Espinosa Las 6 Provincias MTZ Toro
I don’t know about you, but election fatigue has set in. I think it is safe to say we’ll be talking about this one for a long time to come. Regardless of whether you didn’t vote, or your candidate won or lost, the good news is that no matter which area of the political spectrum you land, cigars always have the power to bring us together. As if by some higher purpose, cigars are an agnostic lifestyle, they don’t care who is enjoying them and regardless of political differences, through them cigar lovers from all walks of life can find common ground. So, as we always do, let’s just agree to disagree and savor the next cigar and each other’s company.
Many cigar makers love to honor Cuba which for many is their ancestral home. There have been many an homage paid to the Caribbean island nation honoring family, tradition, culture, etc. Beginning in 2018, Erik Espinosa launched his own project that pays tribute to the land of Mojitos, Che Guevarra, and the birth of cigars. Espinosa Cigars launched a limited-run line that features six different blends, one per year, each representing the original six Cuban provinces: La Habana, Matanzas, Pinar del Río, Las Villas, Camagüey and Oriente.
Production for each blend is 1000 10-count boxes and 500 20-count boxes all packaged in unique, ornate dress boxes, which drew much of the 2018 IPCPR crowd’s attention. The inaugural blend, designated LHB for the province of La Habana, was released in 2018. 2019’s second installment pays tribute to Matanzas, designated MTZ, the second largest province famed for its proximity to the ignominious 1960’s “Bay of Pigs” insurrection and its large industrial infrastructure of petroleum wells and sugar mills.
It’s worth noting the hand-crafted design of the fold-out boxes is really something to behold and neither pictures, nor my meager description, do it justice. The boxes open up with pull outs on the top and sides to mimic stained glass and windows, respectively, providing vintage art work depicting beach scenes and dancing themes on the insides of the doors.
We’ve yet to try an Espinosa blend that wasn’t unique and thoroughly enjoyable. A good start is the oily, chocolate wafer appearance the MTZ proudly displays. The cigar further passes the eye candy test with vibrant colored foil bands, a tight, seamless roll and a nice-looking cap topping off the box press. Lynyrd Skynyrd’s “Ooh, that smell” was coursing through my head after getting a whiff of the MTZ’s wrapper and foot: fragrant floral mixed with a rich, milk chocolatey essence and a rich fudge/pie crust mix, respectively. The cold draw is nicely open and I was a tad surprised at the tingle of tart apples on the palate. Man, I haven’t even lit the thing yet.
Surprise, surprise it just gets better. The opening profile takes a bit to unfold, teasing with notes of caramel, nougat and honey with just a hint of spice. The foundation unfurls a woodiness with oak and vanilla notes on the retro and a toasty, woody finish. Notes of chocolate and berries come and go as hints of rich coffee tiptoe through the retro to the finish. Transitions maintain the very smooth disposition with a semi-chewy texture, featuring more subtle profiles from oak, cinnamon and mint to more savory intonations of nuts, oak, coffee and dark chocolate. Oh, and there’s a nice spicy surprise towards the end.
Taken together, complexity is simply off the charts, but there’s no “but.” No catch. Draw is crystal clear, combustion is as even as it gets and the incredible balance is only outdone by the MTZ’s consistent light and smooth manners. The MTZ doesn’t give anything away as her wiles will sneak up on you and delight. This cigar demands your attention if you’re looking to enjoy the bulk of the flavor palette and boy, it doesn’t disappoint. Espinosa proves yet again why he’s one of the industry’s best and brightest. The boxes are pretty cool too. – In Fumo Pax!
Did you Know: Cuban artist, Edin Gutierrez, designed the elaborate packaging, including the ornate dress boxes, for the Las 6 Provincias lines.
- Profile: Med-Full
- Vitola: Toro
- Length / Ring: 6.0″ X 52
- Purchased: Online
- Origin: Nicaragua
- Wrapper: Nicaraguan Habano 2000
- Binder: Nicaraguan
- Filler: Nicaraguan (Condega, Estelí, Jalapa)
- Production: La Zona
- Blade: Xikar Xi1
- Fire: Colibri Firebird
- Price:$15.70 [Box $157 / $254]
- Humidor Age: 8.5 mo.
- Box: 10 & 20
- Other Vitolas: N/A
N O T E S
Smoke Time: 1:28
Construction: Box press; colorful dual band dress; some give, but even throughout; sharp-looking cap; veiny; oily; chocolate wafer appearance; holds 1″ dirty gray ash.
- Wrapper – Piquant floral, rich chocolate
- Foot – Fudge, piecrust
- Cold Draw -tart apple essence
- Initial: Toasty draw; lush honey and caramel notes on retro; hints of oak and vanilla; crisp toasty, woody finish; settles into more of a woody core; light spice on palate; adds a light berry essence to retro; smooth and savory with semi-chewy texture; smoked hickory in nose; finish becomes more chocolatey mixed with some coffee bean; complexity is off charts.
- Transition: Dark chocolate nucleus; dominant notes of oak, mint with hints of cinnamon; uptick in spice; finish is woody mixed with coffee; woody, caramel draw; silky smooth and light on palate; delivers a spice bomb late.
- Transition: Baked bread essence to draw; oak and chocolate notes persist; more nuttiness to retro; hints of red pepper and toast linger in nose; remains light, but spicy.
Touch ups: 1
- 5 packer
- Yard ‘gar
- NR [No Recommendation]