Espinosa Cigars is one of the companies that could stake the claim to being the standout company of the 2021 PCA Trade Show. This year saw a booth that showcased Espinosa’s high print media cigar ratings as well as one with consistent foot traffic. There are two themes that can be applied to Espinosa Cigars – doubling down and as Bear Duplisea said “building on the foundation.” These themes ultimately played a key role in the success Espinosa Cigars had at this trade show.
With many scaling back at the PCA Trade Show and the Big Four skipping the trade show, Espinosa Cigars opted to double down on this PCA. They stepped up as a major sponsor including co-sponsoring the opening reception, and they opted to come into the Trade Show with plenty of products. The products are all examples of building upon the solid foundation that Espinosa Cigars has established over the years.
Building on the foundation of the popular 601 line, Espinosa Cigars has brought back the 601 Black, Espinosa’s PCA Exclusive offering. This PCA Exclusive was one of the better ones in terms of executing on a go-to-market strategy as Espinosa Cigars did an outstanding job promoting this release.
The 601 Black is a cigar that traces its roots back to EO Brands, the partnership between Espinosa Cigars’ founder Erik Espinosa and Eddie Ortega. 601 Black was one of the original 601 blends released in the EO portfolios and was a Connecticut Shade on the bolder side. At the time it was released, it was considered a groundbreaking cigar in that it was one of the early Connecticut Shade blends to break the mold of traditional, milder Connecticut Shades. In 2011, a decision was made to stop making the 601 Black. Shortly after that, EO Brands dissolved and 601 would follow Espinosa into Espinosa Cigars. The 601 Black was eventually discontinued. Oddly, when the 601 Black disappeared, the Connecticut Shade market began changing and there was more demand for bolder Connecticut Shade cigars. 601 Black was brought back at the 2020 Virtual La Zona Palooza, and the feedback was positive. This led to the decision to bring back 601 Black as an annual release. For 2021, the 601 Black was brought back in a Toro size, but subsequent releases may see different sizes.
Building on the foundation of the Laranja brand, Espinosa has introduced the Espinosa Laranja Reserva Azulejo, the third release under the Laranja pillar of the Espinosa portfolio. The Laranja line was launched in 2014 with the Laranja Reserva. This was followed up in 2019 with the Laranja Reserva Escuro. Laranja Azulejo follows Laranja’s practice of using Brazilian tobacco. While the Laranja Reserva and Laranja Reserva Escuro use Brazilian wrappers, the Laranja Reserva Azulejo uses a Brazilian Arapiraca leaf for the binder – marking the first time Espinosa has used that binder. The blend also features a dark Ecuadorian Sumatra wrapper and fillers from different growing regions of Nicaragua. This is also the first regular production release in the Espinosa portfolio to feature a Sumatra wrapper. Laranja Reserva Azulejo is produced at AJ Fernandez’s San Lotano factory. As for the name Azulejo, it is because of the blue in the Brazilian flag and that color is present on the banding and packaging.
Las 6 Provincias is Espinosa’s premium annual release line. Once again, Espinosa builds on the foundation of this line, releasing the third installment of this series, Las 6 Provincias Las Villas. The Las Villas is a box-pressed 5½ x 54 robusto, made at AJ Fernandez’s San Lotano Factory in Ocotál, Nicaragua. The blend features 100% Nicaraguan tobacco. Las 6 Provincias is famous for its innovative Cubanesque packaging. In this case, Las Villas are each individually packaged in their own branded coffin and presented in a ten-count curio display featuring original artwork from local Cuban artist Eden Gutierrez depicting scenes from Las Villas before the Communist Revolution.
Over the years, Espinosa Cigars has made a lot of private label and shop exclusive brands. This year Espinosa builds on the foundation of that program by bringing back one of those shop exclusives with Sensei’s Sensational Sarsaparilla. This was originally a release done for the Cigar Dojo community and sold through Famous Smoke Shop. It’s back with the original blend and size is an ongoing national release. The blend features a San Andres Mexican wrapper over a Nicaraguan binder and filler in a 5 1/2 x 52 belicoso. The cigars are presented in ten-count boxes.
Finally, Espinosa Cigars had the seventh installment of its 601 La Bomba Warhead series. Each year the Warhead is released in a different size, and the Warhead VII comes in a 7 x 50 box-pressed Churchill. Warhead VII is highlighted by a Nicaraguan Broadleaf wrapper over Nicaraguan binder and filler. Like most of the 601 line, the 601 La Bomba Warhead VII is produced at AJ Fernandez’s San Lotano factory in Ocotál, Nicaragua. Espinosa Cigars says Warhead VII will have a limited run for the rest of 2021. An initial run of production will be 2,000 ten-count boxes, but the company expects to make more as demand dictates. As with all of the 601 La Bomba Warhead releases, Warhead VII features its own artwork.
Interview with Hector Alfonso, Director of Operations, Espinosa Cigars
Note: Due to age restrictions, you might have to click on “Watch on YouTube” to play the video
- 601 Black Set to be Showcased at PCA 2021
- Espinosa Laranja Reserva Azulejo to Launch at PCA 2021
- Espinosa to Launch Las 6 Provincias Las Villas at 2021 PCA
- Espinosa Cigars Bringing Back Sensei’s Sensational Sarsaparilla as a National Release
- Espinosa Cigars to Launch 601 La Bomba Warhead VII at PCA 2021
Photo Credits: Erron Nielsen for Cigar Coop