Bite Size Review: Espinosa Habano (Redux)
Erik Espinosa has proven time and time again why he is one of the finest blenders on the planet. We’ve previously reviewed three of his cigars (601 Oscuro, Alpha Dawg, and Laranja) and the common thread is just pure enjoyment, which shores up his blending prowess. There’s a uniqueness to Espinosa’s efforts that keeps us – and his loyal base – coming back for more. Therefore, when we finally got around to the Habano, expectations were high.
The Habano was originally released in 2012 drawing critical acclaim, even snagging #1 Cigar of the Year honors from Cigar Dojo that same year. Yet in 2015, Espinosa felt compelled to change up the packaging and fine-tune the blend making it the first cigar produced by his new La Zona factory in Estelì, Nicaragua. Since then, the redux Habano has consistently racked up ratings in the low to mid 90s across the globe. Well, color us surprised.
First impressions of the Habano is its oily, golden baked bread tint. Raisin and dark chocolate fragrances complement the cold draw tinge of Worcestershire and citrus notes on the palate. The draw is effortless allowing maximum immersion into the initial profile which is highlighted by zesty intonations of charred oak, caramel and toasted almonds swirling around a core of toasted oats. The crisp, rich finish of cedar and baked bread is delicious. Transitions offer nice change-ups, featuring more spice and underpinnings of coffee bean, nougat and black pepper.
Combustion is solid except for an early “runner” that eventually corrected itself. Overall, our Habano maintains a smooth-ish texture, robust complexity and solid balance throughout and as the body becomes more full, you’ll be craving a nice Scotch. As with previous Espinosa cigars we’ve reviewed, the Habano’s blend offers a finesse and refinement that goes beyond just blending leaves or hitting a desired flavor wheel. For a little over six bucks a stick, you could easily make this a go-to Habano in your humidor. – In Fumo Pax!
Recommendation: 1. Go-to.
Did you Know: When asked about specific blend details of the tweaked Habano, Espinosa retorts, “the colonel will never reveal their 11 herbs and spices.”
- Profile: Med-Full
- Vitola: No. 5 [Toro]
- Length / Ring Gauge: 6.0″ x 52
- Purchased: B&M
- Origin: Nicaragua
- Wrapper: *Ecuadorian Habano
- Binder: *Nicaragua
- Filler: *Nicaragua
- Blade: Colibri V
- Fire: Colibri Firebird
- Price: $6.20
- Humidor Age: 19 mo.
- Box: 20
- Other Vitolas: No. 4 [5.5″x50], No. 8 [6.125″x58], Toro BP [6″x54]
* The blend details have been a closely guarded secret so the tobaccos listed, while corroborated by multiple sites, have not been confirmed by Espinosa Cigars.
Smoke Time: 1:34
Construction: Semi-oily; nice triple seam cap; rich, bread crust hue; one major vein; seamless; some give, but uniform feel throughout; some tooth; holds 1″ ash.
- Wrapper – Juicy rasins
- Foot – Raisinesque, hint of dark chocolate
- Cold Draw – Worcestershire, citrus
- Initial: Toasted oats on draw; rich, spicy mélange of oats, toasted almonds; hints of caramel and nougat; zesty charred oak on palate; rich finish of wood and baked bread; more peanuts added to a crisp finish.
- Transition: Chocolate and coffee bean notes complement the cedar core; accents of toasted almonds and nougat on retro continue; spice on palate moving to nose late.
- Transition: Hearty profile of black pepper and wood (oak and cedar); balanced well with a whiffs of nougat; Finish becomes long and toasty with a robust woody texture on the palate.
Touch ups: 1
Weaknesses: Runner developed after 15 min., but resolved itself
Recommendation: 1. Go-To.
- Go-to (boxworthy)
- Yard ‘gar
- Smoke a banana instead