In November of 2018, Espinosa Premium Cigars handed out a very limited number of Brazilian Mata Fina-wrapped cigars at the company’s annual La Zona Palooza festival (a three-day event for fans of La Zona-made cigars, held at Espinosa’s headquarters in Hialeah Gardens, FL). This blend was to be the much-anticipated followup to Espinosa’s blockbuster 2014 release of the Laranja Reserva.
Laranja Reserva Escuro Breakdown
- Wrapper: Brazilian Mata Fina
- Binder: Nicaragua
- Filler: Nicaragua
- Factory: San Lotano (Nicaragua)
- Production: Regular Production
- Vitola: 6″ x 46 (Corona Gorda)
- Price: $10.00
- Corona Gorda: 6″ x 46 | $10.00 (SRP)
- Robusto Grande: 5½” x 56 | $10.50 (SRP)
- Toro: 6″ x 52 | $10.90 (SRP)
The cigars were then officially announced in early April 2019—dubbed Laranja Reserva Escuro—with three box-pressed sizes shipping to retailers simultaneously. Like the original Laranja, the Escuro features an all-Nicaraguan interior and a Brazilian wrapper. But where the original release featured an orange-hued wrapper leaf (“Laranja” being the Portuguese word for “orange”), the sequel is not so concerned with maintaining the brand’s orange theme. Laranja Reserva Escuro comes packaged in black/gold 10-count boxes, featuring a similar primary band (gold/white/black) and silver foot ribbons.
The Corona Gorda format comes with a tight box press and feels quite solid in the hand. The cigar lights up with a burst of flavor, being primarily spice forward and dominant in the retrohale. Black pepper, clove, and sharp wasabi spice rush through the nostrils on each puff. As the smoke progresses, the spice tames, bringing a dark and earthy profile, with notes of baker’s cocoa, leather, and a unique tart sweetness in the background (almost like SweeTARTS candy). Through the halfway point, the progression of flavor continues, with loads of mocha (like chocolate bar with crushed coffee beans), classic barnyard notes, and a welcomed dark fruit sweetness (fermented maraschino cherries come to mind). In the cigar’s final moments, the profile loses a bit of its sweetness, being primarily earthy, with added notes of black licorice, Hershey’s syrup, and toasted rye bread.
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Would I Smoke This Cigar Again?
No doubt! Differing from the conventional earth-forward blend, the Escuro brilliantly weaves in just enough sweetness to provide a much-needed balance. The cigar is loaded with flavor, making it a tempting selection for smoking sessions ranging from the afternoon to well into the night.
- When the Escuro was announced, this Corona Gorda size was listed as “Corona Larga,” but the shipped cigars have “Corona Gorda” inscribed on the box.
- I smoked the Toro format at La Zona Palooza in November and I must say, whether it was the added age or the size change, the Corona Gorda was much more enjoyable.
- I would’ve liked to have seen more orange in the cigar’s design. I understand that it is the yin to the original Laranja’s yang, but a subtle orange highlight in the primary band or perhaps an orange foot ribbon would have been a nice touch, in my opinion.
- Flavor: Full
- Strength: Medium
- Body: Medium-plus
- Dark fruit
- Smoke Time: 1 hour, 20 minutes
- Pairing Recommendation: Kentucky straight rye | Chocolate milk stout | Cuban coffee
- Purchase Recommendation: Box
- Concentrated smoke onto the palate
- Balanced sweetness
- Good flavor progression throughout
- Slightly firm draw
- Some touch-ups required (two to three on average)
- Lacks the tart-like sweetness in final third