In early April, Espinosa Cigars announced a new regular production cigar that is being rolled at the La Zona factory in Estelí, Nicaragua. Dubbed the Espinosa Especial, the blend for the new release features a Mexican Capa Negra wrapper covering binders and fillers that originate from the four main cigar growing regions of Nicaragua: Condega, Estelí, Jalapa and Ometepe.

“It’s a new line, a new blend, a new cigar, but it’s everything you have come to expect from Espinosa Cigars and La Zona,” owner Erik Espinosa said in a press release. “…it is an exceptional cigar, I just love the taste of this blend from the minute we created it.”

Although the cigars were originally scheduled to ship in April, the release was delayed for the first time until three weeks after the 2015 IPCPR Convention & Trade Show. However, at that time, the cigars were delayed again to give the cigars the optimum amount of time to age before shipping them to retailers. The new release was finally shipped yesterday.

There are three different violas in the Espinosa Especial, all of which are sold in boxes of 10:

  • Espinosa Especial No. 1 (6 1/2 x 48) — $8.75 (Boxes of 10, $87.50)
  • Espinosa Especial No. 4 (5 x 52) — $8.25 (Boxes of 10, $82.50)
  • Espinosa Especial No. 5 (6 x 54) — $8.95 (Boxes of 10, $89.50)

Espinosa Especial No. 4 1

  • Cigar Reviewed: Espinosa Especial No. 4
  • Country of Origin: Nicaragua
  • Factory: La Zona Cigar Factory
  • Wrapper: Mexican Capa Negra
  • Binder: Nicaragua
  • Filler: Nicaragua
  • Size: 5 Inches
  • Ring Gauge: 52
  • Vitola: Robusto
  • MSRP: $8.25 (Boxes of 10, $82.50)
  • Date Released: Sept. 15,  2015
  • Number of Cigars Released: Regular Production
  • Number of Cigars Smoked for Review: 3

Visually, the wrapper covering the Espinosa Especial is a dark, mocha brown featuring plenty of tooth, although no apparent oil and very few overt veins. There is the slightest hint of a box pressing, and the cigar is quite spongy when squeezed. Aroma from the wrapper is a combination of strong dark cocoa powder, leather, sweet cedar, manure and hay, while the cold draw brings flavors of aromatic oak, dank earth, grass, leather and dark chocolate, with a bit of spice on the tongue.

Starting out, the first third of the Espinosa Especial No. 4 features both black pepper and spice on my tongue, along with flavors of dank earth, pistachios, espresso beans, hay and oak. I am noticing a slight sweet milk chocolate fudge on the finish along with loads of smoke coming from the foot that does not seem to be slowing down anytime soon. Construction-wise, the burn is razor sharp so far, and while the draw is a bit more open than I would like, it is not bad enough to affect the profile. The overall strength easily hits a point close to medium by end of first third and only seems to be increasing from there.

Espinosa Especial No. 4 2

Both the pepper and spice on my tongue recede quite bit in the second third of the Espinosa Especial, while the black pepper on the retrohale and smoke production remains relatively steady. The main flavor shifts to a creamy nut and oak combination, with other notes of grass, leather, dark chocolate and espresso beans. The sweetness from the first third has morphed into more of a floral note, but is still far from being strong enough to really do more than notice. The draw is still very open, and while the burn has started to waver a bit, it is not bad enough to have to correct. Strength-wise, the Espinosa Especial hits the medium mark early on in the second third, and keeps rising, albeit at a slower pace, ending up just slightly above medium by the time the final third begins.

Espinosa Especial No. 4 3

Coming into the final third of the Espinosa Especial, and while the main flavors are still the same creamy oak, nuts, leather, espresso, cocoa and hay, the sweetness shifts again, this time reminding me strongly of vanilla. There is still quite a bit of black pepper on the retrohale, but the spice is almost totally gone, and the smoke production has calmed down as well. The construction continues along the same lines as well, with an open draw and a somewhat wavy burn line. The strength does hit a point halfway between medium and full, but stalls out there, and I put the nub down with a little less than an inch to go.

Espinosa Especial No. 4 4

Final Notes

  • Espinosa actually has two other recent releases that use Mexican wrappers: the Espinosa Maduro and the recently reintroduced Murcielago.
  • Two of the samples had very open draws after I cut the cap off normally. For the third sample, I cut just a touch off of the top of the cap, and was rewarded with an excellent draw.
  • I really love the color scheme of this release: the band combines dark gray, light bluish gray, white and a metallic copper around the edges while the foot ribbon is the same metallic copper color.
  • The ash on this release is extremely flaky, falling off with the slightest provocation in small chunks for the entire smoke.
  • You can find my coverage of the Espinosa booth at the 2015 Convention & Trade Show here.
  • The cigars smoked for this review were given to halfwheel by Espinosa Premium Cigars at the 2015 IPCPR Convention & Trade Show.
  • The final smoking time for all three samples averaged one hour and 10 minutes.

The Bottom line:

87 Overall Score

While I did not enjoy the Espinosa Especial more than the Laranja Reserva, it is a very good cigar in its own right. In fact, the flavors that are present are quite distinct and change often on both the palate and the retrohale, and the strength is nicely integrated. Having said that, I found myself wishing there was just a bit more sweetness in the blend, as I think it really would have taken the profile to the next level in complexity. In the end, this is easily one of Espinosa's better releases, and definitely one that I can recommend.

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Brooks Whittington

I have been smoking cigars for over eight years. A documentary wedding photographer by trade, I spent seven years as a photojournalist for the Dallas Morning News and the Fort Worth Star Telegram. I started the cigar blog SmokingStogie in 2008 after realizing that there was a need for a cigar blog with better photographs and more in-depth information about each release. SmokingStogie quickly became one of the more influential cigar blogs on the internet, known for reviewing preproduction, prerelease, rare, extremely hard-to-find and expensive cigars. I am a co-founder of halfwheel and now serve as an editor for halfwheel.