Erik Espinosa doesn’t come from a long line of cigar makers, in fact, he started his career as a UPS driver bringing deliveries to cigar shops, thats when he got introduced to cigars. That led to working in a cigar shop, which led to owning a brand with Eddie Ortega and when they decide to part ways he started his own factory, La Zona, in Esteli. A factory that is now quite renowned and makes a few high rated, well received blends, not just for his own company but also for others like Moya Ruiz, Cornelius & Anthony and La Sirena. And I’ve had the pleasure to sit on the deck of the factory with cuban style coffee and a nice Hector Alfonso blended cigar, I wouldn’t mind doing that every day. Oh and Happy Birthday Hector!!
The Espinosa Maduro is one of the lines that Espinosa makes for his own cigar company, the name is a clear sign of that, but he also produces 601, Murcielago and the award winning Laranja for Espinosa Cigars. The line consists of four vitolas, three of them are box pressed (the robusto, toro & belicoso) while the 5 5/8 x46 Corona Gorda is round and has a pig tail. I’m smoking that particular cigar for a review today.
The Mexican maduro wrapper is very dark and leathery with a few veins, it’s not the best looking wrapper but for some reason I like it, the color and the texture just match up perfectly. The rings are gorgeous, beige with golden outlines, a red dot with the Espinosa logo and a light blue banner with the Espinosa name in red letters, and a smaller banner saying ‘hecho en la zona’ and then a deep blue detail. The foot ring brings back the deep blue with a golden edging and the same letters as the Espinosa name but now saying Maduro. The cigar looks a little crooked but the construction feels great and the triple cap with pig tail is placed perfectly. The aroma is quite strong and reminds me of cocoa, I live in an area with several cocoa factories so I know that smell all too well. I also smell a bit barnyard too.
I cut the cigar with my xikar guillotine. The cold draw is fine, I taste raisin and dark, creamy chocolate with some pepper. After lichting the cigar I taste coffee and dark chocolate with a hint of white pepper. After half an inch I taste dry grass with cedar and pepper. After an inch I taste oak with some rucola. The second third starts peppery with some fresh wood on the background. Halfway I also taste a little lime. Right before the final third I get a mild cocoa with a little mint and a strong yet balanced pepper. The final third starts meaty with some pepper. I taste some sweetness and it’s perfectly balanced with some acidity and pepper. Slowly some dark chocolate and cocoa shows up with some white pepper.
The draw is perfect, just the right amount of resistance. The smoke is thick and white. The ash is white too and very dense. The burn is straight and slow. This cigar is full flavored, medium to full bodied. The smoke time is two hours.
Would I buy this cigar again? I hope they get introduced to the Dutch market soon.