La Zona Factory Selects by Espinosa Cigars | Cigar Review

Wrapper: Ecuadorian Habano
Binder: Nicaraguan
Filler: Nicaraguan
Size: 6.12 x 52 “Bullet”
Body: Medium
Price: $2.50
BUL

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Before I begin, I would like to say that this frigid weather front is causing mayhem with my cigars. We live in an old, big house and heating it is expensive. When I get up in the morning, the house is between 45- 50 degrees. I’ve been covering my humidors with blankets to try and ward off the cold to no avail.

I found these on cigarauctioneer.com. There was only one unit. A bundle of 20 torpedoes called the Bullet. They are made solely for Famous Smoke.

There are four sizes: 5 x 50, 6 x 52, 7 x 50, and the 6.12 x 52 torpedo. The price range for a bundle runs from $47-$53. The Toro size is currently on sale for $40 instead of the $50.

I paid $25 for my bundle on cigarauctioneer.com. No one was paying attention as I was the only bidder.

Famous does not provide much info on this cigar other than it is an Espinosa blend. They also contradict themselves. In one place they say it is full bodied and another, Medium. They also infer in their description that it is a Nicaraguan Habano. But in another place, it says Ecuadorian Habano.

Construction is very rustic even with the seams mostly invisible. Veins cover the stick…some small and some big. But the cap is consistently well done. The wrapper has the color of peanut butter. And the stick is very smooth. The cigar is perfectly packed the way I like it. With just the right amount of give.

I clip the cap and find aromas of spice, nuts, cocoa, cream, ginger, dried fruit, and earthiness.

To make sure I don’t put too much pressure on the cap, I use my giant 4 slot cutter using the small V cutter.
Time to light up.

First puffs are very sweet with a spicy, meaty flavor. The flavor profile becomes very nutty and full of cedar. The tobacco, itself, has a wonderful taste all its own. The draw is good and the char line is behaving.
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Then comes some red pepper. It builds slowly. I am surprised how nutty it is. I pulled “….the color of peanut butter” out of the air and that is exactly what it tastes like.

So far, so good, on the crackling wrapper issue. I tried something yesterday and if in the next couple of days turns out to work, I will share it with you. If I do it now and it doesn’t work, I will look like an ass…er, just maybe a bigger ass.

There is no cocoa element but if there were it would taste of Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups.

I begin to hear the deadly sound of Rice Krispies but do not see any wrapper dysfunction.

The char line is the tiniest bit wavy but corrections are not needed. The draw is good. And the strength is mild/medium.
It is a big cigar and will take a while to burn down so I will come back to it at certain junctures.
4

I’m one inch into the stick and the flavor profile is slowly building. The spiciness gets stronger. The nuttiness and cedar move upward. And the natural tobacco flavor is excellent.

A note to my readers: these sticks take time in your humidor. I’ve had mine a couple weeks on the assumption that everything Erik has put out is ready to enjoy in that time period. They may need more maturation time to bring out the real character of the stick, but basically good to go in just 2-3 weeks.

Creaminess shows up halfway through the first third giving the profile a peanut butter cookie element. Unique and tasty. I remember as a child, when my mother would make those cookies, and then let me do the criss cross fork thing on top of each cookie. Does the Way Back Machine take you there?

The second third begins and so does the sweet spot. Here are the flavors: Sweetness, peanuts, creaminess, spice, cedar, leather, and natural tobacco.
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This, for me, is an unusual flavor combo. I smoked a few too early and they only showed me the potential, so I waited. At this point, I believe I am getting a real teaser of what it will become in a month. Yet, I could smoke them as is without any issues.

Famous is only allowing one at a time of these bundles to show up on cigarauctioneer.com. I checked and they have one bundle of Churchills going for auction at the moment. Even so, I would pay the $50 price point without blinking an eye. Only this time, I’d go for the Robusto. I’m a robusto man because of the flavor intensity.

I close in on the second half of the cigar and it’s delicious. It doesn’t have a wide spectrum of flavors but what it has is extremely pleasant.

The char line has not required a single touch up. And only one glue touch up was required so far.
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I’ve reviewed almost the entire line of Espinosa Premium Cigars. If you are interested, type in “Espinosa” or “601” in my search window on the home page.

The strength of the cigar has been slowly building. By the end of the first third, it was almost medium in strength. By the halfway, it is classic medium.

The cigar is as smooth as glass. The balance of flavors is spot on. And it now has a long finish.

The cigar goes from subtle to in your face over the length of the first third. I am still at the halfway point about to start the last third. Flavors of spiciness, creaminess, peanuts, cedar, and tobacco are flailing away. Like on my honeymoon.

OK. Here is my secret for keeping the cigars in a normal mode from the dryness caused by the cold. I took a small wash cloth, cut it in half, dampened it just a bit with warm water, then wrapped it once in bubble wrap and put it in with the cigars. It’s only been 24 hours, but so far, so good. This cigar is proof of that.
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The last third begins. This is a great knock around cigar. With only a couple weeks of humidor time, the stick shows its colors of what it will be in another few weeks. A very spicy, creamy, nutty stick. For $2.50 a stick, that’s a deal; especially coming from Erik Espinosa.

Construction has maintained beautifully except for one minor wrapper issue which is not the fault of the manufacturer. And one of the best char lines I’ve seen lately. Not a single touch up required.

It is not a complex cigar, at least at this point, but it is flavorful. And the peanut butter cookie dominance took me totally by surprise.

The last third becomes a flavor bomb. The small spectrum of flavors are just kicking ass. I think this stick has the qualities to become a complex stick with more time on it. The strength also increases to medium/full with a bit of nicotine thrown in.

I say kudos to Famous Smoke and Erik Espinosa. Nicely done.
8

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9 replies

  1. Looks like a good Golf Course stick…Pricing seems right as well…Nice job Katman !

  2. You’re about the only reviewer who discusses humi time. Was at an upscale Chicago cigar lounge for guys’ night out. Manager offers me a free cigar. I asked how long I should rest it in my humi. He looked at me like I spoke to him in Chinese. “Cigars come out to retailers ready to smoke.” I said some reviewers note humi rest for flavor enhancement. Looked at me like I spoke this time in Arabic. Interesting and humorous exchange.

    • Hey Yo,
      I cannot begin to count how many times that exact same exchange happened to me. But instead of a B & M, it is between me and a boutique blend cigar maker. Especially, the new ones. They are actually insulted that you should ask such a thing and will respond with the exact same quote your B & M manager gave you. It cracks me up. More than a few times, I’ve asked an experienced manufacturer that question and their way to answer is to never speak to me again. LOL. Actually, I’m not exaggerating. And in fact, anytime someone sends me cigars for review, I do ask the question right off the bat. And only once….just once…did a blender tell me I should let them rest for a few weeks. That was Paul Stulac.
      I guess if you don’t know the answer then pretending it was never asked…must be a Chinese thing…both ways.

      • There has never been a time that an owner or manager of a B&M has ever talked to me about resting a Cigar Or giving a Cigar Humi time…Never…When asked they tell me that they are ready to go now…I have never read a cigar review, other than yours, that suggests that a Cigar needs to be put in a Humi for a period of time before it is smoked…Never…This has been very confusing for a neophyte like myself…That being said, when I buy a bundle, not all of those bad boys are going to spending much time, if any, in a Humidor because they are going to be smoked by yours truly as soon as I get my hands on them based on pure unadulterated economics…I can’t afford to let an entire bundle rest for an extended period of time…I have noticed however, That a Cigar will definitely change in character when it gets to hang with the other dudes for awhile, kinda like a bromance…In any event I’m certainly more aware of these issues because of our fearless leader The one and only Katman…Rock on my friend !

  3. Just bid and won a 20 count bundle of the La Zona factory select “Brawn” (5 X 50), on your recommendation, for $16.00!!! at Cigarauctioneer.com, a site I hold near and dear to me as have bought many cigars there. Extra bonus is that I live only 3 miles from their main office/shipping in Pa., so I just go on site and pick them up. Thanks again as I have made a few purchases based on your reviews and have yet to be disappointed.

    • PS. I’m surprised that you did not outbid me based on your wanting to buy the robustos and my ridiculously low winning bid of 80 cents per.

    • Hi Charlie,
      Cigarauctioneer.com is the new Cbid. Hardly anyone goes there anymore because of Famous Smoke’s persistence in pushing their house brands and never auctioning any cutting edge cigars. So I’ve found bidding on samplers has suited me well. Although, if you are cagey, you can find some rare items that the general smoking public isn’t aware of yet. I just won a box of Blanco Liga Exclusiva de Familia Double Coronas for $70 instead of the going price of $155, and backordered. And an old box of Cubao Rothchilds. I got those for $63 instead of the hard to find rate of $160. And lastly, I got a box of Fernando Leon Family Reserve Corona Gordas for $85 instead of the going rate of $161. Inferno by Oliva for $45 instead of $75….etc.
      So you scored on the La Zonas seconds. Good for you. Let them rest.