Coming out of the 2014 IPCPR show last month, it was quickly apparent that the majority of manufacturers were focused on two wrapper varieties: Mexican San Andrés and Ecuadorian Connecticut. Which made it all the more shocking to find Espinosa Premium Cigars’ new flagship smoke sporting a wrapper to the tune of a different color – orange. The new Laranja Reserva from Espinosa Cigars uses a Brazilian Laranja wrapper, to be more precise, and is the first Espinosa cigar to incorporate a Brazilian wrapper.
Sure enough, when this year’s annual trade show came about, the Espinosa booth was decorated in a glowing orange hue; and Erik Espinosa himself donning an eye-catching blazer to match. It seems the new look has paid off, not only winning “Best in Show” for the booth, but an amazing presentation for the cigar as well.
With a few brief samples of the new cigar during the show, the cigar was an immediate hit among the Cigar Dojo crew, but now it’s time we take a closer look.
- Wrapper: Brazilian Laranja
- Binder: Nicaraguan
- Filler: Nicaraguan
- Factory: La Zona (Estelí, Nicaragua)
- Production: Regular release
- Vitola:5 ½” x 54 Robusto Extra
- Price: $10.50
Holding the cigar, I must admit, it has a stunning presentation. The gold, white, and orange band and accompanying orange footer band play extremely well with the beautiful Brazilian wrapper; bringing out the orange-gold hues from the leaf. The leaf itself is velvety soft and is well constructed with a triple cap. There are no soft areas and the cigar has a hard, papier-mâché feel similar to that of the OpusX. The wrapper is very aromatic and smells of hay and aged tobacco.
With a clean cut there is notes of hay and various spices in the pre-light draw – the resistance is perfect. With a light, the flavors are toasty, showing notes of cabinet spices, subtle cinnamon, citrus, and an added blast of spice through the retrohale. It’s quickly apparent that this is a cigar that demands you attention!
As the smoke develops, there are added flavors of suede, similar to that of a new car’s leather. It is a dry smoke in texture, with plenty of hays and spices, having a profile very similar to one of my favorite smokes – Arturo Fuente’s Casa Fuente. Honestly, in a blind taste test, one could easily mistake this cigar for one of Fuente’s premium offerings.
Allowing the flavors to really soak in, I noticed a lovely flavor of cured meats, similar to bacon or jerky that was left after the smoke on a long finish. This is a cigar that should be smoked when your palate is sharp, with the flavors seeming to offer something new on each puff. Here, at the 2” mark, the cigar was performing at medium-plus strength, full flavor, and medium/full body.
The flavors continued evolving – tangy qualities and Butterscotch schnapps made a brief appearance. The strength continued to increase throughout, bringing with it a cold nicotine/menthol feel in the back of the sinuses. At certain points, I wasn’t quite sure how to describe the flavors, only that it was refined and very well-balanced. But eventually the profile began to settle in around the halfway point, finalizing in flavors of leather, toast, cream, a subtle sweetness, and spice in the retro. The best way to describe it is simply “full” – full flavor, full strength, full everything!
Would I smoke this cigar again?
Without a doubt, yes. This is a box-purchase smoke, maybe even multiples. There is no question in my mind, this is Espinosa’s best cigar to date. The packaging is fresh, bright, and invigorating. The construction was solid, I love when a cigar has that solid exterior feel without being overly packed with tobacco, making for the perfect draw. I only needed one relight throughout, though this could improve with age. The strength on this cigar is sneaky and somewhat surprising; yes I should’ve expected that with an Espinosa cigar, but the delicate look and feel distracted me. I reccomend smoking this while sitting down… I also really enjoyed the seemingly endless flavors to be discovered, which I’m sure I missed a few. At one point near the end, I could’ve described a sweetness that reminded me of Cinnamon Toast Crunch milk (you know what I’m talking about). And that’s what makes a cigar like this so fun, going back for more, to try and understand its full experience.