Steven Ysidron Announces Epicurean Gonzo Santeria (UPDATED)

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Steven Ysidron, president of Epicurean Cigars, announced via his personal Facebook page a new limited edition that he will be releasing in the near future.

The Epicurean Gonzo Santeria uses a vintage Mexican San Andrés wrapper that Ysidron found on a recent trip to Nicaragua and that wasn’t part of the original Gonzo blend. Ysidron said he has an infatuation with San Andrés wrapper, so he knew it was a must for this project. To adapt the Gonzo’s blend to this new-found wrapper, he added a pair of additional ligero leaves, as well as a double binder with Nicaraguan Jalapa and Mexican San Andrés leaves, with the filler coming from Nicaragua’s Jalapa and Condega regions.

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The intent is for the Santeria to be a stronger blend than the original Gonzo, with Ysidron noting that “while this smoke is not for everyone, it will suit the cigar connoisseur in the American market.”

Like the original Gonzo, the Gonzo Santeria is being rolled at the Plasencia factory in Nicaragua. It will come in two sizes, the 6 x 60 Justus and a 6 x 52 Toro, both packed in 50-count cabinets made especially for brick and mortar shops. The hope is to produces 150 boxes of each size, though Ysidron mentioned that he is uncertain if there will be enough tobacco to hit that target, and “after my personal quality control, I may end up with a little less.”  MSRP is anticipated to be between $10.50 and $11.50 per cigar.

Ysidron said that the inspiration to use the Santeria name came from his childhood,as both sets of his grandparents lived in Miami, and he remembers “how prevalent the practice of Santería was in their lives from going into houses and seeing the small altars and the line up of Saints on the walls.” In his adult life, Ysidron began doing some research and found that Santeria was a big part of Cuban culture, and he began seeing how “being raised in the cigar industry with a Cuban background mirrors the deeply spiritual traditions and rituals passed down by the generations in Santería.”

Santería is a religion that is prevalent in Cuba, a merger of the Yorùbá religion which was brought to the New World by West Africans, and Roman Catholicism. It is not marked by a central creed, but focuses on rituals and ceremonies.

“As with many religious beliefs, there is good and evil; to me Santeria has always meant many blessings and good luck, which is what I hope to share with those who enjoy this cigar,” Ysidron said, adding that “one thing is for sure: the Gonzo Santeria will put a spell on you.”

Update (Sept. 7, 2013) — Steven Ysidron posted the following Tweet which indicates that the Epicurean Gonzo Santeria is set to be released on Nov. 1, 2013 at 4:14:14 PM ET:

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Patrick Lagreid
About the author

I strive to capture the essence of a cigar and the people behind them in my work – every cigar you light up is the culmination of the work of countless people and often represents generations of struggle and stories. For me, it’s about so much more than the cigar – it’s about the story behind it, the experience of enjoying the work of artisans and the way that a good cigar can bring people together. In addition to my work with halfwheel, I’m the public address announcer for the Colorado Rockies and Arizona Diamondbacks during spring training, as well as for the Salt River Rafters of the Arizona Fall League, the WNBA's Phoenix Mercury and the Arizona Rattlers of the Indoor Football League. I also work in a number of roles for MLB.com, plus I'm a voice over artist. I previously covered the Phoenix and national cigar scene for Examiner.com, and was an editor for Cigar Snob magazine.

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