Ezra Zion – Eminence – Gran Prensado Cigar Review
Sorry for skipping last week’s review. Jeremy and I both slacked it. While he got sick, I got wrapped up in some honey do’s around the house and just couldn’t squeeze it in. Honestly though, I miss you guys when I don’t get a review in so I was excited to get back on the horse, ride out back, and fire up this week’s cigar. Ezra Zion’s Eminence Gran Prensado.
The Good Stuff: Ezra Zion is a boutique company that has made some massive waves in the cigar community over the past few years. Heck, even out own Jeremy Hensley rated the Tantrum one of his top cigars of 2013 and Daniel enjoyed his experience with the Reagan. The boys over at Ezra Zion have been kicking out stellar cigars for the past few years now and because of that they recently celebrated that they have teamed up with the House of Emilio in an agreement to let Gary Griffith handle their distribution making their cigars much more accessible to us, the cigar community. The Eminence is the first non-Nicaraguan Puro they have released showcasing a Mexican San Andreas wrapper. Manufactured at the Tabacos Valle de Jalapa S.A. factory, the Eminence will come in boxes of 21 featuring 6 different sizes: Belicoso Gran Toro (5 x 58), the Gran Prensado (7 x 42), the Exquisito (6.25 x 52), the Churchill (7 x 48), the Corona (6 x 46), and the Robusto (5.25 x 50) ranging from $11.50 to $12.50 a stick and are already on store shelves across the U.S..
Size: 7 x 54
Wrapper: Mexican San Andreas
Binder: Dual Binder Nicaraguan
Pairing: Ballast Point Victory at Sea (Imperial Porter 10% ABV)
Prelight: The first thing you notice about the Eminence is just how incredibly dark the wrapper is. It’s as dark brown as you can get before it becomes black. The color is incredibly consistent too with only a few black splotches around the almost seamless veins. The whole body of the cigar is wrapper incredible seamless and silky smooth leading up to a nice round double cap. The slender body is a hard box press making for a very comfortable fit in the hand and the mouth. The Eminence is polished off with the standard silver, black, and gray metallic Ezra Zion crest we have all become so familiar with. Like the other Ezra Zion Lines, the Eminence carries a small foot band that states “Eminence – Tercera Edition”. The cigar is extremely heavy and hard to the touch. There was absolutely no impurities or soft spots throughout the body of the cigar.
The wrapper on the Eminence smelled like straight up chocolate bar while I got a much more grainy, natural tobacco aroma from the foot of the cigar. The cap cut very clean and easy using my Palio double bladed cutter. The cold draw produce a bit of spice and pepper with a whole ton of chocolate and tobacco flavors.
First Smoke: The Eminence starts out with some nice, gentle black pepper. Just enough to tease my tongue and lips. That quickly fades away and the cigar leaves me with some very strong espresso and cocoa notes followed up with a bit of sweetness, spice, and rich tobacco flavors. After about an inch some nice, sweet, woodsy flavors started to creep into the mixture. The draw on this cigar is ridiculous. I have had an excellent draw streak as of late and the Eminence adds to it by pumping out beautifully thick clouds of white, dense smoke with every puff. The burnline is a bit wavy, but nothing too concerning. The ash left behind is pretty flaky and bright white, mixed with very dark gray in color. It only held on for an inch before falling into my ashtray.
Halfway There: It’s taken me a while to get there, but the second half of the Eminence is still pouring out flavor. The main show still revolves around the coffee and chocolate flavors with a bit of spice and woodsyness but now some natural honey has began to show it’s face. This cigar burns incredibly slow. It took me almost an hour to get down to the halfway point. The burnline is still a bit wavy but I haven’t had to touch it up or relight it so I’m not complaining. The retrohale carries much more spice and pepper than I would have expected. It’s pretty sharp and I don’t find myself doing it too often. I am feeling absolutely no nicotine at this point.
Finish: A lot of the pepper that dropped off in the first few draws have made a subtle reappearance in the final third of the Eminence. Along with the pepper the flavors remained the same, lots of espresso and cocoa, spice, honey, sweetness and natural tobacco. I’m impressed that the boldness of the flavors have yet to drop off at all. The burnline remained it bit staggered from start to finish but I never once had to relight or touch up the cigar so I’m not complaining. I felt almost no nicotine as I closed out the final inch of the cigar. All in all it took me two hours to smoke this beast down to the nub. Seriously it burns so incredibly slow which adds a bit more to it’s value. I encountered absolutely no harshness whatsoever and the cigar finished perfectly smooth and creamy.
Overview: As I stated earlier, Ezra Zion has created some pretty large waves in the cigar community as of late, and the Eminence is the perfect example as to why. Jeremy and I have had multiple conversations as of late about just how great Mexican San Andreas is as a wrapper when it is blended correctly, and that’s exactly what these boys did with the Eminence. They created a bold, flavorful experience leading off with great maduro flavors followed up with some awesome sweetness which then evens out to finish off creamy and smooth. You can’t really ask for much more in terms of experience. The construction was on point, and the price is within reason. Given, it is a bit on the pricey side I would gladly pay the coin to add a few more of these into my rotation.
Pairing: Ballast Point’s Victory at Sea is famous for being on of the only American Porters to ever be ranked 100 on beerAdvocate. Aside from that, it’s a damn good beer. Victory at Sea is brewed at the Ballast Point Brewing Company in San Diego, California. It’s a 10% ABV Imperial Porter with Coffee and Vanilla added. What I like so much about this beer is most brews that add coffee lean on the coffee as the source of flavor making each beer eerily similar in strong coffee tastes. Instead, Victory at Sea showcases a more mild coffee leaning more heavily on the Vanilla as a source of flavor creating a very sweet, very creamy experience. Other flavors include some sharp spice, roasted malt and a slightly bitter finish. The vanilla, coffee and spice paired up so well with the spice, coffee, and chocolate from the Eminence creating an incredible smoking experience.