Downton Abbey was a very popular television series that ran from 2010-2015, and even after going off the air still maintains a dedicated following. One of the main shooting locations for the series was a castle in Hampshire, England called Highclere. The opulent and beautiful castle was the inspiration for Nick Melillo to create the Highclere Castle line of cigars for Foundation Cigar Company.
Highclere Castle Toro
Size: 6 x 52 Toro
Origin: Nicaragua (AJ Fernandez)
Wrapper: Connecticut Shade
Binder: Brazil Mata Fina
The Highclere Castle Toro is obviously the namesake of the Hampshire castle and is a mild blend meant to reflect the fine culture and beauty of the castle itself. In addition to the Robusto size that we evaluate in this review, the Highclere Castle cigar is also available in a 7 x 48 Churchill (MSRP $16.00), a 5 x 50 Robusto (MSRP $14.00), a 5.5 x 46 Corona (MSRP $13.00), and a 5 x 42 Petit Corona (MSRP $12.00).
As Expected, the Highclere Castle Toro looks rich. It has a beautifully adorned band that is very regal in design. The wrapper is a nicely colored Connecticut shade, with a few pronounced veins, but overall a nice appearance. A deep smell inhale from the foot gives mild aromas of dry grass and cedar. The cicar cuts cleanly just above the cap and has a cold draw that is open with notes of hay and leather.
The flavors right away are reminiscent of CT shade cigars I have enjoyed in the past. Clean notes of cream and cedar are in the foreground. The cigar warms up and adds just a hint of spice, some mild latte notes and some earthy mineral flavor. The retrohale is extremely mild, but has some nice sweetness.
The middle continues with good flavors, and stays consistent. The main players are cream, hay, cedar, and a mild earthiness. There are no real pepper notes to speak of. If anything is new, I seem to get little bits of cinnamon and coffee on the finish. The retrohale does have a little bit of citrus to go along with the sweetness.
Consistency is a staple of this cigar, even into the end. One thing that has evolved is the minerality. The earthy mineral characteristic has come more to the forefront of the overall flavor profile. It is drying to my palate, but not bitter at all. The cream and sweetness is still there, but a bit more subdued. As the retrohale warms up, still the same aromas of citrus and cedar.
As consistent and safe as this cigar was, I was hoping for more. Since the branding and presentation are so austere and highbrow, I had very high expectations that were not necessarily met with this one. I was looking for a deeply rich and complex cigar with transitions and a dessert flavor profile. Instead, it was somewhat safe, almost dull. Don’t get me wrong, it is not a bad cigar. It has consistent flavors, a stellar burn, great draw, and beautiful presentation. But with a $15 price tag, I am looking for more. I reccoment that you try one of these cigars for yourself and decide.
Highclere Castle Toro – How Bout That Cigar
Rating: How Bout A Fiver?
Overall Score: 87
Flavor Summary: Hay, Cream, Latte
Strength Assessment: Mild