Last year, Espinosa Premium Cigars surprised quite a few people with some of the most ambitious packaging I’ve seen in quite some time. The cigar was the Las 6 Provincias LHB, the first in the Las 6 Provincias Series, but it was the packaging that had people talking.

The name refers to the original six provinces of Cuba and the packaging is inspired by some of the island’s culture, with Cuban artist Edin Gutierrez creating the imagery. The LHB was packaged in a rectangular box that was attached to two mounts allowing it to swing, as well as being released in a more traditional 10-count box.

Given that this is a series, I was curious to see what Espinosa would do for the presumed 2019 release, and the company didn’t disappoint.

The cigar pays tribute to Matanzas, a region east of Havana, and carries the MTZ designation. It is a 6 x 52 box-pressed toro that uses a Nicaraguan habano 2000 wrapper over a Nicaraguan binder and fillers from the Condega, Estelí and Jalapa regions of Nicaragua.

As for the packaging, it’s made to mimic a house window with hand-painted artwork on top designed to look like stained glass. The box opens up to display 20 cigars, but also additional artwork inside the shutters.

  • Las 6 Provincias LHB (6 x 54) — 2018— Regular Production
  • Las 6 Provincias MTZ (6 x 52) — 2019 — 1,000 Boxes of 10 Cigars & 500 Boxes of 20 Cigars (20,000 Total Cigars)

Like last year, the cigar is also offered in more traditional 10-count boxes. Regardless of the packaging, the cigar is $16.50.

  • Cigar Reviewed: Espinosa Las 6 Provincias MTZ
  • Country of Origin: Nicaragua
  • Factory: La Zona Cigar Factory
  • Wrapper: Nicaragua (Habano 2000)
  • Binder: Nicaragua
  • Filler: Nicaragua (Condega, Esteli & Jalapa)
  • Length: 6 Inches
  • Ring Gauge: 52
  • Vitola: Toro Extra
  • MSRP: $16.50 (Box of 20, $330)
  • Release Date: July 2019
  • Number of Cigars Released: 1,000 Boxes of 10 Cigars & 500 Boxes of 20 Cigars (20,000 Total Cigars)
  • Number of Cigars Smoked For Review: 3

Given all that is going on with the band, it’s a bit challenging to focus on the wrapper of the MTZ, which is a bit lighter than it looks in pictures. Aroma from the wrapper is a sweet milk chocolate with some lavender and a bit of red pepper, around medium-full. The foot is much more pronounced with chocolate, oak, thick vanilla and a flavor that reminds me of bad coffee that has been over sweetened with sugar, though it’s a full profile that seems fine for a cigar. The cold draw has some chocolate along with orange and lemon. It’s medium-full and rather compact.

The Las 6 Provincias MTZ begins with some woodiness over earthiness, creaminess, black pepper and an underlying sweetness. It’s mild at first, but within a few puffs the medium-full profile comes to life. The first third is toasty with some blanched peanuts, a fruitiness I cannot figure out, plain udon noodles and an earthiness that I also struggle to place entirely. Retrohales can be a bit metallic at times with creaminess, peanuts and no real spice. Flavor is medium-full, body is medium-full and strength is medium-plus.

Hickory, earthiness and dark cocoa take over the profile of the Las 6 Provincias in the middle portions. Retrohales have some corn tortillas, blueberries and a generic bread flavor. It is a lot less sweet, but much more defined. The finish is creamier with toastiness, minerals and lots of red pepper down my throat, particularly after I take a retrohale. Flavor is medium-full though a bit lighter than the first third, while body and strength are medium-plus. Construction remains great.

The Espinosa gets much crisper in the final third. The earthiness flavor that sat underneath the main flavors for the first two thirds seems to now be more of a toastiness. The main flavor is now a mixture of peanuts, some citrus underneath and espresso. Retrohales are much spicier with both spices and a fair amount of white pepper. The finish still has some fruitiness, at times kind of like an unripe tomato, along with some starchiness. Flavor, strength and body are now all medium-full.

Final Notes

  • One interesting trivia fact about Matanzas is that its the province that now includes the Bay of Pigs, the site of the failed 1961 CIA-sponsored invasion. At the time though, the Bay of Pigs was part of Las Villas Province, but in 1971 Cuba reassigned its provinces and expanded the number from six to 14.
  • The original six Cuban provinces were established in 1879 by the Spanish colonial government.
  • As for the remaining four provinces, those are Pinar del Río, Las Villas, Camagüey and Oriente. Those final three also have alternate names, as Las Villas was known as Santa Clara prior to 1940; Camagüey was known as Puerto Principe prior to 1899; and Oriente was called Santiago de Cuba until 1905.
  • There are now 15 provinces of Cuba, as well as Isla de Juventud, which is referred to as a special municipality. Those were approved in Aug. 2010 and became official as of Jan. 1, 2011.
  • The packaging for this series continues to be excellent. Last year’s release finished tied for second and it wouldn’t surprise me if the MTZ does similar. I particularly like the detail on the shudders.
  • That being said, like last year the packaging is fragile. Here’s what Brooks Whittington had to say about it: When I opened up the exterior packaging to photograph the box and cigars, the first thing I noticed was that one of the “handles” that are used to open up the doors to reveal the cigars had broken off in transit.  The box itself is obviously fragile and needs special care when being held and moved in order to prevent more damage.

  • One sample has a very bizarre burn pattern. I didn’t actually touch this up, but part of the wrapper wouldn’t burn at the same pace as the rest of it so it very much looks like I had to perform a touch-up.

  • Cigars for this review were purchased by halfwheel.
  • On all three samples I found myself smoking a lot slower than I expected. The final smoking time ended up being nearly two hours and 30 minutes.
  • Site sponsors Atlantic Cigar Co., Corona Cigar Co. and Famous Smoke Shop carry the Las 6 Provincias MTZ.
89 Overall Score

Start to finish the 2019 version of Las 6 Provincias is a solid cigar, a much better experience than the one I had last year. But the price is an issue. I can understand the $16.50 price point for the special boxes—and whether you have any interest in paying more for better packaging is a personal decision—but I cannot imagine just buying a five-pack of these for $80+ and thinking that it was the best use of my money. The MTZ provides a solid smoking experience, but I'm hard-pressed to explain why these $16.50 cigars are unique compared to the rest of the Espinosa portfolio.

Charlie Minato

I am an editor and co-founder of Media, LLC. I previously co-founded and published TheCigarFeed, one of the two predecessors of halfwheel. I handle the editing of our written content, the majority of the technical aspects of the site and work with the rest of our staff on content management, business development and more. I’ve lived in most corners of the country and now entering my second stint in Dallas, Texas. I enjoy boxing, headphones, the Le Mans 24-hour, wearing sweatshirts year-round and gyros. echte liebe.