There has been a lot of buzz these past couple of months about the return of the Espinosa Wasabi cigar. Originally debuting in 2016 as part of the Espinosa Back Room series, the Wasabi was a very limited production cigar. Now once again, Erik must have been out for sushi again and decided it was time to release another rendition of this green beauty. This time around Espinosa is only releasing the Wasabi in one, 5 x 52 box-pressed Robusto, vitola and limiting the release to just 500 10-count boxes. Getting your hands on these is not so easy as they are selling out fast, but I was lucky enough to be in Corona Cigars in Orlando, FL last week and picked a few up to check out. My associate Zac Riley also fount himself one in Alabama and together we break it down for you today. The cost of the Wasabi was $8.10.
The blend for the Wasabi is Top Secret but we do know it uses a “Spicy Candela” leaf as a wrapper. You heard that right, Spicy Candela. I repeat that because normally a candela is sweet. For those that may not be familiar with candela allow me to briefly explain how it comes to be.
Unlike other leaf that are harvested when the plant is mature, candela leaf is harvested before the plant fully matures and then it is quickly dried, resulting in a leaf that is green and has the plants natural chlorophyll content locked in giving more of a sweet leafy taste. Now in the case of the Wasabi, we don’t know the full process used to give it the spicy component and that secret is locked in the Espinosa vaults.
I missed the inaugural release of the original Wasabi so I can not compare to that cigar but Zac and I enjoyed the 2018 rendition.
The first observation of the Espinosa Wasabi is the bright, shiny green, candela wrapper that is light on veins and is soft box pressed around the binder and filler. The cigar is finished with a with a well applied habano leaf triple cap. The foot shows some dark leaf in a nice contrast to the rich green wrapper.
The Wasabi is adorned with a single band that has the green word “Wasabi” printed on a white background and framed with black lines on top and bottom.
Once the cap is sliced the cold draw was a bit more open than restricted. The pre-light notes included sea salt and a growing pepper spice as I rolled it about. Zac Riley picked up spice notes, some light hints of hay and earth.
I rolled it about a little more seeing if there was more but the pepper warmed my lips, cheeks, and hit the throat. Make it stop !! Just kidding it is ok, but certainly an awaking to the senses. Alright, it was time to fire it up.
Cigar Review Notes
- Pepper (dare I say jalapeños) hits right off the light – no surprise there
- A medium grey, flaky ash on a medium char line
- Herbal aroma fills the air around me
- Zac noted it’s essentially just a spice bomb – almost tastes like a Cajun dish as well with all the spice that it has packed into it.
- We both got a heavy dose of black pepper through the nose and Zac also got light hint of vanilla on the back-end.
- Sweetness melds with the pepper very well after the first inch
- Spice pulls back as it moves into the second third
- Zac and I both got cream and hay notes in the second third and Zac added that he continued to pick up a vanilla component
- As it gets deep into the second I picked up a coffee note
- The burn line has been a wavy but needed no touch up so far
- Things get more interesting in the final third with notes of hickory (Zac) or BBQ (Boston Jimmie)
- The spice is re-emerging as a cayenne pepper
- The herbal sweetness is maintaining in the background
- Finished with a full strength
- Total Smoking time was just over one hour
Overall, the Espinosa Wasabi can be easily defined as a spice bomb but it had some smoothing out in the second third delivering some delightful flavor nuances including sweet herbal notes, vanilla, and cream. The final third ratchets up the pepper again, but brought along some interesting BBQ/Hickory notes to keep the palate enticed. I am thinking a nice sweet bourbon would pair well with this. Zac noted; the Wasabi was excellent, but that really doesn’t surprise me, because every Espinosa Cigar I have smoked has been absolutely fantastic. The draw was great with some wonderful and unique flavor. It was just a really enjoyable smoke. I would definitely smoke this cigar again.