It has been all the buzz these past couple of months – the special collaboration between Espinosa Premium Cigars and Celebrity Chef and the Mayor of Flavortown himself, Guy Fieri. It was only a matter of time till a chef of the stature of Guy Fieri, who is a big cigar guy too, created a cigar and boy did he and Espinosa hit this one out of the ball park.
The buzz started in January and then came the Smoke Inn Great Smoke event in February where the cigar was officially rolled out along with a meet and great with Guy. As for me, I missed the greeting but was able to get my hands on a few at my local Brick and Mortar – Executive Cigar Shop & Lounge in Melbourne, FL.
The Knuckle Sandwich is named after Guys corporation, Knuckle Sandwich, LLC and the insanely tasty hoagie sandwich of the same name.
As for the Knuckle Sandwich Cigar it comes in two wrapper varieties – Habano and Maduro. For this review I will focus on the Maduro version which has a blend described as:
- Wrapper – Ecuadorian Sumatra Maduro
- Binder – Nicaraguan
- Filler – Nicaraguan
The are expressed in 3 different vitolas, each packaged in 20 – count boxes. The letters after each vitola represent significant people in Fieri’s life.
- Corona Gorda R (5 5/8 x 46) – MSRP $11.95
- Robusto J (5 x 52) – MSRP $12.95
- Toro H (6 x 54) – MSRP $13.95
To add even more expertise to the making of these cigars the team reach out to A.J. Fernandez and his San Lotano factory in Ocatal, Nicaragua.
For this review I sampled two of the Knuckle Sandwich toros which I purchased for the review.
The Knuckle Sandwich sports a dark, reddish brown wrapper that is velvety smooch with just a few veins running through the leaf. It has crisp box pressing and is well packed with no discernable soft spots.
Two bands adorn the cigar. The primary band uses a gold, black, and red motif and boldly displays the Guy Fieri Knuckle Sandwich logo in the center along with the Espinosa cigars logo in a red circle on the bottom. The band pops nicely on the reddish brown background of the cigar. There is also a red satin foot band to distinguish it as the maduro from the habano which uses a gold footer band.
The journey to the “cigar flavortown” started with notes of floral and spice along the barrel, joined with cocoa and nut on the foot that had me wanting to cut and light this one up but first I needed to give it some cold draw puffs to take it to the next stage.
I sliced that cap straight across the shoulder and proceeded to give it some cold draws which further excited the palate with notes of chocolate and pepper. Tasty for sure, so much so I continued to cold puff it some just to savor the unlit tobacco as I was also tasting a mild natural sweetness. I culd chomp on this one!
Of course to really know what it has to offer it had to be fired up. My double flame torch would do the job of warming the foot gently as I drew in the first lit puffs of floral sweetness and cocoa. Wow, this is right in my wheel house so far. Follow along as I burn the Knuckle Sandwich to ash.
- Early floral sweetness and cocoa notes start the journey
- Light grey ash forms on a thin and even char line
- Pepper notes enter and the floral increases a notch
- Excellent smoke volume with smooth easy draws
- Natural tobacco sweetness wraps the whole early profile
- A delectable orange zest further entices the palate
- Ash fell in a nice chunk revealing a decent burn cone
- Pleasant nutty aromas fill the air as the smoke wafts off the foot
- Savory spice joins the mix in the second third
- Sweetness shifts to more of a caramel note
- Mild mint nuances further intrigue the palate entering the final third
- A pleasant fruit note joins the mix in the final with continues caramel sweetness and hint of cocoa
- Medium in Strength
- Total Smoking Time was a pleasant 1 hour and 50 minutes
The Knuckle Sandwich Maduro is one of the best Espinosa cigars to grace my palate. It lives up to its name with a solid flavor punch to the mouth. From pre-light to nub it offered a balanced array of flavors and aromas that never failed to please the palate puff after puff. A fine core of natural sweetness developed throughout the burn wrapping notes of cocoa, floral, pepper, savory spice and even some orange zest and hint of mint. The construction was spot on with a solid ash and an ever present, even burn line. What more can I say other tan go buy a box of these and enjoy every inch of burn. I guess having a cigar smoking chef working on the blend for 18 months to get it perfect worked out. Looking forward to trying the habano blend next. I rate this a solid 97
Point Deductions: NONE
Bonus Points: (+1) Even Burn; (+1) Buy a Box; (+1) Pleasant and Consistent across Multiple Samples;