|Epicurean Gonzo Vintage 2007|
The Gonzo Vintage 2007 was the second line to be released by Epicurean Cigars. Epicurean Cigars was founded by Steven Ysidron, who has a long history in the cigar business – most recently with Savinelli. In 2012, he launched Epicurean Cigars. Epicurean Cigars has a focus on small batch, limited production handmade cigars. Late in 2013, Epicurean Cigars became the sixth company to join Gary Griffith’s House of Emilio distribution arm. The House of Emilio has done a great job at assembling a portfolio of distinct boutique brands. Ysidron hits pay dirt with the Gonzo – as his proves to be an excellent cigar.
Ysidron has his cigar making roots in the Dominican Republic where he and his father were making cigars with the Fuente Family. By 1999, he and his family started producing cigars out of Nicaragua – where the Epicurean line now has its roots. Nicaraguan tobacco plays a key role in the Epicurean line of cigars – and certainly in the Gonzo blend.
Without further ado, let’s break down the Epicurean Gonzo Vintage 2007 and see what this cigar brings to the table.
As indicated by the Gonzo’s name, the tobaccos used in the Gonzo are from a 2007 crop.
Binder: Double Binder San Andres Mexico and Jalapa
Filler: Jalapa and Condega (Nicaraguan)
The Gonzo Vintage 2007 is available in five sizes. Each of the five sizes are box-press. There are a total of 700 cigars per size being produced. The cigars are packaged twenty per box.
Trajabador: 5 x 56
Petite Corona: 5 1/2 x 48
Toro: 6 x 52
Lancero: 6 1/2 x 38
Perfecto: 6 1/2 x 52
For this cigar experience I went with the Toro size of the Epicurean Gonzo Vintage 2007. The Broadleaf wrapper has a classic coffee bean color with a slight touch of red clay in the color scheme. Upon closer examination of the wrapper, some darker marbling can be seen – something often seen on broadleaf. It has a rougher complexion and is not oily on the surface. There are a few visible veins and a few visible wrapper seams. There is a slight rounding on the edge of the box-press. The box-press is firm with no soft spots.
There are two bands on the Gonzo Vintage 2007. The primary band is black in color. Prominently displayed on the band is the text “GONZO” in white font. Below that text is the text “CELEBRACION” in a smaller dulled gold font. On the next line is the text “2007” in a slightly larger font. Finally the last two lines say “FILLER AGED FOUR YEARS” and “ESTELI NICARAGUA” – both in a smaller white font. On the back of the band is a white colored leaf / flower – like design.
The secondary band rests just below the primary band. It is silver in color. In black font is the text “BATCH 03”. Below that is the text “Broadleaf, San Andres, Jalapa. Condega” in a smaller black font – reflecting the tobaccos used in the blend.
Preparation for the Cigar Experience
For my smoking experience of the Epicurean Gonzo Vintage 2007 Toro, I went with a straight cut to remove the cap. After the cap was clipped, I proceeded with the pre-light draw. The dry draw notes provided a mix of cocoa and some raisin sweetness. Overall, the pre-light draw was pretty straight-forward, but nonetheless flavorful. At this point, I was ready to light up the Gonzo Vintage 2007 and see what the overall cigar experience would deliver.
The start to the Epicurean Gonzo Vintage 2007 Toro provided some flavors of earth and cocoa to start. The background had some of the raisin sweetness I detected on the pre-light draw. I also detected some pepper notes in the background. Both the pepper and raisin sweetness were also detectable on the retro-hale creating a nice multi-layered smoking experience.
As the cigar moved through the first two thirds, I could detect the raisin, earth, and cocoa notes at varying degrees. For the most part I found the earth and raisin sweetness to be the primary notes while the cocoa notes were secondary. The pepper seemed a constant background flavor throughout the first two thirds.
In the last third, the earth notes were in the forefront. The pepper spice also moved into the forefront. There was a little bit of an exotic spice flavor to the pepper at this point. The raisin notes were a secondary flavor and the cocoa notes had dissipated. Toward the very end, the spice did exhibit a little harshness, but by that point the cigar experience was ready to come to a close. The resulting nub was firm to the touch and cool in temperature.
Burn and Draw
Overall, I found the Epicurean Gonzo Vintage 2007 to be a cigar that was very well constructed – and this was reflected by the burn and draw. The burn line remained relatively straight. It wasn’t a perfect straight line, but at no point was this cigar in any danger of meandering or canoeing. The resulting ash was a salt and pepper color. There were a couple of flakes very early on, but the ash remained firm for the remainder of the cigar. The burn rate and burn temperature were ideal.
|Burn of the Epicurean Gonzo Vintage 2007|
From a draw standpoint, the Gonzo did very well. The draw was not loose and not tight – making for a very enjoyable cigar experience.
Strength and Body
From a strength standpoint, the Epicurean Gonzo Vintage 2007 is not going to overpower you. I assessed this cigar as one that falls right in the middle of the strength spectrum and therefore can be considered medium strength. The Gonzo’s flavor do have some nice depth to them. The cocoa and earth notes particularly give the flavors some weight on the pallet. I assessed this cigar as being medium to full-bodied. In terms of strength versus body, I definitely gave an edge to the the body.
The Epicurean Gonzo Vintage 2007 is a nice cigar to have. I liked the way the flavors came together with this particular blend. It brings together the nice sweetness of Broadleaf with some of the earthy and spice notes that Nicaraguan tobacco offers. While I don’t have an exact reason, my gut just tells me that a box-press was the right way to go with this Toro as opposed to a rounded parejo. This is the type of cigar that I would recommend to either a novice or an experienced cigar enthusiast. As for myself, this is easily a cigar I’d reach for an smoke again. It’s definitely a cigar worth picking up a 5 pack of.
Body: Medium to Full
Assessment: 3.0 – The Fiver
Source: The cigars for this assessment were purchased from Outland Cigars in Charlotte, North Carolina.