If there’s one line in the Espinosa Premium Cigars portfolio I find myself gravitating towards, it’s Laranja. Released in 2014, the line gets its Portuguese name from the fact that it uses a Brazilian-grown wrapper, with the word laranja meaning orange, a nod to the shade of the leaf.
Since its debut, the line has grown to include a number of regular production sizes as well as some store exclusives, including this cigar, the Baixo, produced for Thompson Cigar Co. and released in January 2017. It’s a 5 1/2 x 50 box-pressed robusto that joined the line as a regular production offering, albeit limited to the one retailer.
The Laranja was a bit of a departure for Espinosa, both for its presentation and the use of a relatively unheard of varietal of Brazilian leaf.
“We had started working with this orange Brazilian Laranja wrapper last year and we are very excited with the end result,” said Erik Espinosa at the 2014 IPCPR Convention & Trade Show. “I have always liked the color orange and the positive energy associated with that color. It is the color of enthusiasm, creativity, determination and success, that’s what we are all about here.”
Here’s what I said about the Laranja Reserva Baixo when I reviewed it in March 2017:
If there’s one thing that I really like about the Laranja Reserva blend, it’s that I find it to be different from the majority of what’s on the market these days. While Brazilian tobacco isn’t exclusive to this cigar, it’s rare enough that it stands out, much in the way I find good Cameroon does. Its distinctive blend of sweet and spicy guides the cigar while still providing enough of an opening for the Nicaraguan fillers to contribute to the blend. I can’t say that the Baixo is the best size in the line—and I readily admit I don’t have a favorite size in this blend—but I can say that this is as good as any I’ve tried.
- Cigar Reviewed: Laranja Reserva Baixo
- Country of Origin: Nicaragua
- Factory: La Zona Cigar Factory
- Wrapper: Brazil
- Binder: Nicaragua
- Filler: Nicaragua
- Length: 5 1/2 Inches
- Ring Gauge: 50
- Vitola: Robusto
- MSRP: $11 (Boxes of 10, $110)
- Release Date: Jan. 12, 2017
- Number of Cigars Released: Regular Production
- Number of Cigars Smoked For Redux: 1
The cigar is still as orange as I remember it to be, with the ribbon foot band and two paper bands offering plenty of the color, and while the wrapper doesn’t have an explicitly orange color, its hue definitely leans that way. The cigar still has a good press to it, turning its otherwise cylindrical shape more towards that of an oval, as the sides show plenty of curve. It’s also a bit firmer than most pressed cigars, showing little in the way of give in any direction. The roll is clean, the cap is applied well and just a few small veins criss-cross the wrapper. The foot is a bit on the fruity and floral side, light with the aromatics and getting just a touch of body from some bread notes. The cold draw is smooth and easy, showing a bit of orange jam with a very faint hint of red chili pepper.
There’s a bit of pepper to the start of the Laranja Reserva Baixo, but I find myself a bit surprised by its relatively pedestrian first inch. There’s sufficiently more in the nose, with retrohales refined, hearty and punchy and by far the most vivid aspect of the cigar. With the first clump of ash departing at just over an inch, the flavor begins to wake up and get to work on my tongue, offering a bit of cedar, pepper and a thicker, doughier texture as each puff fills the mouth with smoke. It’s more a delayed start from what the cigar offered a year ago, but once it gets going, the development happens fairly rapidly in the first half, picking up some citrus sweetness near the midpoint, though the overall impression is much milder than I recall. Technical performance is flawless, with great combustion and smoke production, as well as a very even burn line.
The citrus carries the cigar into its second half, though it quickly finds itself competing with black pepper in a battle of main versus accent flavors. A big, hearty and fairly dry wood component appears almost out of nowhere at the start of the final third, shifting the profile and drying out the mouth, while also delivering just the slightest bit of char to the mix. Thinking back on the first puffs it’s a truly night-and-day difference, though I think my allegiance lies somewhere in between the two points, and more specifically, to where the cigar was a year ago. A bit of the tangy orange sauce I recall from the cigar reappears at the point where the bands would be sitting, yet it can’t glaze over the cigar’s rougher spots as the cigar continues to fire on all its cylinders in terms of strength, mouth feel, and flavor. It closes out on a very full flavored note, rich with char and a bit of stinging pepper, but not before it gets smoked down to under an inch with a final time of about one hour and 47 minutes.
I’m not ready to make the proclamation that time hasn’t been good to this cigar, I’m just not sure it’s been beneficial. The first third is remarkably mild and uneventful, before the back half of the second third and final third get quite busy in an attempt to catch up and show what the cigar has to offer. Put both a fresh Laranja Reserva Baixo and one with a year of age on it in front of me and I’ll pick the former, but I certainly wouldn’t turn down the latter.