Espinosa Cigars Alibi – Backroom Series
I know I have been a bit of a shaker lately but with good reason. Work had been kicking my butt with some huge projects that we needed to get through, I got a bad cold, and then followed that up with some skateboarding injuries. Now that I made it through all that in one piece I took a moment to sit, relax, and fire up the Espinosa Alibi and give you guys my thoughts.
The Good Stuff:
The Espinosa Alibi is the first of a new series called “The Backroom Series” which shipped to 3 lucky Espinosa retailers who feature Espinosa Lounges in December. The Alibi is a 6 x 48 cigar which features a Ecuadorian Habano Oscuro wrapper along with some undisclosed binder and fillers produced at the La Zona factory in Nicaragua. The Alibi comes in a single size, packed in boxes of 10 running $90 a box with only 200 boxes produced. The 3 retailers who carry the Alibi are Casa Belicoso in Walnut Creek California, Cordova Cigars in Pensacola Florida, and Smoke Inn VI in Margate Florida with more to be expected as Espinosa Lounges are established across the country. (Thanks to Halfwheel for the info) Samples were sent to us from our friends at Espinosa for review.
Size: 6 x 48
Wrapper: Ecuadorian Habano Oscuro
Pairing: Founders Backwoods Bastard (Bourbon Barrel Aged Scotch Ale 10.2% ABV)
The Espinosa Alibi starts out with a very dark, very beautiful toothy, veiny, web wrapper. Seriously this thing feels like it’s wrapper in sandpaper. The wrapper is very a very dark, very consistent brown and feels very dense with little give as I squeeze it between my fingers. the long body leads up so a shallow, round, double cap. The Alibi is polished off with a simple, elegant beige band with the word “Alibi” on the front, “Backroom Series” on one side, and “Espinosa Lounge Exclusive” on the other while the foot sports a simple black band that blends in with the darkness of the wrapper.
The wrapper on the Alibi gives off tons of pepper, spice, and raisin while the foot of the cigar lets looks a generous blend of spice and tobacco. The cap cut clean and easy using my Palio double bladed cutter. The cold draw produces some really bold raisin, spice, sweetness and a whole mess of pepper left my lips tingling.
As I expected the Espinosa Alibi starts off with a strong black pepper boom which leaves both my tongue and lips with a tingling sensation. The pepper began to simmer down a bit after about a half inch in and the Alibi’s flavors began to take shape with a really strong raisin leading the pack backed by some dark cheery, leather, spice, and sweetness on the finish. The draw is a bit loose but I can dig it as each little puff produces a ton of thick smoke. The burn line has a few slight waves, but nothing too serious as it leaves behind a trail of medium gray, compacted ash which held on for a bit over an inch before falling into my ashtray.
The black pepper is still quite resident into the second third of the Espinosa Alibi. The raisin is still rocking solid with the cherry and sweetness backing while the spice has ramped up quite a bit. The Alibi started in the medium category but is now venturing into the full-bodied zone. The retrohale is very sharp and much to spicy/peppery for my liking. The burn is still slightly wavy but hasn’t needed any extra attention from my lighter while I am feeling a slight bit of nicotine while closing out the second third.
The pepper has finally cleared way for the other flavors in the final third of the Espinosa Alibi. The flavors are pretty consistent leading with the raisin and cherry backed by sweetness and spice with a ramp up in leather and oak. The draw is been a bit wavy the entire time but I never once had to touch up or relight the cigar so I’m not complaining. It took me about an hour and forty five minutes to smoke the Alibi down to the nub and while the strength really stepped it’s game up towards the end, there was no harshness or heat finishing very bold and proper with a beautiful little nicotine kick.
The Espinosa Alibi is a solid cigar in every category. I usually gravitate towards full-bodied cigars and this is the perfect example on full-bodied done right. The flavors are bold, yet balanced while I wasn’t overpowered by the higher strength this cigar yields. The size chosen is incredible as I usually go for smaller ring gauges as I feel the wrapper, in most cases, delivers more of the flavors I look for. This probably isn’t going to be something that novice cigar smokers are going to be chasing down but I think it’s perfect for the seasoned smoker looking for a great full bodied experience. My only gripe is the availability but that was the whole idea behind this series.
Yeah, this pairing rocked. Simple as that. The first time I smoked the Alibi I knew that I would be choosing Founders Backwoods Bastard as it’s partner. The Backwoods Bastard is a 10.2% ABV Bourbon Barrel Aged Scotch Ale and one of my favorites in the Founders portfolio. This particular bottle was from a 2013 haul I brought in. The beer leads with some strong Bourbon and caramel with a very heavy and thick mouthfeel finishing strong with lots of sweetness, malt, and cajeta with a good amount of booze. This cigar would pair perfectly with any wee heavy, spiced rum, our tawny port.