You should never judge a book by its cover.

Needless to say, when the most notable part of the cigar is that the cap is designed to look like dreadlocks on a person’s head, complexity is not really what comes to mind. That was the case with the Reggae Dread, a special size of a line formally introduced last year. There are three other Reggae sizes, though Dread is the only one with the unique cap. It also utilizes a different blend of tobaccos.

The notable part of the blend is in the filler: Jamaican tobacco joins Honduran and Nicaraguan leaves. Over that is a Nicaraguan binder and an Ecuadorian habano wrapper. All of that gets rolled into a 6 x 56 toro vitola that features the unique cap.

Here’s what I wrote in late December when I first smoked the cigar:

I’ll avoid the dread puns, I promise. While Espinosa makes some very good cigars, it’s not a company I think of for making extremely finessed cigars. I certainly didn’t think the gigantic cigar with its Rastafarian-inspired cap head was going to be a bastion of complexity, but you should never judge a book by its cover. This is a full-bodied, complex cigar that left me extremely impressed. Burn issues and the final third inevitably hurt the score, but make no mistake, this is a very good cigar.

  • Cigar Reviewed: Espinosa Reggae Dread
  • Country of Origin: Nicaragua
  • Factory: La Zona Cigar Factory
  • Wrapper: Ecuador (Habano)
  • Binder: Nicaragua
  • Filler: Honduras, Jamaica & Nicaragua
  • Length: 6 Inches
  • Ring Gauge: 56
  • Vitola: Toro Grande
  • MSRP: $12 (Boxes of 7, $84)
  • Release Date: July 2017
  • Number of Cigars Released: Regular Production
  • Number of Cigars Smoked For Redux: 1

While it hasn’t been that long since I’ve reviewed the Dread, it was on my short list for a redux as I wanted to see if some of the aforementioned issues could be avoided. Also, I really just wanted to smoke another one and a redux is a great excuse. There’s not a ton of aroma off the uncellophaned wrapper, but I do pick up some leather. Of note, there’s quite a bit of oil on the wrapper. Aroma from the foot has a lot of floral flavors, some cedars and oak. The cold draw is similar, but a melon flavor sits on top of the trio of similarity from the foot.

The cold draw was super smooth and that continues as the initial smoke hits my palate. Flavor-wise, the Dread starts with some earthiness, oak and a lot of pistachios. After a few puffs, a creaminess begins building, sitting over top of some lemon, breads and a familiar cedar. If I push the cigar, the Dread will provide a bit of pepper, but it’s largely just harshness. Construction is impeccable through the first third. By the midway point, the cigar has picked up to full in flavor, though the body remains medium-full and the strength is medium-plus.

Flavor-wise, the creaminess continues to be the lead in the second third, now featuring some heavier buttermilk through the nose. A bright citrus melody led by oranges and lemons bounces between the mouth and the nose. Cedar plays a bigger role and transitions from the mouth into the finish. After the midway point, a big paprika flavor emerges on the finish, something I didn’t see coming. The final third sees the flavor drop down to medium-full. The defining flavor of the closing parts of the Dread is a dominant peanut flavor. Unfortunately, that doesn’t help my one real complaint with the Dread: my mouth is really dry and continuing to get drier.

90 Overall Score

The Reggae Dread might have a funky name, a weird cap and a band that says anything but “complex,” but this is a very good cigar. It’s full, relatively sweet and by the end of the cigar, has packed a bit of a punch. While the final third remains my least favorite of the bunch, it’s not the drop off I found in my original review. In addition, the construction issues were limited to just one touch-up over the entire cigar. It’s certainly easy to judge a book by its cover, but the Dread is one of the best cigars Espinosa is selling today and one that I would gladly smoke again and again.

Original Score (December 2017)
Redux Score (August 2018)
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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.