Last year marked a milestone year for Espinosa Cigars. It would mark the ten-year-anniversary of both the company and its factory, La Zona. In 2012, following the dissolution of EO brands with his partner Eddie Ortega, Erik Espinosa would launch his own premium cigar company, Espinosa Premium Cigars. That same year, Espinosa would open the La Zona factory. To commemorate the occasions, the company would release two different limited edition anniversary cigars. Both cigars were launched at the 2022 Premium Cigar Association Trade Show. The first was the Espinosa 10 Years Anniversary to mark the tenth anniversary for Espinosa cigars. The second would be the La Zona 10 Year Anniversary. Our focus today will be on the Espinosa 10 Year Anniversary.
Many companies have anniversary cigars and Espinosa is no exception. The first was the Erik Espinosa 20th Anniversary cigar that was released back in 2018. The Erik Espinosa 20th Anniversary celebrated 20 years of Erik Espinosa himself in the cigar business. This includes his time at Espinosa, EO Brands, and as a sales representative.
Without further ado, let’s turn our attention to the Espinosa 10 Years Anniversary and break down the cigar:
Blend and Origin
It’s no secret from talking to Erik Espinosa and seeing the cigars his company releases – Erik Espinosa loves Habano. Therefore, it is totally appropriate that the Espinosa 10 Years Anniversary features a Habano wrapper. in this case, the wrapper is a special Hybrid Habano wrapper grown in Nicaragua. While the cigar was blended by Hector Alfonso and the Espinosa team, the cigar was produced at A.J Fernandez’s San Lotano factory in Ocotal, Nicaragua. As Espinosa Cigars grew, eventually the capacity of La Zona was outgrown. In 2016, the company announced it was moving production of several lines to Fernandez’s San Lotano factory to help meet demand.
Wrapper: Nicaraguan Hybrid Habano
Country of Origin: Nicaragua
Factory: San Lotano
The Espinosa 10 Years Anniversary is offered in one size – a 6 x 52 Toro. A total of 1,500 20-count boxes have been produced.
Not only is Espinosa Cigars known for Habano wrapper, but Habano Rosado is the selection that I would say the company is best known for. The Hybrid Habano wrapper on the Espinosa 10 Years Anniversary had a classic rosado tint mixed in with a medium brown color. The wrapper was slightly toothy and there was a slight amount of mottling on the wrapper. There also were some light oils that were present on the wrapper. The surface of the wrapper had some visible veins and some visible wrapper seams.
A straight cut was used to commence the cigar experience of the Espinosa 10 Years Anniversary. Once the cap was removed, it was on to the pre-light draw. The cold draw was straightforward as it delivered notes of natural tobacco and earth. The natural tobacco flavor had both sweet and bitter components (the bitter is not a negative here and works in favor of this pre-light draw). Overall this was a satisfactory pre-light draw. At this point, it was time to toast up the Espinosa 10 Years Anniversary and see what the smoking phase would deliver.
The Espinosa 10 Years Anniversary started out with notes of natural tobacco, cedar, earth, and black pepper. The natural tobacco and earth notes moved to the forefront early on. The cedar and pepper notes settled in the background. Like the pre-light draw, the natural tobacco had both sweet and bitter components and it worked nicely in the flavor profile. Meanwhile, on the retro-hale, there were additional layers of black pepper and earth.
As the Espinosa 10 Years Anniversary moved into the second third, the natural tobacco and earth notes remained in the forefront. During this phase, the natural tobacco and earth alternated in intensity as to which had the edge. The cedar and pepper notes also increased in intensity, but the pepper notes increased at a greater rate.
The final third saw the natural tobacco and earth remain in the forefront. The difference was the natural tobacco component became more skewed toward the bitter side and much of the sweetness dissipated. The pepper and cedar remained in the background, but unfortunately, this had more of a harsh effect on the flavor profile. This is the year the Espinosa 10 Years Anniversary came to a close. The resulting nub was soft to the touch and cool in temperature.
Overall the burn of the Espinosa 10 Years Anniversary performed quite well. This was a cigar that had a slight amount of jaggedness, but it is not one that needed a lot of touch-ups to keep a straight burn path. The resulting ash was nearly white in color. This was an ash that was on the firm side and came off the cigar in clean chunks. The burn rate and burn temperature were both ideal.
The draw of the Espinosa 10 Years Anniversary was on the open side. Normally I prefer a little more in the way of some resistance on a draw, but in the end, there were no adverse effects on the combustion and overall cigar experience.
Strength and Body
The Espinosa 10 Years Anniversary came out of the gate medium to full in both strength and body. There was a slight increase in intensity of both attributes along the way, but both the strength and body remained in the medium to full range throughout the smoking experience. In terms of strength versus body, the body maintained a slight edge throughout the smoking experience.
BANDING AND PACKAGING NOTES
Espinosa Cigars did a great job with both the banding and packaging of the Espinosa 10 Years Anniversary cigar. The band uses the design that is now found on the Espinosa core line (Habano, Crema, and Especial), but with a color scheme that has gold, red, and neutral colors. The presentation in the box is equally impressive with a short writeup paying homage to Erik Espinosa and the anniversary milestone.
One thing that really stood out for me is how this cigar delivered the signature Espinosa “bite” – namely how the spices from the cigar layered over the flavors. For the first two-thirds, these flavors were satisfying, but the last third took a turn with bitterness and harshness delivered. This cigar still scores a very respectable 88, and given the $13.00 price point, I’m inclined to recommend trying a sample. It should be noted here that Ben Lee on the Smoking Syndicate scored this cigar and it gave it a score of 92. This is also a cigar that was rated much higher by the other Cigar Coop Coalition members than me. In the end, while this cigar didn’t wow me, it clearly wowed others and in the end, you should make your own judgment.
The Smoking Syndicate Review
Ben Lee reviewed this cigar on The Smoking Syndicate and scored this cigar a 92.
Key Flavors: Natural Tobacco, Earth, Cedar, Pepper
Draw: Very Good
Complexity: Medium Minus
Strength: Medium To Full
Body: Medium To Full
Value: Try a Sample
News: Espinosa 10th Anniversary and La Zona 10th Anniversary Cigars Launching at PCA 2022
Brand Reference: Espinosa
Photo/Video Credits: Cigar Coop/The Smoking Syndicate