Following up on a Facebook post he made last week, Steven Ysidron of Epicurean Cigars told halfwheel that a cedar shortage in Estelí, Nicaragua has temporarily delayed the release of his new Gonzo Santeria line, which had been originally scheduled for a November 1 launch.

Ysidron estimates that boxes for the Santeria project should be ready next week, with packing and shipping to begin shortly after they arrive. He wasn’t able to guarantee that the line would be in stores before the end of the year, however.

While it is based on the existing Epicurean Gonzo, the Epicurean Gonzo Santeria adds a good bit of strength that Ysidron acknowledges won’t be for everyone. A vintage Mexican San Andrés wrapper is used for the Gonzo Santeria, with a pair of additional ligero leaves and a double binder of Nicaraguan Jalapa and Mexican San Andrés leaves sitting underneath, along with filler from Nicaragua’s Jalapa and Condega regions.

The Gonzo Santeria does share a production facility with its predecessor, as both are coming out of the Plasencia factory in Nicaragua. It will be available in two sizes, the 6 x 60 Justus and a 6 x 52 Toro, both packed in 50-count cabinets made especially for brick and mortar shops. Ysdiron hoped to be able to produce 150 boxes of each size, though acknowledged that until all the cigars were rolled and shipped, he wouldn’t know if tobacco supply and quality control process would yield that amount.  The Gonzo Santeria is anticipated to be between $10.50 and $11.50 per cigar.

Ysidron also mentioned that the final 100 boxes of the 2007 vintages of the Epicurean Armando Gutierrez and Gonzo will be shipped at the same time as the Santeria. “This last batch will be a touch stronger since they were rolled at a much later date with the 2007 tobacco,” Ysdiron said.

Production has begun on the 2009 vintages of both lines, as well as on a new line called Carnaval. Ysidron didn’t mention specifics about the new line, other than to say that the blend includes Nicaraguan, Brazilan and Honduran tobaccos.

Overall Score

Avatar photo

Patrick Lagreid

I strive to capture the essence of a cigar and the people behind them in my work – every cigar you light up is the culmination of the work of countless people and often represents generations of struggle and stories. For me, it’s about so much more than the cigar – it’s about the story behind it, the experience of enjoying the work of artisans and the way that a good cigar can bring people together. In addition to my work with halfwheel, I’m the public address announcer for the Colorado Rockies and Arizona Diamondbacks during spring training, as well as for the Salt River Rafters of the Arizona Fall League, the WNBA's Phoenix Mercury and the Arizona Rattlers of the Indoor Football League. I also work in a number of roles for, plus I'm a voice over artist. I previously covered the Phoenix and national cigar scene for, and was an editor for Cigar Snob magazine.