Cigar

Wasabi From Espinosa

Espinosa WasabiIn November 2016, a series of cigars from Espinosa Cigars were released. There was a total of eight to be used as part of the company’s “Backroom Series” available exclusively to the Espinosa-branded lounges. In April one of these cigars, the Wasabi, was brought onto the market again as a limited release of 500 boxes of 10. This release just happened to co-ordinate during our annual Crawfish Boil that we hosted along with Erik and his son so I managed to get my hands on quite a few of these guys.

Of course as we talked about the cigar the mention of people thinking it was flavored with wasabi came up (much like how some people seemed to think that the Pickle Juice was also flavored with pickles). Of course this is not the case and the name was picked solely because he liked the name. Of course Erik does refer to it as a spicy candela so I have a sneaking suspicion that might have had something to do with it as well.

When you first look at the cigar it has a pleasing overall look to it. The color of the candela is a nice pale green color. There are some noticeable veins throughout the wrapper but over all it is smooth to the touch and the seams are tight and even. The Habano tip adds a nice contrast to the overall look of the cigar. Construction feels firm but giving enough not to feel over packed when pressure is applied with the fingers and no dead spots were apparent when inspected.

The odor from the body is light and sweet, while the odor from the foot leans a bit more towards a hay or barnyard odor with a hint of pepper. The cap cuts easily with no damage done to the construction. Pre-light draw is easy and has a mild tobacco flavor, some sweetness and a touch of pepper to it. The cigar lights evenly and produces plenty of medium weight smoke on the tongue.

The first half of this cigar comes across with a decent amount of spice to it. In the foreground to me is a good amount of white pepper and citrus. Definitely a solid medium / medium heavy cigar at this point. The burn is even and stays consistent for the most part. The ash is a dark grey in color and drops off about every ½ inch.

Reaching the second half the cigar really starts to mellow out and more of its earthy tones start to move to the front. The spice is still there on the finish but the taste of smoked cedar and peat become more prominent. This lasts until reaching the end of the cigar where the full strength becomes noticeable and the pepper fights its way back to the forefront of the flavors.

In all after smoking several of these I have to say I really enjoy them. Not something I’d recommend for the beginner but would easily recommend it to someone who likes a variety of flavor and is looking for something to try that you don’t see every day. Better go out and grab some before they all disappear. 500 boxes sounds like a lot but trust me, with how good these guys are they will be gone before you know it.

Wrapper/Binder/Filler: Ancient Japanese Secret

Website: https://www.espinosacigars.com

Rating: 4.4 out of 5 pints

Tatuaje’s Skinny Monsters Drac

Tatuaje DracThanks to DR HQ (AKA S&M Smoke Shop) I’ve been able to pick up a lot of these Tatuaje Skinny Monsters to review. I’m not one to buy into hype or gimmicks but as a horror movie lover I took the bait. I started with the Frank and enjoyed it so I decided to move onto the Drac to see if it held up in quality and flavor and was happy that it did so and more.

Investigation of the cigar shows a relatively smooth wrapper with some noticeable veining. It is dark chocolate in color and has a muted oily sheen. The smell from the body reminds me of sweet milk chocolate and cinnamon, while the smell from the foot is far less sweet and more of a barnyard, tobacco and hints of spices odor. It doesn’t feel as rigid as most lanceros and gives to pressure but still feels full and rolled well with no apparent dead spots.

The cap cuts easily with no damage to the construction. The cold draw is easy and open offering the expected tobacco flavors with a hint of sweetness noticed from the body. From the first few draws it is immediately peppery with a long spicy finish.

After taking it down a ¼ inch it becomes not quite as spicy as when first started but the pepper and spice is still present. It has a good full earthy flavor with some leather notes. Plenty of heavy smoke production along with a light grey ash with a few dark hints to it. Burn remains fairly even with no trouble.

In the second half it mellows out considerably overall but retains the spicy/pepper finish. It tends to have more of a leathery cedar flavor. Ash doesn’t hang on for very long but the construction is tiptop and burns even. The smoke continues to be plentiful and pleasantly heavy on the tongue. Towards the end of the second half the flavor intensifies again bringing back more of a full flavor to the stick.

Since these guys are still pretty easy to find I’d strongly recommend picking up a few. If you like a fuller flavor cigar then this is the one for you. As far as lanceros go this has been one of my favorites so far. The flavor comes out strong and then settles into a nice rich medium flavor that for its size you wouldn’t think possible. Really an excellent job Tatuaje!

 

Wrapper: Ecuadorian Habano Maduro

Binder: Nicaragua

Filler: Nicaragua

Country of Origin: Nicaragua (My Father Cigars SA)

Website: Tatuajecigars.com

Rating: 4.6 out of 5 pints

Tatuaje’s Skinny Frank

Tatuaje Skinny MonstersAs is the case with the S&M Smoke Shop (AKA DR Headquarters) Different things are always popping up. This time they managed to get their hands on the entire Skinny Monster series from Tatuaje so I figured why not try a few and see what I thought. For my first go around I decided to try the Frank, since I had had it in other vitolas, it seemed like the right place to start.

The cigar wrapper is a dark espresso color with some noticeable veining, however this doesn’t detract from the overall appearance but seems fitting for the cigar name. There are some oils present on the wrapper but it has mostly a matte finish to it. The seams look tight and flat and it has the usual dense feeling of a lancero with little give when pressure is applied.

The smell from the body is barnyard or hay with a sweet jasmine floral scent and hints of milk chocolate; from the foot it has more of an anise odor, with the jasmine floral scent as well. The cap cuts with no damage to the body, which with lanceros I prefer to cut a bit heavier to open a decent airway to prevent the draw from feeling too tight.

From the cold draw it has a (what I would consider typical) lancero hard draw but is not off putting, the flavor is rich tobacco and cinnamon. The cigar lights easy and burns evenly from the start. The first few draws have a deep smoked meaty flavor with a long red pepper finish that lingers until the next draw.

Through the first third the meatiness of the cigar stays and a bit of cedar comes in accompanied by the long pepper finish. The burn remains even and it produces a loose greyish ash that holds on for about an inch at a time before falling off on its own accord. Smoke production is good and is a medium weight on the tongue.

Entering into the second third the meatiness drops off leaving the cedar flavor and now leather enters the profile, the peppery finish is still there but has nearly disappeared. Reaching this point I was starting to classify the entire cigar in a mild in flavor category.

Reaching the final third the flavor becomes a bit fuller with the cedar still the forerunner yet roasted pine nuts and bitter dark chocolate are joining in. There is also the return of the long peppery finish, which was nice to have back.

In all I did enjoy the cigar. While the draw was tight I found that it was not as tight as most lanceros and there was no struggle in smoking it. The flavor profile changes kept me on my toes trying to find a good description for the flavors I was tasting. The ash held tight and the burn was even for the whole smoke showing that the construction was quality and their was the overall novelty of smoking a cigar named after one of my favorite classic horror movies. If your new to Tatuaje and are wondering where to start you can’t go wrong with the Skinny Frank.

Wrapper: Connecticut Broadleaf

Binder: Nicaragua

Filler: Nicaragua

Country of Origin: Nicaragua (My Father Cigars SA)

Website: Tatuajecigars.com

Rating: 4.6 out of 5 pints