I thoroughly enjoyed the Mbombay Tobak Mata Fina Maduro that I smoked a few months ago (after purchasing a 5-pack through a Reddit-organized group buy).
Full disclosure: I did receive this cigar free of charge with the implication that I would review it. That being said, it’ll take a bit more than free cigars to buy a white-washed review from me. All opinions in this review are unadulterated by biases and uniquely my observations.
Now that all the niceties are out of the way, here’s my review of the Mbombay KeSARA Toro.
Mbombay KeSARA Background
Based on this blend, I expected something similar to the Oliva Connecticut Reserve: mild to medium body, smooth creaminess, toasted nuts, and hints of kitchen spice with the Dominican filler adding in a bit of earthiness. I don’t normally go for Connecticut wrappers or anything from the light side of the spectrum (I’m more of a ligero or maduro kind of guy), but I’m willing to give this cigar a shot.
Appearance: Smooth, rustic wrapper with 0 imperfections and few (very thin) veins. Shaggy foot and pigtail cap on the head. No noticeable glue (like you’d find with Fuente). The band is a gorgeous Indian inspired pattern embossed with more detail than I’ve ever seen in a cigar band. The pattern features an elephant, a peacock, and a lion, representing (I’m guessing) wisdom, vision, and strength, respectively.
Aroma: You’re all going to think I’m insane, but this cigar smells like toasted graham crackers.
Pairing, Cutting, and Lighting
Drink Pairing: Water
Lighter: Xikar single-flame butane
Cutter: Xikar guillotine
Cutting and Cold Draw
The Xikar made short work of the cap which came off with no struggle, cracks, or difficulties. The cold draw was light and easy, characterized by a sweetness with a hint of kitchen spice.
Lighting the Mbombay KeSARA
Shaggy foots are a favorite of mine because they seem to ensure a perfect burn. I toasted the foot and took three short puffs to get the cherry going. The first impression of this cigar was a punch of white pepper and spice on the tip of my tongue. Quite pleasant and quite unexpected. The burn evened itself out perfectly and reached the wrapper within 10 minutes of casual puffing. Smoking through the shaggy foot produced notes of light cream, not unlike 2% milk.
The First Third
The first puff once the burning foot connected to the wrapper hit me square in the face with an overwhelming nuttiness accentuated by light spicing–cinnamon?–and cedar. The spice is much mellower than the initial burst from the foot, but pleasant nonetheless. Towards the end of the first third, I picked up (hallucinated?) notes of dried fruit, something like dried cranberries but without the bite.
The Second Third
The second third evolved nicely from the mild cream into a smooth butter inter-played with a smooth spice–no harshness at all. The band came off easily to reveal a smaller ring-sized band bearing Mbombay’s name and a truncated pattern. At this point, I played around with the retrohale, a retrohale devoid of the harshness one might find in a ligero, but instead mellowed by the Dominican filler and dominated by kitchen spice. No harshness, no acidity, no acrid ammonia.
The Final Third
The final third is where this cigar shows its true colors and where it won me over. The smaller band slid off easily as well and I settled in for the sprint to the finish line. While I tend to go for the Rocky Marciano ligero straight to the face, this cigar had me rethinking my proclivities. Cedar, spice, and nuttiness continued from the outset, but as the burn heated up and the cigar burned down, a distinct earthiness (grass, specifically) moved to the forefront. The dried fruit reappeared briefly. Even with the increased temperature of the burn, the smoke remained smooth and the aroma remained graham-crackery (that’s a word, I swear).
The Last Inch
As I’m sure all cigar smokers have experienced, the final third can be a wash of tobacco juice, bitterness, and disappointment. Not the case with the KeSARA. Solid white chocolate in the last inch and I ended with a deep puff of what can only be described as pure bliss.
Total Smoke Time: 90 minutes
Final Impressions and Rating
The Mbombay KeSARA is not a cigar that I would normally buy. And perhaps the KeSARA has taught me a lesson: never let your preconceived notions dissuade you from trying a cigar. Because wow. This cigar was complex, pleasant, easy to smoke, and excessively well constructed. I thoroughly recommend giving this cigar a shot because it has so much in the way of flavor and enjoyment to give.
Rating (Seek out and buy again, Smoke if I happen to find one, Avoid at all costs): SEEK OUT AND BUY AGAIN
I really enjoyed writing this review (because it gave me an excuse to smoke another cigar!) and because I enjoy sharing my opinion. If there’s anything you’d like to see included or removed from future reviews, give me a shout in the comments section.