“I was just overwhelmed with how well it was received and how the people raved about it. I couldn’t wait for the IPCPR, I had to get it out to our retailers as soon as I could.”Erik Espinosa
Erik was talking about the new Espinosa Cigars Laranja Reserva Escuro that was released to retailers this past week. I missed last years La Zona Palooza, but from those I know who attended, they were all over this cigar. So I had to get it as soon as I could to see what all the fuss was about.
Last night, my wait was over, as my friend and Stogie Press contributor Mike Holmes stopped by with a couple of Laranja Reserva Escuro’s and said ‘Jimmie, you have to try this cigar!’ OK Mike, twist my arm! Mike took out the two beauties, a toro and a robusto and asked me to choose one. I went with the toro, leaving Mike the robusto. Now before I go any further, I have to properly introduce the Laranja Reserva Escuro to you all.
Spoiler Alert: After smoking this gem of cigar, I called Erik Espinosa and told him what a great pleasure it was to smoke this cigar and how he absolutely nailed the blend.
Now let’s discuss the cigar
The Laranja Reserva Escuro is the first extension to the Espinosa Cigars Laranja line. The original Laranja debuted in 2014 and introduced us all to the Brazilian Laranja leaf. For this year’s rendition, Espinosa kept with the Brazilian theme but chose to use a dark Brazilian Mata Fina wrapper. The blend is described as:
- Wrapper – Brazilian Mata Fina
- Binder – Nicaraguan
- Filler – Nicaraguan
The Laranja Reserva Escuro is available in 3 box pressed vitolas and come packaged in 10-count boxes:
- Corona Larga (6 x 46) MSRP: $10.00
- Robusto Grande (5.5 x 56) MSRP: $10.50
- Toro (6 x 52) MSRP: $11.00
In case you are wondering about the word “escuro” it is the Portuguese word for “dark”, similar to the Spanish word “oscuro” which is the more commonly used term for dark wrappers. The original line started the use of Portuguese with the word “laranja” which means orange and is a description of the wrapper color. This is also the first time Espinosa has used a Mata Fina wrapper.
The Laranja Reserva Escuro is made at the San Lotano Factory in Ocotal, Nicaragua.
The Espinosa Laranja Reserva Escuro is a gorgeous cigar with its extremely dark and silky smooth wrapper. The wrapper has some nice marbling and a fine oily sheen. The box press is crisp, the packing is tight, and veins are all but invisible in the leaf.
There are two bands that adorn the cigar. The primary band uses a white, gold, and black motif with the white word “Laranja” printed on a black background curving from the bottom left to the top right. The word “Escuro” is printed in black on a white background on the bottom. There is a lot of embellishing throughout. The secondary footer band is white satin.
With the visual out of the way, I was certainly attracted to this cigar and now it was time for Mike and I to check out the pre-light aromas. We agreed the barrel was light on aroma while the foot had a musty earth note.
Wanting to learn more about the Laranja Reserva Escuro we each went with a straight cut, to open the cap, and proceeded to give it some cold draw puffs. We noticed the draw was a tad snug and offered notes of very light pepper and a hint of BBQ sweetness.
Enough of the first dates, it was time to get these ignited and burn them to ash. We each used a 3 flame torch to warm the foot and slowly bring it to an even orange glow. The first puffs certainly opened the nasals with a some heavy pepper shots.
Cigar Review Notes
- Pepper shot on the first puffs clear the nasals
- There is a buttercream note trying to break through but lays in the background
- White ash evolves resting on a thin char line
- Pepper fades nicely after a half-inch or so
- Light citrus tang starting to enter the profile
- Mike notes the solid ash is like “stacking dimes”
- Toasted caramel builds in the background
- Excellent volume of creamy smoke fills the palate
- Strength already is picking up at the one inch mark
- We both noticed the barrel was getting a bit spongy to the squeeze
- A slight wave in the burn is developing
- Citrus picks up but not overpowering
- Sweet aroma
- Burn line gets a little thicker
- Earthy notes enter deep in the first third
- Ash fell in a nice chunk and revealed a flat but centered burn cone
- Bitter notes enter midway and stays for about an half inch of burn
- As the bitter fades light citrus and cocoa notes appear
- Aroma shifts to an earthy note moving through the second third
- Sugary sweetness moves in near the end of the second third
- Strength has made it to medium-full
- That early buttercream finally presents itself blending well with the citrus and sweetness in the final third
- Total Smoking Time – Toro 1 hour and 30 Minutes; Robusto 1 Hour and 10 Minutes
Overall, the Espinosa Laranja Reserva Escuro was a spectacular cigar that was yin to the yang of the original Laranja. The choice of leaf used in this blend allowed just enough citrus notes to come through without being overpowering so as to allow some of the more subtle notes to grace the palate through the journey. There was a bitter point midway that eventually faded and the there was a few waves in the burn but never needed a touch up. This is a box worthy cigar. We rate this a 93.
Point Deductions: (-1) Wave in burn; (-1) Barrel Got Spongy at times; (-1) Flat Burn Cone; (-1) Bitter Notes Midway
Bonus Points: (+1) Box Worthy