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Ezra Zion SP3 Churchill (Prerelease)

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Last week, Lone Star State Cigar Co. announced that it will would be the home for the new Ezra Zion SP3.

The SP3 will be available in three vitolas with the blend consisting of a dark corojo wrapper covering a variety of Nicaraguan fillers. The name SP3 is being used in homage to Stephen Parker III, the son of Lone Star State Cigar Co.’s owner, Steve Parker. Two launch events are scheduled for this week, one tomorrow at the store’s Allen, Texas location and the other on Friday at its Plano store.

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“We hit up the Ezra Zion boys to do something special for our shops,” said the elder Parker in a press release. “I told them the profile we wanted and what our customers were purchasing most from their blends, and they hit it out of the park for us.”

This is the first single store exclusive made under the Ezra Zion name and it’s also the company’s most affordable line to date. TheSP3 Corona (6 x 46) retails for $6.50, while the Robusto (5 x 50) is $6.75 and the Churchill (7 x 48) is $7. Each size is sold in 24-count boxes.

Ezra Zion SP3 Churchill 1

  • Cigar Reviewed: Ezra Zion SP3 Churchill
  • Country of Origin: n/a
  • Factory: n/a
  • Wrapper: Nicaraguan Corojo
  • Binder: Nicaragua
  • Filler: Nicaragua
  • Size: 7 Inches
  • Ring Gauge: 48
  • Vitola: Churchill
  • MSRP: $7 (Boxes of 24, $168)
  • Release Date: September 4, 2014
  • Number of Cigars to be Released: n/a
  • Number of Cigars Smoked for Review: 3

Outwardly, the Ezra Zion SP3 is a gorgeous cigar covered in a dark mocha brown wrapper that is silky smooth to the touch and almost slimy due to the amount of oil. The cigar is noticeably box-pressed, although it is a soft box-press and has quite a bit of give when squeezed. Aroma from the wrapper is a combination of sweet cedar, leather, earth, barnyard and manure, while the cold draw brings flavors of aged oak and sweet nutmeg.

The Ezra Zion SP3 lights up easily, and flavors of sweet leather and oak are dominant, along with earth, espresso and barnyard. There is an obvious spice that makes my tongue tingle evident for the first few puffs, but that dies down fairly quickly. I am getting a very interesting peppermint-like flavor through the retrohale every once in a while, almost like the flavor of when you eat a York Peppermint Patty, which is the first thought I had when I first noticed it. The burn is excellent so far, as is the draw, but the ash does not stay on the foot very long, falling in half-inch chunks as the cigar burns down. I can feel the overall strength building almost from the first puff, and it easily hits the medium point by the end of the first third, and I can tell it is only going to get stronger from there.

Ezra Zion SP3 Churchill 2

Coming into the second third of the SP3, the peppermint note is becoming more and more dominant in the profile, combining with the sweet leather flavor and really making me sit up and take notice. Other notes of earth, oak, dark chocolate, hay and slight nuts flit in and out, and while the spice on the tongue from the first third is still present, it has died down quite a bit. Construction-wise, both the burn and draw are still wonderful, but the ash is not holding on any longer, and its still falling quite quickly. The strength is easily at a halfway point between medium and full and is still getting stronger, albeit at a slower pace than before.

Ezra Zion SP3 Churchill 3

The final third of the Ezra Zion is much the same as the second third, although the peppermint note on the retrohale has died down noticeably by the time the cigar ends. A slight black pepper note starts to invade the retrohale, combining with other flavors of leather, earth, grass, coffee and peanuts nicely. The burn is starting to zig-zag a bit, but nothing major and thankfully the draw continues to impress. The strength did not increase as much or as quickly as I expected, and when I put the cigar down with a little more than an inch left, it is still in that grey area between medium and full.

Ezra Zion SP3 Churchill 4

Final Notes

  • I have not tasted mint in many cigars over the years, in fact, the last one I remember is the Tatuaje Boris. That being said, when I do find it, I generally enjoy it.
  • The ash is not overly flaky, but still falls every half inch or so like clockwork, so don’t smoke it over a computer or iPad.
  • Chris Kelly and Kyle Hoover, the duo behind Ezra Zion, have released two other cigars this year not sold at retailers nationally—The Collective and Blessed Leaf.
  • Considering the prices for the rest of Ezra Zion’s releases, I am impressed with the SP3. Having said that, the ever present cynic in me wonders what they had to do to get the price to the point they did. I imagine the undisclosed factory might be part of the equation.
  • The band is understated—which is saying a lot, considering this is Texas and it has a big-ass star on it—and works well with the point of the release. Both Ezra Zion and Lone Star State Cigar Co. is based in the Dallas area.
  • Parker told halfwheel that they are so impressed with the blend that they are already working on two new vitolas: a super churchill and a toro.
  • Having said the above, I do find it interesting that the name of the cigar is nowhere on the bands.
  • The box-press is really well done and I love how it feels in my mouth when I am smoking it.
  • Samples smoked for this review were given to halfwheel by Lone Star State Cigar Co./Ezra Zion. Ezra Zion previously advertised on halfwheel.
  • The final smoking time for all three samples I smoked averaged just under one hour and 35 minutes.
89 Overall Score

I have to say, the peppermint note that is prevalent on the retrohale for most of the Ezra Zion SP3 is quite unique, and also quite enjoyable. Having said that, the rest of the flavors in the profile are nothing overtly unique, although they are well-balanced with the straight that is present. The fact that the ash falls as quickly as it does is mildly annoying, but the construction is good overall and the extremely affordable price, especially when compared to the rest of the Ezra Zions, is just the icing on the cake. This is an extremely approachable blend that just about anyone can find something to like about, and some people will like quite a bit.

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Brooks Whittington
About the author

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.

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