Espinosa Drops the F-BOMB!
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The Espinosa Maduro
We are proud to announce the release of the long anticipated Espinosa Maduro. Coming off last year’s successful debut of the medium bodied Espinosa Habano, the Espinosa Maduro will be wrapped in a beautiful, smoothly textured, dark chocolate Mexican Maduro wrapper. Within this triple capped cigar lies a premium blend of tobaccos that have been combined to form a rich cocoa, cedar, pepper and spice base. This medium-full bodied cigar is the perfect combination of Erik Espinosa’s signature strength notes and the La Zona factory’s reputation for flavor.
The Espinosa Maduro is made in Espinosa’s La Zona factory in Esteli, Nicaragua and will come in 4 different vitolas: Robusto Box-Pressed (5×52), Belicoso Box-Pressed (5-1/2×52), Corona Gorda (5-5/8 x46), and Toro Box-Pressed (6-x52). All four sizes will be offered in boxes of 20. The Espinosa Maduro is set to be released at the end of April 2013.
Casas Fumando Review of Espinosa Habano
First thing first, I want to wish a very happy birthday to the woman who brought me into this world. Happy Birthday, Mom!
Last week, Daniel reviewed the La Zona Habano by Espinosa Cigars. Today, I bring to you another offering from Espinosa Cigars, the Espinosa Habano. The Espinosa Habano is Erik Espinosa’s first cigar to come out of his La Zona factory in Esteli, Nicaragua and is available in four vitolas: Robusto (5 by 50), Toro (6 by 52), Belicoso (5 1/2 by 52) and Trabuco (6 by 60).
The Casas Fumando team has reviewed a couple of Espinosa’s new offerings, as well as a few cigars that carried over from his previous company, EO Brands. The reviews can be found here:
The Facts Samples Provided by Espinosa Cigars Vitola: Robusto Size: 5 by 50 Wrapper: Nicaraguan Habano Binder: Nicaraguan Filler: Nicaraguan Pairing: Water Smoke time: 1 Hour and 35 Minutes
The Espinosa Habano sports a primary band and a secondary foot band. The color choice and design on the primary band makes it very unique and, while not my favorite band, very eye catching. The foot band has the name of the factory where the Espinosa Habano is produced, La Zona. The medium brown wrapper is consistent in color and, other than a couple of medium size veins, the wrapper is very smooth and packed firmly from head to foot.
The aroma off the Habano wrapper is of tobacco, mild pepper, and a faint cedar. The foot comes across much richer but of the same aromas. The triple cap clips easily leaving a small crack running a half inch up. The draw is perfect. After fighting the draw on last week’s Cardinal Maduro, I am looking forward to this. A spice is left on my lips, and the cold draw brings out tobacco and a clove-like flavor.
The foot band slides off with ease. The first thing I notice is the mouth feel of the smoke. I was completely blindsided by this. The smoke is full and creamy, and coats the entire mouth with each puff. The profile has a rich, cedar core with pepper and a spice tingle at the back of the throat. The finish is somewhat dry of toasted cedar. The thick eyeliner burn is producing an ash, which is white on the outer edge, but the filler ash is much darker. A copious amount of smoke fills my mouth on the draw and blue smoke is pumping out while resting. A quick touch-up was required to get a small portion of the wrapper to burn. The flaky ash held strong for over an inch before tumbling into the ashtray. Flavors are medium/full and the strength is a steady medium.
A crack has formed down the wrapper leaf which runs approximately an inch and a half. The flavors have not evolved much from the first third. Unlike the pencil shaving, cedar flavor I have become accustomed to in other cigars, this is a rich, sweet cedar that is extremely enjoyable. The spice in the mouth has become faint, but as I push it through my nasal passage I am hit with a pepper and hot, spice blast. The finish now has an added element of cocoa. I am still experiencing minor burn issues, which seem to be a result of the cracked wrapper that has pulled away from the rest of the cigar.
I just can’t get over the mouth feel of the smoke. The chewy, creamy smoke compliments the sweet cedar profile. There are some notes hiding in the background that I can’t put my finger on but they are in the area of a caramel or cocoa flavor. The finish has become toasty, with some black coffee and a hint of bitterness. The retrohale is intense and wonderful, showcasing the Nicaraguan pepper that I love . With another touch-up, I have finally surpassed the crack in the wrapper on the Espinosa Habano. The burn has become razor sharp, which confirms that the crack was causing the previous burn issues. Another crack has formed at the cap. Flavors remain medium/full and the strength is borderline full.
I was not aware of how delicate the Habano wrapper was on the Espinosa Habano, and to say the least, I did not take the best care of the cigar this past weekend. Due to having my travel case under filled, I believe the cigars may have been bouncing around a little too much. All in all, the wrapper crack and related burn issues were not a major annoyance. When a cigar is delivering in the areas of flavor, body, and strength, I am more than willing to touch up a cigar a couple of times. The cigar was not overly complex but it hit the spot for me. Espinosa Habano cigars can be picked up at Smoke Inn for a price of $6 to $7, which makes this an easy buy in my book. These sticks must be flying off the shelves because the only vitola remaining in stock is the Trabuco (6 by 60). So grab them while you can and let us know what you think of the cigar.
Cigar Dojo 601 Red Label Habano Review
After cutting and toasting the first thing I noticed was the incredible draw. Right off the bat tons of satisfying smoke with little effort on my part. It was at that moment that I gained the attention of my entire party and stated… “this is going to be really, really good”. It was love at first draw. The Red Label has a spice similar to the Espinosa Habano but the Red Label is more peppery, I guess it’s that pepper note that distinguishes it from the Espinosa Habano. You might say the Red Label emphasizes the pepper while the Espinosa Habano emphasizes the spices. White pepper mixed with the subtle yet fulfilling Espinosa spices that (in a nutshell) is the tale of the tape for the 601 Red Label cigar. Every cigar smoker has a flavor profile that fits their tastes and for whatever reason the Espinosa stuff is right in my wheel-house.
The burn on the Red Label was not exactly razor sharp and the ash wasn’t pure white but I wasn’t complaining because the flavor and voluminous smoke was holding my attention just fine. I never once needed to touch up nor relight the cigar which allowed me to relax and focus on the task at hand… enjoying this great cigar. The strength on the 601 was medium to full yet the flavor was full which might be my favorite combination.
Occasionally I would pick up some leathery aged tobacco flavors but for the most part the 601 stayed the same flavor profile all the way to the nub which was a white pepper with a nice subtle spice finish. I paired the 601 with a glass of Knob Creek bourbon and that combination was stellar. The peppery spice of the cigar melted into the oaky sweetness of the bourbon in a whirlwind of deliciousness.
Would I smoke the 601 Red Label again? Are you kidding me? As soon as I was done with this one I ordered a 5-pack of these babies because I love them. Which brings up another great point, these cigars are extremely affordable. You can get the 601 Red Label for under $5 retail and they are often on sale for as little as $70 for a box of 20 which reduces the stick price to $3.50 – now THAT is a bargain my friends.
Casas Fumando Review of La Zona Habano
A little while back I did a Quick Draw of the La Zona Connecticut by Espinosa cigars and it had some surprises in store for me. So I decided to save up my Habano versions of this line for a proper full review, and here it is today.
On the chopping block is the Habano wrapped version of the Espinosa Cigars La Zona. If the Espinosa name sounds familiar it’s probably because you heard about it from the EO Brands cigar label where Erik Espinosa and Eddie Ortega worked together to create some very popular lines. Espinosa Cigars is Erik fairly new project and the La Zona line is one of his first few blends.
The La Zona line currently comes in two flavors, a Connecticut and the Habano, they are also only available in two sizes, Super Toro and Robusto. The only noticeable difference between the two blends is a slightly different color on the bands. The Connecticut had a sort of lime green touch to it while the Habano is a bit more of a subtle brownish green.
The price on these cigars comes in well below $5 a stick. If you opt for the massive 80 count boxes, the price per stick can drop to nearly $3 each making this a very affordable stick to have in the humidor. Fans of Nicaraguan tobacco will also be happy to hear that the La Zona’s are Nicaraguan Puros and are also manufactured right in Esteli.
Despite a ton of snow we’ve been having, the weather is actually warming up a bit. I think Mother Nature in a bit confused… But I’ll take advantage of that as I enjoy some good cigars. So let’s just right in and see if the La Zona Habano is worth stocking up on in the Humidor.
Cigar: Espinosa Cigars La Zona Habano Drink: Coffee Vitola: Super Toro (6.5 x 54) Wrapper: Nicaraguan Habano Binder: Nicaraguan Filler: Nicaraguan Price: About $4 Burn Time: 1.5 hours
Construction: • The medium brown color of the wrapper is accented with some golden touches • Almost no veins on this slightly dry looking wrapper • It also has a somewhat rough texture and lots of toothiness to it, just missing the oily spots • I did notice a sort of green water spot right around the middle of the cigar • After a small and easy cut, the draw is super open, pretty surprising since it’s such a long cigar • There is a definite softness from cap to foot here, lots of give when I squeeze it a bit • The foot looks to be decently packed and the cap is finished very cleanly
Burn: • Toasting took a bit of time but it lit up nice and evenly • Burn line has been a tad wavy but pretty good for the most part through the first third • Through the first half, I had one minor touch up for a peninsula that was forming • The La Zona Habano is burning at a good pace, not too fast and not too slow either • A couple more touch ups as I get near the end, none were major issues, probably jsut me wanted to be a perfectionist! lol
Smoke & Ash: • There is a fair bit of smoke off the start but a slightly open draw is making it tough • The resting smoke is pretty minimal • Ash is looking to be pretty clean and somewhat strong • First ash got tapped off at about the one inch mark since it looked to be getting a bit wobbly • A fair bit of smoke from each draw but it does take a few tries to get it all out • The remaining ashes all stuck around the 1 inch mark pretty consistently • Other than the dark spots from touch ups, the ash had a light and dark grey color to it
Tasting Notes: • The wrapper has a deep cedar aroma to it with a touch of spice • On the foot, I’m getting the same cedar and more spice to it, tickled my nose quite a bit • Pre-light draw had a ton more cedar but much less spice here, a touch of sweetness here as well • Initial flavors brought out more of the cedar but not as much spice right off the bat • I found a touch of spice in the aftertaste and main flavors mostly dominated by some leather and woodsy notes • I’m picking up some hints of creaminess but they don’t seem to be sticking around too long • Body started off in the medium range and has been sticking there through the first half of the cigar • The retrohale has a nice little spice bite to it and a bit more on the finish, with just a touch of creaminess in there • I got a few coffee notes and a bit more creaminess towards the last half which kept it interesting • No real harshness or bitterness right to the nub, allowing me to enjoy the whole cigar
Final Thoughts: I have to say that both the Habano and Connecticut version of the La Zona cigar were a satisfying smoke. They are also quite different in their own regards. The Connecticut brought a surprising amount of spice to the table while the Habano had a more creamy and woodsy approach. For a $3 price tag, you are definitely getting your money’s worth on these cigars. Other than a couple minor touch ups, the whole burn was pretty darn good and the flavors were just enough to keep things interesting. I’d definitely consider buying a few more of each and for the price, you don’t feel bad to hand over a tasty and flavorful stick to a novice smoker either.
Pairings: I went with plain old coffee for today’s review and it actually worked out really well. I don’t tend to pair with coffee quite enough and I’m not sure why, it definitely makes for a great pairing. Especially in the morning or early afternoon. I think a nice amber ale, maybe something oaked would make an awesome pairing here. Or possibly a light scotch as well.
Espinosa Smoke Night on the Cigar Dojo App
This Friday is Espinosa Cigars Smoke Night on the Cigar Dojo app
It’s a World-Wide HERF!
Mark your calendars for… “Smoke Night IV” on the Cigar Dojo app. The members of the Cigar Dojo app will all be smoking a Espinosa Cigar on Friday February 8th at 8PM eastern, 7PM central, 6PM mountain, and 5PM pacific. and sharing their thoughts on the Cigar Dojo app. Yes it’s the 4th meeting of the “Joe 6-Pack HERF Club” and it should be a great time. Just imagine cigar smokers all over the world smoking the same cigar brand at the same time and sharing their thoughts!
DON’T WAIT UNTIL THE LAST SECOND TO GET YOUR CIGAR FOR THE HERF!!!