Last year Espinosa Premium Cigars introduced a limited edition 601 La Bomba called the Warhead. This year, they brought it back with the same general blend and in a different size (5 1/2 x 56) and called it the Warhead II. The idea behind these limited edition cigars is based in the World War II era, so the packaging is reminiscent of the bombs used and aircraft artwork that was popular at the time.
The packaging did get a slight update, with a silver box and a gray camouflage design on the bomb shaped logo and band.
- Cigar Reviewed: 601 La Bomba Warhead II
- Country of Origin: Nicaragua
- Factory: La Zona Cigar Factory
- Wrapper: Connecticut Broadleaf Maduro
- Binder: Nicaragua
- Filler: Nicaragua
- Size: 5 1/2 Inches
- Ring Gauge: 56
- Vitola: Robusto Grande
- MSRP: $10.50 (Boxes of 10, $105.00)
- Date Released: July 29, 2014
- Number of Cigars Released: 2,000 Boxes of 10 Cigars (20,000 Total Cigars)
- Number of Cigars Smoked For Review: 2
The wrapper is a mix of medium and dark brown colors, nicely wrapped and capped off with a “fuse” that was glued about a third of the way down the cigar. Since it’s stretched tightly over the binder, the wrapper has a bumpy look to it, though it actually has a fairly smooth and oily feel. The aroma off the wrapper has a strong barnyard smell while the cold draw consists of cocoa, sweet tobacco and a bright and strong pepper note that settles quickly onto my lips and tongue.
Just like the cold draw, the first third of the Warhead II starts off with a big white pepper note that coats my lips and tongue with a permeating bite. The open draw provides clouds of peppery smoke that envelope my head with swirls of smoke tantalizing my nose with hints of cocoa, cedar and caramelized sugar. Parts of the burn line are a little overeager, spiking ahead of the rest of the slightly uneven burn. The gray and white ash is a little loose and flaky in the first inch, though nothing falls off until I roll it off in the ash tray. After about an inch and a half the white pepper has stopped coating my entire mouth and instead sets up shop the back of my tongue as a seemingly permanent resident. I hate to call the cigar monotone in flavor, because it’s anything but that, however the pepper is just so in your face strong it’s hard to discern much else.
Plowing into the second third the pepper hasn’t let up, though other flavors have gotten stronger. More cocoa, sweet rich tobacco and roasted nuts join the fray, all fighting for position at the front. The burn has evened up significantly, though still not perfect, and the ash is more dense-looking, much less like it is about to fall off in pieces. The strength of the La Bomba has long ago showed its hand, already at a medium full and continuing to grow. While the strength isn’t letting up, it seems the flavors have, with all the flavors taking it down a notch, including the pepper.
The final third continues the mellow theme in terms of flavors. Pepper, sweet tobacco, cocoa and roasted nuts are still detectable, though at much more mild levels. The strength however is still quite impressive, already at full levels with still an inch and a half left. The burn has evened out much more in the final third and the ash is still nice and firm, holding easily over an inch. There’s a slight harshness, almost a bit of a sour note, while not completely unpleasant does add an interesting overlay on the rest of the flavors. Despite that, the cigar does smoke cool and mostly smooth all the way to the last bit.
- Erik Espinosa noted in the press release that “the Warhead II will have the same strength and flavor profile as the original, the blend was tweaked a bit due to the scarcity of tobacco used in this special release.”
- At the last two IPCPR trade shows, the Espinosa Premium Cigars booth had something related to the Warhead release for active military or veterans to sign to take back to the office. For the initial 2013 release it was a decommissioned bomb that was reminiscent of the logo and this year it was a foot locker painted in olive drab with yellow stenciled lettering.
- Unfortunately, because this is the IPCPR convention and trade show, someone stole the original warhead at last year’s trade show.
- The “fuse” on the cigar I photographed was glued down well and box pressed right into the side of the cigar, staying there the entire time I smoked the sample. The other sample I smoked the “fuse” was barely glued down and came right off when I clipped the cap off the cigar. Not that this had anything to do with the burn or the flavor of the cigar, but I kind of enjoyed having the tail of the “fuse” remain on the first sample.
- Naming cigars after bombs is nothing new. Viaje has a whole series dedicated to it.
- This is a cigar I would make sure to have eaten a meal before smoking.
- The samples for this review were provided to halfwheel by Espinosa Premium Cigars at IPCPR 2014.
- Final smoking time averaged right about an hour and 45 minutes.
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The Warhead II managed to live up to the theme of the La Bomba line, being that proverbial “pepper bomb” that people usually describe strong, in-your-face Nicaraguan blends as. The burn line was not the best, requiring a number of touch ups throughout the cigar, but none were severe enough that they affected the flavors. However, the profile of the Warhead II was nice, putting forward a flavorful and intense white pepper note combined with some other delectable notes that complimented the pepper well. While not everybody enjoys really strong and bold cigars, there are plenty of cigar smokers who do. I think those in the latter group will find that this 601 provides the punch they’re looking for with enough finesse and depth to not be boring or one dimensional.