Wrapper: Ecuadorian Habano Oscuro
Size: 6 x 48 “Small Churchill”
Price: $9.00 at Smoke Inn and Espinosa Lounges only
I want to thank Smoke Inn for the use of the above photo.
Today we take a look at the new “The Alibi” from Espinosa Cigars which is the first entry of the new Backroom Series.
From the Smoke Inn web site:
“Espinosa Cigars’ new limited edition cigar The Alibi has arrived at Smoke Inn, one of only three shops in the country to receive this exclusive blend. Using top secret tobaccos, The Alibi arrives in a single, 6” x 48 “small Churchill” vitola, specially crafted at Erik Espinosa’s own La Zona factory in Estelí, Nicaragua.
“The Alibi is extremely limited; only 200 boxes of 10 have been released between the three Espinosa lounges.”
From the Espinosa press release:
“(December 5, 2014) – Erik Espinosa of Espinosa Premium Cigars proudly announces the release of The Backroom Series, an Espinosa Lounge Exclusive. The Backroom Series will feature cigars exclusive and limited only to Espinosa Lounges.”
The cigars hit the three shops at the start of December. While not a cigar insider, I have low friends in high places and one of them got me some sticks a month ago. I’ve smoked two prior to this review and marveled how just a few days made such a big difference in the smoking experience. Of course, a smarter man than I would give it a month but it tastes pretty damn good to me right now so let’s get chooglin’.
Very nice looking stick. I like the junior Churchill approach of cutting an inch off the length but keeping the 48 ring gauge. The wrapper is a dark coffee bean that is very oily. The sun just came out so I might be able to show that to you.
Seams are tight. Lots of tiny veins. A perfectly flat triple cap. There is both tooth and smooth areas. And the cigar band is very simple but classy. Add to that a classic black ribbon on the footer and the picture is complete.
I clip the cap and find aromas of spice, cocoa, cinnamon, very earthy, rich espresso, and something sweet.
Time to light up.
The stick is just how l like it in terms of not being overly jam packed; but rather very firm. And a nice give to it.
The draw is great. Within moments, red pepper attacks. Creaminess appears early in the smoke. The chocolate appears as a flavor; not just an aroma. There is that undefinable generic sweetness. It will come to me. And that wonderful coffee element completes a good start to the “The Alibi” from Espinosa Cigars.
The strength is medium and feeling its oats wanting to reach medium/full very quickly.
There are no reviews yet as Espinosa and Smoke Inn did not disperse the cigars soon enough for the A List reviewers to allow them to rest and then review them. Thank goodness for good friends.
At the 1” burned mark, the char line is razor sharp.
The sweetness has a nougat component. And very nutty. Caramel should be next.
I’ve never understood why manufacturers decide to not disclose some, or all, of the leaf stats. It is just PR? Is it because they will slap the hand of anyone who tries to get their own? To befuddle the reviewers? A mystery to me.
Here they are: Chocolate, earthy, espresso, red pepper, nougat, nutty, toasty, and very creamy.
Actually, nothing that shows the hidden binder and fillers are doing anything that a good Nic blend can’t do. I’ve found that most Espinosa cigars are good to go after a month or two. He is pretty good about developing a taste profile that is like a race horse snorting at the gate ready to take off. He doesn’t make old school blends. I have a great admiration for Mr. Espinosa. A real smart cookie.
The amount of filler is perfect creating the perfect burn time for me. I’m not a fan of two hour cigars. This will probably be a 90 minute stick.
“The Alibi” from Espinosa Cigars is pushing out some honey and floral notes for the first time. But the chocolate is absolutely addictive. There are elements of hot cocoa, chocolate ice cream, chocolate icing, and chocolate cake doughnuts.
About every half inch, the flavor profile steps it up a bit. I hesitate to call it a flavor bomb because of the criticism that I use that term too often. But it does have a stunning group of flavors all rowing in the same direction.
The second third begins.
The strength hits medium/full.
The caramel, nuts, and nougat are just great together. The toastiness rounds out the combo nicely.
The Backroom Series is just beginning. If “The Alibi” is the first presentation from that line; I expect the follow up blends to be spectacular.
The price point. Now this is what I’m talking about. No bullshit. A very, very limited run for only $9.00. Not $12.00. Not $14.00. A solid priced cigar that is worth every nickel.
There is a God. While other blenders are bleeding the smoking public dry with their ridiculously high priced new cigars, Erik Espinosa is thinking like a mensch.
Construction is excellent. Good char line. No wrapper issues.
I am at the halfway point.
Another quantum leap in the flavor profile. The Alibi from Espinosa Cigars keeps on keeping on. Just a great cigar. It’s a shame they can only be had at the Espinosa Lounges and Smoke Inn. Everyone should have a crack at these sticks.
This is from the Espinosa web site and I found it very interesting:
“For more than a decade Erik has been creating cigars that smokers have come to love, in the next logical progression, in early 2012 La Zona was born. La Zona now serves an instrument for him to create new blends, re-introduce old ones and add his own flavor along the way. La Zona gives Erik complete autonomy allowing him to do things his way, A Mi Manera. His first solo release, Espinosa Habano, is a solid medium-bodied cigar, that is beautifully crafted and packed with rich cocoa, pepper and cedar flavored notes.
“The saying, “the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree”, couldn’t be more true in the case of Erik D. Espinosa, Jr. Erik Jr. grew up amongst the aroma of cigar smoke and strong Cuban coffee that is synonymous with the Miami cigar culture. Erik Jr. started his career in the business by working on the retail side in local cigar stores in Miami. He has furthered his experience by being both a fixture at Erik Sr.’s events and at the tasting table at La Zona factory in Esteli. He has provided perspective and a younger generation’s point of view on the industry and what attracts a younger consumer. Cigars are a family affair, and watching and learning has allowed this young man to blossom into an integral part of Espinosa Cigars. Currently, Erik Jr. runs the day to day warehouse operations at Espinosa Cigars.”
Oh lawdy, lawdy. Godamm the pusher man. The Alibi from Espinosa Cigars has taken off for the stars. No shit. I’m sorry. I have to say it: this is a Flavor Bomb!
On top of that, it has become very complex, a perfect balance and a nice long chewy finish. Maybe another month of humidor time will allow this bombardment to the palate to start earlier in the cigar.
But with 3” to go, I am amazed at how the tobacco interacts. Whatever the binder and filler are, they are impressive. Of course, the Ecuadorian Habano Oscuro wrapper gives it a real shot in the arm.
What a difference from the La Colmena I reviewed yesterday. The La Colmena was the second cigar smoked for the review and both had terrible construction issues. And the La Colmena and The Alibi from Espinosa Cigars have been in the same humidor for the same length of time. Yes, I’ve heard from you dear readers that some had zero problems from the La Colmena. Good for you. You lucked out.
This is the third Alibi I’ve smoked and all three have been impeccable in the construction department.
A fruity element is very distinctive now. A combo of black cherry and raisin. Very typical of a Nicaraguan blend. There is also a hint of summer fruit in there lurking about.
The last third begins.
I’ve been remiss in not discussing the wonderful earthiness of the tobacco itself. There is a nice subtle mineral component. It has that effect in which you can almost taste the soil in which it was grown.
The char line continues on its run of being razor sharp.
Also, the red pepper has been in the mix the whole time but not in the upper echelon of the flavor profile. Hitting the final third, the spiciness returns in force.
The last couple inches are explosive, and bold, with flavor. I hope this is not the end of the line. I would love to buy some.
I highly recommend The Alibi from Espinosa Cigars. The price is right. The construction was impeccable. And it displayed a rainbow of wonderful flavors. It was smooth as glass. Not a hint of nicotine. And it hit just shy of full bodied.
And now for something completely different:
The party was at the bar where she is the bar manager. I beamed with pride as the regulars told me what a wonderful girl she is. They all love her.
The place was full of cops and firefighters. I made sure to keep my holstered Glock out of view.
I sat on a stool watching the end of the Broncos/Colts game. And then something very odd happened. At the little round table next to me, sat a nice looking brunette. As she was getting up to leave, a female friend hugged her good-bye. And then there was a kiss to the cheek, then a couple kisses to the lips, then the length of the kisses got longer and longer. I’m sitting in a neighborhood bar and there are two good looking chicks making out a foot away from me. Sometimes, you just gotta love the Midwest.
Katie got the word that she got the gig as a Milwaukee police dispatcher. It took 21 months from initial application until being hired. But Katie told mom and me not to say a word to anyone about it yet. So I kept my mouth shut.
All the cops knew her and even her partner, when she was an EMT, was there. They all complimented her skills, and personality, over and over. I wasn’t shocked but I certainly was surprised at the number of people who told me this. Each time I was introduced as Katie’s dad, I saw their eyes light up and then they just spewed compliments.
Meanwhile, she is still waiting to hear about going to work as a cop. She initiated this application about a year ago. Apparently, they are going to hire the top 300 that applied. And thousands applied. Katie knows she is in the top 300 but not exactly where.
The cop that runs the police dispatch unit told her she was #7 from the top of a thousand that applied.
I am going to be so happy when she goes to work for MPD. A real career. Not running a bar.
And here is more good news!!!!
Charlotte got a job yesterday. The money is decent and it’s steady. She will start either this week or next.
It also means that we will finally dig ourselves out of our financial hole. It will take time but now we know we can do it.
You have no idea how hard it is for a 64 year old woman to find a job in this economy that ain’t working at McDonalds. And a good looking old broad at that.
So I want to take this opportunity to thank all of my wonderful VIP Sponsors that have been sending me money for the last few months so I could keep on reviewing. If not for these wonderful readers, I would be stuck in the mud. No longer will I have to humiliate myself by begging for money. I’m very glad to get this monkey off my back.
As a result of their donations, I got to know a lot of my patrons pretty well. Lots of emails back and forth. These guys all became “real” friends. They asked for nothing in return and I will never forget their kind generosity. I’m sure they are relieved that I will no longer need their help. But for the right reasons. These guys will be glad that Charlotte and I have righted our financial situation; more so than the burden it has placed on them.
Because of their generosity, I was able to buy over 40 cigars for review. And to honor their donations, I used the money strictly for review cigars…nothing for my personal gratification.
Thank you, brothers. You all have a place in my heart.
Categories: CIGAR REVIEWS