American Legion Toro by Blanco Cigar Company| Cigar Review

Wrapper: Nicaraguan Habano Rosado (Aged 3 Years)
Binder: Honduran
Filler: Nicaraguan
Size: 6 x 52 “Toro”
Body: Medium
Price: $5.75 MSRP
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Thanks to Jason Harding and BestCigarPrices.com for supplying samples. At the moment, BCP is the only place these cigars can be purchased.

From the BestCigarPrice.com web site:
“Best Cigar Prices is proud to announce that we are the first online cigar company to offer American Legion Cigars. A portion of the proceeds from every single American Legion cigar goes towards American Legion programs that help communities throughout the country and the world.”

From the Blanco Cigar Company press release:
“February 24, 2014 (Clearwater, Fla.)–The Blanco Cigar Company is proud to announce the release of American Legion Premium Cigars. This is a landmark moment for Blanco Cigars and The American Legion, as they partner to bring a top shelf product to the market, while raising funds for various programs identified by The Legion.

“Additionally, Blanco Cigars has subsidized the price of the product and is shouldering the distribution and administrative burden, at no cost to The Legion, in an attempt to maximize the benefits to the fund-raising efforts throughout the country.
“Both Cesar and David Blanco are members of The American Legion Post No. 238 in Safety Harbor, FL. They are honored and privileged to be working with The Legion, to bring premium hand-made cigars that bear the Legion logo to the market.

“When David, a 24 year veteran and still a member of the military, was asked about the project, he stated; “With the tradition and pride possessed by members of The American Legion, we felt they deserved a top-notch premium cigar bearing The American Legion Logo; this was long overdue”. Similar sentiments were echoed by his father Cesar, a 27 year retired US Army veteran; “The Blanco Family is honored to be a part of such a well-respected and honorable organization. Our family has served in the Armed Forces since 1895 and we consider the opportunity to work with The Legion a great privilege, through which to continue to serve.

“For God and Country!”

This is a pretty nice thing that the Blanco Company and BCP are doing for our vets. So I’m going to review the cigar hoping it knocks my socks off; because if it doesn’t…this is all in vain.

The cigar comes in one size only; the Toro.

Construction is excellent. Invisible seams. A normal amount of veins. A nicely constructed double or triple cap. The wrapper is a gorgeous butterscotch feeling very smooth and silky. The cigar band is the logo for the American Legion in gold and blue and on the back of the band, the words: “God & County Est. 1919.”
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I clip the cap and find aromas of strong spice, cocoa, hickory and oak..almost fire cured, ginger, sweet cedar and fruit.
Time to light up.

A nice nutty toasty flavor shows itself first. Spice begins to crawl up my palate. The draw is fantastic. A heavy sweetness begins to pour as if it came from a pitcher.
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At the same time, a huge dollop of creaminess appears as the pepper continues on its forward trajectory.
I’ve smoke less than an inch and it is very close to flavor bomb status.

I took a real chance with these sticks that BCP and buddy Jason Harding sent me. I’ve had them for only a week. But I smoked one the day after I received them and my gut told me they won’t need much humidor time. So, this morning was a roll of the dice. And I rolled 6.

The cocoa joins the fray and is zooming to the front of the line, neck and neck with the creaminess and sweetness.
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This is a big cigar and I have no idea how it is going to keep this up. I am going to remind you, dear readers once more…that I am smoking this cigar first thing in the morning on a very fresh palate. That’s the key. Three cigars from now, I will have a different experience so cleansing the palate is all important.

Just past the 1.5” mark, the hickory meat flavor presents itself. This is not a fire cured cigar. But it has a very subtle meaty flavor that offsets the sweetness nicely. Sort of a chocolate “Rib-Sicle.” The Good Humor truck probably doesn’t carry them.

This cigar is damn ridiculous. Such a huge flavor profile and so early into the cigar. And so early in its humidor time. Señors Blanco, Brava!

Here is another example that a $5 (by the box) cigar can be every bit as good as a $10 stick. Keep the PR Machine at bay. And go get ‘em.
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Here are the flavors, in order: Creaminess, cocoa, sweetness, spice, hickory, oak, cedar, and fruit.
The char line is nearly razor sharp. No corrections needed.

The strength started out at classic medium but as I begin the second third, it ratchets up to medium/full.

In honor of my dear departed father, who served in the Army Infantry in WWII, I will add an anecdote about him at the end of the review.
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I am really digging this cigar’s flavor profile and character. It is here that the cigar becomes complex. Flavors tighten into a plutonium sized ball and spin like the devil shooting out flavors randomly.

I am nearing the halfway point and caramel makes a late entrance. Gooey, luscious caramel. This is definitely a candy bar cigar.

I recently reviewed the Blanco Liga Exclusiva de Familia Double Corona Connecticut and that was a stupendous cigar. Check it out by clicking on the cigar name.
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The last third is upon me. And the cigar continues to get better tasting with each draw. This cigar is going to get some really good street cred. And it will sell well. The Blanco brothers weren’t fooling around when they blended this stick. Not only is it a major flavor bomb full of rich and complex character, but the price point makes it affordable for everyone; thereby helping our vets.

The body settles back down to classic medium. No signs of harshness, heat or nicotine. Sweet to the end.
As I near the end, I have decided to buy a box.
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Right to the end, the stick is a major flavor bomb: Sweetness, caramel, creaminess, hickory, oak, fruit, spice, and cedar.
But it does rise to medium/full once again with a shot of nicotine.

My advice is to give these sticks a shot. Remember, only BestCigarPrices.com carry them at the moment and their box price is $15 less than MSRP. You will feel good about yourself.
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And now for something completely different:

My dad has been gone for almost 11 years. He was 80 when he passed in 2003.

He enlisted in the Army. Initially, he was put into an Artillery Division but he asked to go to Infantry and they granted his wish.

His timing was just a tad off, as only a month later, he was storming the beaches at Normandy on June 6, 1944.

Like most vets, my dad would not talk much about his experience. But he had a favorite set of upbeat stories he would tell over and over.

Before I get to that, there is this: When I was 13, I was rummaging through my dad’s stuff while he was out shopping and I found a small cash box. I opened it and it was full of medals. I was in shock as my father never mentioned this.

There was a Silver Star, a Bronze Star with two clusters, and two Purple Hearts. There was a document in the box that explained why he got the Silver Star. Apparently, his squad was pinned down by the Germans. They were getting picked off right and left.

So my father grabbed the B.A.R. from a fallen comrade and just went hell bent for leather up the hill. He wiped out the German machine gun nest. I found that box 50 years ago so I don’t remember where the event happened.

The bullet that sent him home came from that machine gun nest. He took a heavy round in the chest. Missing his heart and going clear through.

Whenever we went swimming in our pool, I would make him hold still so I could look at his scars. It was a real mess. Clearly, they took care of it at a forward medical unit. The scar on his back was awful.

My dad liked to tell this story.
They were stationed somewhere in Germany on the edge of a river. A narrow river.

Across from their position was a German pill box. They were stuck there for a whole week. Apparently, the German’s facilities were full and if they wanted to pee, or take a dump, they had to go outside; making them vulnerable to the Americans.

So my dad’s squad would wait. And every time a German came out to do his business, they started taking pot shots at him. They never tried to kill or wound him….Just scare the living shit out of him as bullets hit the ground all around him.

More than once, a German had his pants around his ankles as he ran back into the pill box. This always made my dad laugh when he told the story.

My dad came home in August of 1944, married his sweetheart and I came along in 1950. I did not come around for a while because my dad was going to school on the G.I. Bill. First, he got his law degree, and then he got his civil engineering degree. He got both degrees in less than 5 years.
Five years after I was born, the three of us made our way to the coast to live in L.A. where my dad got an estimating job at a structural steel shop and then became their sales manager before eventually starting his own pair of shops.

I’m very proud of my dad and I miss him. His father came from Hungary and emigrated to the States right after WWI.

Unfortunately, no one else in their family came too and all were consumed in the Holocaust of WWII.

My father had a burning desire to defend the country that took his family in; no questions asked. He proved to be a hero in combat and lived a long fruitful life, loved by everyone that knew him.

My dad was very upset when I went to Europe, at age 24, to fulfill my dreams of playing big time rock n roll. But after I began to send him newspaper clippings with me in them, he was proud as punch and posted them on the walls of his office. He used to tell people that “This is my son, the rock star.”

The only recurring issue I ever had with him is that I played banjo for two years from the age of 14-16. And then I took up the bass.
So even in later life, he always introduced me as his son who played the banjo. I stopped correcting him and always just laughed.
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After reading the review, I received this very nice note from David Blanco:
“We thank you for the kind words. I’m pleased that you enjoyed the cigars and are helping get the word out about the American Legion Cigar, in particular. I also want to thank you for sharing your father’s story. Sounded like a stand up guy and true American Patriot & Hero. We need more like him! Thanks again.”

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