Espinosa Habano Belicoso
Erik Espinosa has been around the industry for about two decades. He is probably best known for his time with Eddie Ortega, when they worked together to create EO Brands. Some notable brands that they created are 601, La Bomba, Murcielago, and Cubao. In 2010, they teamed up with Rocky Patel to distribute their cigars. Rocky eventually bought 50% of EO Brands. In January 2012, Eddie left EO Brands to begin working on the Ortega brand. He and Erik were able to buy back the 50% share from Rocky and split up the brands that made up the EO portfolio.
Erik and Eddie had a peaceful separation and have both gone on to create great cigars since then. As mentioned, each took some of the EO brands with them. Erik got 601, La Bomba, Murcielago, and Mi Barrio. Of course, Erik did not rest on the laurels of these established brands. He began making his own lines at his new La Zona Factory in Esteli, Nicaragua. (This information has been paraphrased from Seth’s Humidor review of the same cigar)
For this particular blend, though we know that it is a Nicaraguan Puro, Mr. Espinosa has released no further information about the tobacco used. The Habano comes in five vitolas, Robusto, Toro, Belicoso, Trabuco, and Corona.
Erik sent us some samples, including the Espinosa Habano. Though we are grateful for them, his generosity will not affect the rating.
The Espinosa Habano Belicoso has a natural brown wrapper with several prominent veins but really smooth seams. In fact, they are barely visible. The barrel looks a little lumpy due to all the veins, but the foot appears to be well packed.
There are two bands, one on the shoulder and one on the foot. The upper band is rather elaborate, with a mostly cream background. There is a red circle with an “E” in the center, the name “Espinosa” in red and white on a baby blue banner, and white, gold, black, and blue print and designs. The foot band has the same colors and says “ Hecho En La Zona”.
The Espinosa Habano looked a little lumpy and feels that way too. Despite the lumps, there is a silky smoothness as well. Also, there are no soft spots. A few squeezes confirm that it is indeed well packed.
A sniff of the foot reveals molasses and earth. The barrel is cocoa and a hint of manure. Though not very strong, it is not the most pleasant aroma.
Usually, I cut the head of a Belicoso or torpedo at a 45-degree angle. Since this one was rather rotund, I just cut it straight across. This seemed to work just fine, as the airflow was quite good. I did not get much flavor from the pre-light draw, just faint notes of earth and molasses.
The Espinosa Habano Belicoso lights up easily and evenly. Just like before I lit it, the draw is great, but almost too open. I believe this contributes to the somewhat fast burn I experience throughout the cigar. Nonetheless, it burns evenly throughout and allows me to get plenty of chewy, delicious smoke.
One complaint I have is about the ash. While it is mostly white and gray, it is loose and falls easily. It almost made it to 1” but fell off when I got up to take a picture of it. Subsequent ashes also fell if I didn’t knock them off in the ashtray.
The Espinosa Habano Belicoso has been a middle of the road cigar in terms of looks, function, and smoking. Though the ash and semi-fast burn are not ideal, neither are causes for concern for me. The deal maker or breaker at this point will be the flavor (as it usually is).
The first third begins with mostly wood and a mild black pepper. It takes a little while, but a slight creamy butter note comes in as well. This contributes to the chewiness of the smoke. Near the end of this section, I start to pick up on some floral notes as well.
The next third takes the cream and mixes it into a buttery wood note. The floral notes start to build and the spice becomes more faint, mostly present on the retrohale. As this section develops, the buttery wood becomes more of an herbal butter flavor.
The final third continues with the herbal butter. With that comes a nice white pepper spice that is mild, but more present on the retrohale. Near the end, the wood comes back, kind of strongly and there is even a touch of char. Fortunately, this calms down and some herbal notes come back to finish it out.
The Espinosa Habano Belicoso is just a tad stronger than medium in strength and medium-full in flavor. The flavors were very enjoyable, with the exception of that brief char near the end. Though it burned a little fast, it still lasted right at 1 hour 25 minutes.
Would I Buy It Again?
Is It An Everyday Smoke?
I would say so.
Would I Buy a Box?
Personally, I think 5 or 10 are a good purchase. If you’re into buying boxes, go for it!
For the first release under the Espinosa name, the Habano is a great indicator of things to come. I think the price is right on track for what I would expect to pay for it. Though not the most attractive cigar, it is very tasty and the construction is pretty good. If you haven’t given it a try yet, I highly recommend that you do soon.