Espinosa Cigars Murcielago
Last week I was still recovering from my case of strep throat so my palate was still a bit blown. But this week I am coming in right on schedule with a review of Espinosa Cigars’ Murcielago paired with a can of Southern Star’s Black Crack.
The Good Stuff:
Back in 2009 Eddie Ortega and Erik Espinosa created one of my favorite blends at the time, the Murcielago. You can read my review of the original here. The San Andres wrapped cigar was then blended by none other than Don Pepin Garcia of My Father Cigars. Fast forward today and the Murcielago is now a private blend of Erik Espinosa’s Espinosa Cigars which is now being blended at Erik’s La Zona factory in Nicaragua. While the blend may not be identical, Erik spent the better part of the past 6 years trying to reverse engineer the blend resulting in the cigar offered today. The Murcielago starts out with a Mexican San Andres maduro wrapper, Mexican binder, and Nicaraguan fillers. The cigar is offered in three box-pressed sizes: Noir (5 x 52), Nocturne (5.5 x 56), La Lune (6.5 x 54) which come in boxes of 20 ranging between $9.50 and $8.50 a stick. These were sent over for us to review from the Espinosa Cigar team.
Size: 5 x 52
Wrapper: Mexican San Andres Maduro
Pairing: Southern Star Black Crack (Imperial Stout 10% ABV)
The Murcielago starts out with a gorgeous, very dark brown wrapper. The color is perfectly consistent while the texture features a whole mess of rough tooth, a good amount of oil, and a very hard, dense makeup. The cigar is very heavy, and I wasn’t able to find any soft spots throughout the cigar’s body. There are a very minor veins running the course of the Murcielago’s box-pressed body, but nothing concerning as it leads up to a round double cap. The cigar is polished off with a similar band that we saw on the EO Brands cigar, only it’s a deeper red and black with no gold.
The wrapper on the Murcielago gives off some rich spice, cocoa and coffee aromas while the foot of the cigar smells much sweeter with spice and natural tobacco aromas. The cap cut clean and easily using my Palio double bladed cutter. The Murcielago produces strong cocoa, espresso, and spice flavors on the cold draw with just a bit of saltiness and cayenne pepper on my lips.
The Murcielago starts out with a good amount of that cayenne pepper both on my tongue, and in the flavor profile. After a few draws the pepper all but fades away leaving behind cocoa, espresso, spice, lots of floral and musk with this incredible almost sandalwood flavor that I’m really digging. The draw on the Murcielago is awesome. Each tiny puff kicks out tons of thick white smoke while the cigar gives off a whole mess of stationary smoke as it rests in my ashtray. The burn line is a bit wild at first but has been continuing to calm itself down leaving behind a decently compacted trail of medium gray ash which held on for an inch before giving way.
Into the second third of the Murcielago and the sandalwood has dropped out and the main flavor component is now a sweet raisin backed by soft cedar, cocoa, espresso, musk, and spice. The changes in flavor profile have been pretty entertaining so far. The retrohale brings that sandalwood back into the equation along with some very sharp pepper. The burn line is still pretty wavy but I haven’t had to reach for my lighter yet so I’m not complaining. I close out the second third with only a very minor nicotine kick.
The body and strength have really ramped up into the final third of this Murcielago. The flavor is leading with the cedar again, but that awesome sandalwood has made a reappearance as well. It’s mild, but it’s awesome. The backing flavors are that of cocoa, spice, and coffee with a splash of sweetness and some soft tartness. It took me about an hour and a half to take this cigar down to the nub and I experience absolutely no harshness or extra heat. This was a hell of a cigar and I really enjoyed it. I close out with only a slight little nicotine kick.
While I haven’t smoked many of the original Murcielago blends recently, I smoked enough to know my way around them. While this version of the Murcielago does have it’s similarities, it’s a whole different monster. The flavor profile is amazing, and the change ups constantly kept me on my toes. The burn was superior and despite a few waves it functioned flawlessly as I never once had to reach for my torch. The price point is right where you expect it to be and I’d feel comfortable buying a box, or even a few boxes of these to have around for my regular rotation. I’d have to smoke a few more of the original blend to be sure, but at this point I’d venture to say that I actually enjoyed this current version even more than the one prior. La Zona has been on a hot streak every since they factory was founded and I don’t see that stopping anytime soon.
Southern Star Brewing Company is one of the few Texas breweries that you can find in pretty much every little store in El Paso ranging from bars and liquor stores to grocery and convenience stores. They make a few really good beers too. One of my favorites is their Buried Hatched Stout which I have paired with in the past. Today, I bring you their Black Crack which is essentially a bourbon barrel aged version of the Buried Hatchet Stout. The Black Crack opens up with a whole mess of sweetness, raisin, and cocoa with a very heavy mouthfeel before finishing with a ton of malt, caramel, raisin, cocoa, and vanilla. It’s easy to see why they call this beer crack, it’s so good it’s addicting. The price of this beer is a bit of a shocker coming in at about $14 a can. While the beer is outstanding, it’s not something I’d shell out that coin for too often. Still, its worth giving a go.