In 2014, Espinosa Premium Cigars showed off a brand new cigar called the Laranja Reserva, featuring the former word that translates to orange from Portuguese. According to comments made by owner Erik Espinosa at the time, that name was used due to the orange tint the Brazilian wrapper features. While it debuted with only three vitolas, the line now includes close to 10 different sizes, including a few exclusive releases like the Baixo made for Thompson Cigar Co. in 2017.

Fast forward to April of this year, when the company shipped a brand new incarnation of the blend incorporating a darker Brazilian mata fina wrapper covering Nicaraguan tobaccos in both the binder and filler. The Escuro versions are all box-pressed instead of round and are being sold in boxes of 10 instead of boxes of 20. In addition, while the first blend is rolled at  La Zona Cigar Factory in Estelí, Nicaragua, the new line is being produced at the San Lotano Factory in Ocotal, Nicaragua.

“We teased the Escuro at our annual La Zona Palooza event this past November 2018,” said Erik Espinosa in a press release. “I was just overwhelmed with how well it was received and how the people raved about it. I couldn’t wait for the IPCPR, I had to get it out to our retailers as soon as I could.”

The Laranja Reserva Escuro line debuted in three vitolas:

  • Laranja Reserva Escuro Corona Gorda (6 x 46) — $10 (Box of 10, $100)
  • Laranja Reserva Escuro Robusto Grande (5 1/2 x 56) — $10.50 (Box of 10, $105)
  • Laranja Reserva Escuro Toro (6 x 52) — $11 (Box of 10, $110)

  • Cigar Reviewed: Laranja Reserva Escuro Corona Gorda
  • Country of Origin: Nicaragua
  • Factory: San Lotano Factory
  • Wrapper: Brazil (Mata Fina)
  • Binder: Nicaragua
  • Filler: Nicaragua
  • Length: 6 Inches
  • Ring Gauge: 46
  • Vitola: Corona Gorda
  • MSRP: $10 (Box of 10, $100)
  • Release Date: April 10, 2019
  • Number of Cigars Released: Regular Production
  • Number of Cigars Smoked For Review: 3

While the wrapper of the original Laranja Reserva does have a noticeable orange tint to my eye, that is definitely not the case with the leaf covering the Laranja Reserva Escuro. In fact, it is extremely dark and silky smooth to the touch with quite a bit of oil but almost no overt veins to speak of. As mentioned above, the box-press is significant without coming close to what I would consider sharp, and the cigar is nicely spongy when squeezed. Aroma from the wrapper is a combination of pine nuts, hay, leather, manure, earth and honey sweetness while the cold draw brings flavors of barbecue mesquite, gritty earth, freshly roasted espresso beans and almonds along with some noticeable black pepper and honey sweetness.

Starting out the first third, the Laranja Reserva Escuro Corona Gorda features an extremely distinct and obvious mesquite flavor on the palate, along with flavors of coffee beans, cocoa nibs, hay, popcorn, leather and slight almonds. There is some aggressive black pepper on the retrohale as well as a significant spice on my tongue—neither of which do not show any signs of dissipating anytime soon—but I am also tasting a bit of maple syrup sweetness that seems to be slowly increasing in strength as the first third burns down. Both the burn and the draw are excellent so far, with neither giving me whatsoever, while the smoke production is well above average as it pours off of the foot. Strength-wise, the Laranja Reserva Escuro Corona Gorda starts out a bit lighter than expected, but ramps up enough to hit a point close to medium as the first third comes to an end.

Around the time that the second third of the Laranja Reserva Escuro begins, the maple syrup sweetness from the first third increases enough to be a force in the profile, albeit not near strong enough to come close to knocking off the still dominant flavor of mesquite wood mixed with coffee beans. Lesser flavors of bread, gritty earth, hay, leather, bread and slight floral bring up the rear while both the black pepper on the retrohale and spice on my tongue have receded a bit. Construction-wise, both the burn and the draw continue to impress, while the smoke production continues at above-average rates. Once again, the overall strength increases noticeably by the end of the second third, ending up just above the medium mark and still slowing increasing.

Sadly, the maple syrup sweetness that really helped the complexity of the middle third falls off of a cliff during the final third of the Laranja Reserva Escuro, replaced by a combination of creamy oak and leather that wrest the dominant spot away from the familiar mesquite note, although the latter is still quite evident in the profile. Those are followed closely by notes of steak, anise, hay, almonds, espresso beans, gritty earth and a touch of salt along with a reduction in the amount of black pepper on the retrohale and spice on my tongue, the latter of which as virtually disappeared. The overall construction continues to give me no issues whatsoever in terms of either the draw or the burn, but the smoke production diminishes somewhat right at the end and the strength reaches a point just close to the middle between medium and full by the time I put the nub down a bit more than an inch to go.

Final Notes

  • If you are asking yourself why a Portuguese word was chosen for the name of the cigar, the reason is quite simple: Portuguese happens to be the language used in Brazil, where the wrappers for both releases were grown.
  • Although not nearly as aggressive on the palate, the dominant mesquite flavor combined with the spice in the first two thirds reminded me a bit of Drew Estate’s Kentucky Fire Cured.
  • The three samples I smoked of this cigar featured some of the best construction I have seen in a while, with only one cigar needing to be touched up, albeit two times each in both the second and final thirds.
  • The cigars smoked for this review were purchased by halfwheel.
  • Final smoking time for all three samples averaged a relatively quick one hour and 18 minutes.
  • Site sponsors Atlantic Cigar, Cigar Hustler and Famous Smoke Shop all have the Laranja Reserva Escuro Corona Gorda in stock.
88 Overall Score

Just about every vitola of the original Laranja line has scored extremely well on this site for one main reason: it is a great blend. While I was concerned that the new wrapper would screw up a good thing, my fears proved to be groundless, as the Laranja Reserva Escuro features the same balance and complexity that makes the first line so good, while adding a bit more strength as well as new distinct flavors like the barbecue and mesquite notes that permeated the profile in the first two thirds. Having said that, although it is an excellent cigar just way it is, a little more overt sweetness in the profile of-of the blend would go a long ways towards pushing this release into a much higher category. In the end, this flavor bomb of a blend has something to satisfy the needs of just about everyone who smokes it and should be near the top of your list to try if you get the chance.

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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.