In February of this year we (finally) reviewed the Espinosa Laranja, the extremely popular 2014 release from Erik and the crew at the La Zona factory. In 2015 they were back at it again with the release of the Espinosa Especial and we thought we might try to tackle this one in a more timely, and I use that term loosely, fashion.
CIGAR STATS: Blended at the La Zona factory in Esteli, Nicaragua, the Espinosa Especial features a Mexican Capa Negra wrapper with a binder and fillers comprised of tobacco from the four major growing regions of Nicaragua: Condega, Esteli, Jalapa, and Ometepe. The Especial comes in 10-count boxes available in three different sizes: No. 1 (6.5 x 48) $8.75, No. 4 (5 x 52) $8.25, and No. 5 (6 x 54) $8.95. For this review I smoked a couple of No. 4s (Robusto).
APPEARANCE: The Mexican Capa Negra wrapper is mocha brown with some darker marbling and a bit of tooth that gives it a somewhat rustic look. There is very little in the way of oils present or visible veins. The copper color on the main band and the ribbon around the foot lend a touch of elegance and are reminiscent of the band and ribbon adorning the Espinosa Laranja.
THE SMOKE: Black pepper and spice envelope the senses at the starting gate but these aggressive flavors quickly transition to dark coffee, chocolate and a grassy earthiness. As the burn progresses the addition of a sweet cedar and leather bolster the existing flavors while the pepper and spice remain, but mostly on the retrohale. Coming down the home stretch the Especial is dominated by leather, dark coffee, earth and, of course, pepper and spice. The No. 4 burned well with only a few touch-ups and the charcoal-colored ash was slightly flaky but still made it to the ash tray every time.
THE VERDICT: The Espinosa Especial is a very good cigar. To say that I didn’t enjoy it quite as much as the Laranja, while true, isn’t really being fair because they are two completely different animals. Building on an already impressive portfolio, the Especial was blended to fill a void in their lineup as a medium-to-full-bodied smoke that doesn’t knock you on your ass, like the 601 La Bomba. Consider that goal met. For more information about the Especial or the entire line of Espinosa cigars, please visit: www.espinosacigars.com. – Jason Zahner