Espinosa Premium Cigars – Laranja Reserva
The Espinosa Laranja Reserva has been the talk of the town as of late, hitting shelves late last week and finding it’s way into this week’s review. I hope you all had a safe, relaxing, and wonderful Labor Day Holiday. I actually did a whole lot of nothing and it felt amazing. It’s just what I needed. Now, let’s get to the review.
The Good Stuff:
Espinosa’s Laranja Reserva is yet another cigar which made it’s debut at this year’s IPCPR show in Las Vegas that has made huge waves within the cigar community. Some have said it was the gem of the show. Espinosa Premium Cigars has been on a roll lately as many of you know. Much of his success has come from the La Zona factory in Nicaragua which is the same factory in which the Laranja is manufactured. The name “Laranja” means “Orange” in some Portuguese. Aptly named, the Laranja Reserve carries a Brazilian wrapper from the Recôncavo region in the state of Bahia which is known for it’s orange hue. Erik Espinosa wanted to do something different this year as he started to experiment with different tobaccos he was drawn to this orange Brazilian wrapper. Erik states:
“It is the color of enthusiasm, creativity, determination and success, that’s what we are all about here”
The Laranja Reserva is available in three sizes: Corona Gorda (5 5/8 x 46), Robusto Extra (5 ½ x 54), and Toro (6 x 52). The blend will be offered in boxes of 20 ranging between $9.90 and $10.90 a stick. I’m not entirely sure on the production of this cigar, but the “Reserva” modifier may hint towards a more limited release. I picked a bunch of these up from our pals at Smoke Inn who had all three sizes in stock the last time that I had checked. For more information you can find Espinosa Premium Cigars on Twitter and on Facebook or visit their website.
Size: 5 5/8 x 46
Pairing: Odell Brewing Footprint RegionAle (American Strong Ale 9.5% ABV)
The Espinosa Laranja Reserva is one fine looking cigar. We’ll start with the wrapper which has to be one of the prettiest wrappers I have ever seen. The texture is very smooth, silky, and oily showing off some great natural webbing in the leaf. The color is a very consistent medium brown with a few darker, orangish areas around the webbing and the smaller veins which run seamlessly through the slender body of the cigar. The Laranja Reserva carries a very round triple cap and some of the finest band designs I’ve seen this year. First off, I love the orange, white and gold. Elegant, pretty, and different. The main band carries a large crest with “LARANJA RESERVA” printed across the front of it. The whole thing is finished off with the addition of a matching orange ribbon wrapped around the foot of the cigar.
The wrapper feels very thin and delicate while the body of the cigar is tightly compacted and solid for the most part with a bit of sponginess towards the foot of the cigar. The wrapper on the Laranja Reserva gives off a real strong nutty and spice aroma while the foot of the cigar smells of pepper and natural tobacco. The cap cut clean, but took a lot of force from my double bladed Palio cutter. The cold draw on the Laranja lead with lots of strong spice, natural tobacco, and some interesting floral flavors.
Espinosa’s Laranja Reserva offers a very rich, black pepper and spice greeting. After a few puffs the pepper begins to subside a bit and the Laranja lets loose some strong citrus, cedar, spice, and tobacco flavors. There’s a lot in this mix but for now, those are the more dominant flavors. The draw is on point kicking out a nice, thick, cloud of gray smoke with each little puff. The burnline is slightly wavy, but not concerning as it leaves behind a trail of slightly compacted, dark, and medium gray ash.
Into the second third of Espinosa’s Laranja Reserva and the flavors are becoming a bit easier to pick apart. The pepper has departed and the spice is the dominant flavor. I can pick up some great cinnamon and nutmeg in there with some bold grassy flavors, nuts, citrus, and a subtle sweetness that seems to be buried beneath it all. This is a pretty complex cigar and it’s entertaining trying to pick it apart. The retrohale showcases the spice, and a lot of cedar although I am not picking up the cedar as much as I did within the first third. The burnline is razor thin and pretty solid at this point and I am feeling only a slight nicotine kick as I close out the second third.
The sweetness has finally begun to emerge into the final third of the Espinosa Laranja Reserva. The spice is still center stage but the sweetness is making a run for it. Along with the spice and sweetness the citrus and nuttiness are still pretty strong while the natural grassy flavors and some slight pine are only evident on the aftertaste. It took me about an hour and a half to take the Laranja down to the nub (and when I say nub, I mean nub. I couldn’t put this thing down) and I didn’t encounter any harshness or heat. In fact, I was impressed with how smooth and creamy this cigar finished considering how complex and full bodied it was. The Laranja did leave me with a nice little nicotine kick and required absolutely no extra attention from my lighter since I first lit up.
Add the Espinosa Laranja Reserva to the list of possible candidates for cigar of the year, not just on our list, but everyone’s else. This cigar is making a name for itself by providing solid construction, and a unique, bold, complex experience to everyone who smokes it. Espinosa wanted to try something different and succeeded in making a great cigar to add to an already extensive portfolio. He’s continued to impress me as the Laranja was probably my favorite cigar that I have smoked from him so far. The price is riding a fine line between affordable and expensive, but I think it’s just, and I could easily see the Laranja falling into my regular rotation despite the extra coin.
Another Odell pairing. Why? Why the hell not. This week we are featuring Odell’s Footprint RegionAle. As the name suggests, Footprint celebrates Odell Brewing’s success by using resources from each of the states the beer is distributed in. It’s an interesting project, and once you see these ingredients the project becomes even more entertaining: Colorado – Hops & Barley, Arizona – Prickly Pear, Idaho – Barley & Hops, Kansas – Wheat, Minnesota – Wild Rice, Missouri – Oak Barrels, Nebraska – Corn, New Mexico – Green Chilis, South Dakota – Barley & Honey, Wyoming – Wheat, Texas – Grapefruit. Coming in a 9.5% ABV this beer can easily creep up on you. The beer leads with some strong spice, citrus, and malt which pair up perfectly with the citrus and spice I picked up throughout the Laranja’s experience. The mouthfeel on the footprint is really light and smooth as it finishes with some subtle tartness, grassiness, and just a hint of the chili. It’s easy to see why I paired the two of these together. I think the Laranja would pair perfectly with just about anything in a bolder arena with spice. Think strong coffee, port, or chili beers.