Cigar Review: The Tailgate Toro by Karen Berger – Rated 92

2023 was a pivotal year for Karen Berger. She rebranded her company from “K” by Karen Berger to Karen Berger Cigars. She also launched a value cigar named the Tailgate.

The Tailgate Toro by Karen Berger

The boxes for these cigars are designed to look like a classic truck, and the tailgate section of the box opens downwards in order to give access to the cigars inside.

The Tailgate blend is described by the company as:

  • Wrapper: Indonesia (Sumatra)
  • Binder: Nicaragua
  • Filler: Nicaragua

The Tailgate by Karen Berger is expressed in a single (6 x 52) toro and comes packaged in 14-count boxes that are designed to resembles a classic pickup truck. The deign includes a “Tailgate” section that opens downward giving access to the cigars. MSRP has been set at $7.75/cigar.

Like all Karen Berger cigars, the Tailgate is crafted at Estelí Cigars S.A. in Nicaragua.

For this review I sampled two of the Tailgate Toros by Karen Berger, which I received from the company for the purpose of reviewing on Stogie Press.

Pre-Light Examination

The Tailgate Toro by Karen Berger is cloaked in a medium reddish-brown wrapper that exhibits a few veins and toothiness. The cigar has more of a matte finish as opposed to oily. The cigar feels well packed and rolled. A double cap finishes the construction.

Tailgate Toro by Karen Berger

A single red, black, and gold band adorns the cigar. The band prominently displays the name TAILGATE by Karen Berger in the center. The band also includes an image of a classic red pickup truck on top.

Tailgate Toro by Karen Berger

Running the barrel along the nose I picked up a sweet tobacco aroma. The exuded similar notes.

I used my CigarMedics Baller cutter to open the cap and proceeded to give it some cold draw puffs that I found to be fine with restriction. The initial cold draw offered salty buttery notes. A few more cold draws and there is a black pepper note growing on the tongue and lips.

Using my Xikar fan flame torch, I warmed the foot to an even orange glow and drew in the first puffs of natural tobacco sweetness to start the journey. Follow along as I burn this one to ash.

Cigar Review Notes

Tailgate Toro by Karen Berger
Tailgate Toro by Karen Berger
Tailgate Toro by Karen Berger
Tailgate Toro by Karen Berger
Tailgate Toro by Karen Berger
Tailgate Toro by Karen Berger
  • Immediate full volume of smoke with a natural tobacco sweetness starts the journey
  • A white ash forms on thin slightly jagged char line
  • Quickly, a touch of cinnamon spice especially on the nose joins the profile
  • Dry fruit notes round out the early profile
  • The ash fell in a 1-inch chunk revealing a well-formed and centered burn cone
  • The early fruit morphs into light citrus note joins the profile
  • Dark chocolate notes start to evolve
  • The ash is a tad flaky
  • Slight bitterness develops
  • More pronounced citrus notes form deep in second third down to the final
  • Mild-Medium in strength
  • Total Smoking Time was 1 hour and 30 minutes

Final Analysis

The journey of the Tailgate Toro by Karen Berger begins with a swift surge of thick smoke, saturated with the sweet essence of natural tobacco. As the smoke swirls, a hint of cinnamon spice emerges, particularly noticeable in the aroma. Soon, the palate is treated to the nuanced interplay of dry fruit notes, which contribute to the initial flavor profile. The fruit undertones transform into a subtle hint of citrus, lending a refreshing contrast. Meanwhile, the emergence of dark chocolate notes adds depth to the evolving taste profile. The experience continues, accompanied by a gentle bitterness that gradually intensifies. Towards the latter part of the smoking session, the citrus notes become more prominent, resonating deeply until the final draw. At the price point I am going to say this is a box buy and could easily be in your everyday rotation. I rate this a 92.

Point Deductions: (-1) Jagged burn; (-1) Flaky Ash; (-1) Bitter Notes

Bonus Points: (+1) Box Buy

Tailgate Toro by Karen Berger

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