Cigar Review: Espinosa Cigars
Size: Robusto (5″ x 52)
Wrapper: Habano Seed
Price: ??? (samples from Espinosa Cigars Release Party)
Living in South Florida sometimes has it’s advantages and no I’m not talking about the sun, the beach, or the women. South Florida, due to it’s large Cuban population, and status as a hub for Latin American business is one of the best places you can be as a fan of cigars. This was made even clearer a few weeks ago when I walked into one of the shops I frequent and saw a small stack of invitations for the Espinosa Cigar Brand release party. Of course I had to grab one and make it my business to go.
As someone who enjoys a good cigar but is not in the business, not an insider, not connected to the business, and is still new to the Cigar blog-O-sphere, I thought it was very cool to be able to attend something like this. So I grabbed an unwitting friend for the drive to Miami and off we went to go experience something new and smoke a new cigar.
For those that don’t know Orestes “Erik” Espinosa is the “E” from EO Brands (601, Murcielago, Cubao). Eddie resigned from EO brands a few months ago and they both launched independent ventures. The “La Zona”, named after Erik’s new factory in Esteli, Nicaragua, is the first premium cigar released under the Espinosa brand.
Erik is well known and liked in the Cigar business. In addition to his responsibilities with Espinosa Cigars (formerly United Tobacco) he has worked as a sales rep with both Rocky Patel Cigars and Drew Estate Cigars and often shows up to help at in-store events. He is a tremendous character with a great energy. This was evidenced by the turn out at his event which included Rocky and Nish Patel, Marvin Samel (Drew Estate), several members of the My Father Cigars team and Barry Stein with Miami Cigar Company, It’s always great when a fan gets to mingle with the people in the business, many of whom tend to be quite welcoming with their customers.
But enough about that, how’s it smoke?
Pre-Light: (1.8) The Espinosa presentation is eye catching with the new Espinosa Cigars logo on the main and rather large band with a color combinations of red, yellow, blue, and white with a gold trim. There is a secondary band at the foot which states “Hecho en Laz Zona” a reference to Erik’s new factory.
The Habano seed wrapper is a medium to dark brown with some natural mottling and some veins. The wrapper is oily to the touch. The foot gives off sweet, strong, damp barnyard aroma with a bit of cocoa (which I love in the scent off the foot by the way). I noticed the Espinosa I smoked at the party had a fairly open draw so for this review I was more delicate in cutting off the cap which popped off seamlessly with the most minimal of effort from my double blade cutter. The pre light draw was that of grass, hay, sweet cedar, and a hint of cocoa. So far so good.
Burn: (1.7) The burn on both samples that I smoked was good, not great. The line failed to remain crisp but it didn’t stray too far or channel. To the cigar’s credit I was able to put it down for sizeable amounts of time to tend to family stuff and it never needed a touch up to the light. I do think this is a cigar that may be better off punched or v-cut as opposed to a straight cut to keep the draw from being loose. through the first third the ash held fairly strong and I ashed at one inch intervals, as I got further into the cigar I had to ash a little more frequently as the ash got a tad bit flakier.
Flavor: (2.6) The Espinosa opened up with a bouquet of rich flavors including; grass, hay, a little bit of sweet cedar, cocoa, and a mildly spicy peppery finish to the palette.
In the second third the cocoa notes really stepped up which was very nice and some of the blander grassy notes subsided. The peppery spice seemed to have a bit more of a red pepper come into it which was just on the borderline of being a hir too bitter form my palette, but not quite. The retrohale really brings out the sweet cocoa notes and was one of my favorite elements to this cigars profile. The finish leaves the palette with tingly pepper notes on the finish.
The final third was more of the second third with not much transition. Cocoa, cedar, spice, and pepper. The smoke was a solid medium-full though the smoking experience.
For the most part I was pleased with and almost a little impressed with the flavor profile but I do think the Espinosa flavor profile will benefit with little more rest time. I imagine some of the pepper will smooth out and the flavors will marry into a bit more harmony by the time most people are picking these off their retailers shelves.
Overall: (2.7) I really enjoyed the Espinosa and I think Erik has a hit on his hands with people who like the rich flavors often attributed to rich Nicaraguan cigars. However what the Espinosa brings in flavor it falls just a bit short on balance and complexity. Again this is all subjective and if you’re a daily Fuente smoker this is going to be something quite a bit different. But if you’re a fan of rich flavored full bodied nicaraguan blends than the Espinosa is a must try and probably something you’ll smoke more than once. I know I have.
Once again a big shout out to Erik for his hospitality to just another guy who likes cigars, I appreciate the 3 pack from the grand opening and look forward to restocking when these hit the shelves.
Final Score: (8.8)