Espinosa Especial No.5 | Cigar Review

Wrapper: Mexican Capa Negra (Maduro)
Binder: Nicaraguan
Filler: Nicaraguan (Condega, Estelí, Jalapa and Ometepe)
Size: 6 x 54 “No.5 Toro”
Body: Medium
Price: $8.95

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Espinosa-Especial-Lineup

Today we take a look at the Espinosa Especial No.5.
I want to thank Darryl Martin for this cigar.

I also want to offer more thanks to Bruce Cholka, Carter Tinsley, John Holcomb, and Anonymous Stogie (Pudding) for sending me cigars!
And a thanks go out to Famous Smoke’s Cory Grover for sending me new their new house blends: The Vudu Dark No.13 and the #Famous Toro.
Thanks to all those, past and present, that stood up and helped an ailing brother out.
Mensch’s of the Highest Order. It’s gratifying to feel the love. I finally have cigars to smoke. Makes an old man want to cry…in joy!
If I’ve forgotten anyone, please contact me. I try to write things down and I want to give credit where credit is due. But I get confused very easily. A real bummer.

BACKGROUND:
Factory: La Zona Cigar Factory – Estelí, Nicaragua.
Date Released: Sept. 15, 2015.
Regular Production.
Debuted at the 2015 IPCPR trade show.
Oddly, this cigar hasn’t made it to the Espinosa Cigars web site yet. So information about it is small.

DESCRIPTION:
Exceedingly nice looking stick. The wrapper is a semi-oily, Colorado red, mottled, chocolate brown color.
The seams are invisible. Very few veins. And invisible triple cap.
The cigar is solid as a rock with just the right amount of give.
The copper colored cigar band and copper colored footer ribbon are really offset nicely with the cigar’s color.
A lot of manufacturers can learn a thing or two from Espinosa. This is a truly classy, yet simple, cigar band.

SIZES AND PRICING:
Comes in boxes of 10.
Espinosa Especial No. 1 (6.5 x 48) $8.75
Espinosa Especial No. 4 (5 x 52) $8.25
Espinosa Especial No. 5 (6 x 54) $8.95
Because it is a regular production cigar, you need to go shopping for the best deal. And they can be had for as much as a buck or so less.

AROMAS AND COLD DRAW NOTES:
From the shaft, I can smell dark cocoa, sweetness, spice, and dried fruit.
From the clipped cap and the foot, I smell strong dark cocoa, barnyard, spice, floral notes, dried fruit, and sweet cedar.
The cold draw presents flavors of more dark cocoa, red pepper, hay, sweet cedar, and raisins.

FIRST THIRD:
The draw is excellent.
And the flavor profile starts with a bang: Strong red and black peppers, caramel, creaminess, roasted nuts, milk chocolate, cedar, floral notes, and strong espresso.
The spice is burning my tongue and lips.

The burn line is nice and even. Fingers crossed.
Strength is already a strong medium body.
Due to the size of the Espinosa Especial No.5, this is going to be a long and winding road.
Lots of smoke output that nearly blinds me while I type.

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Bruce suggested I get rid of my Mr. Hollywood profile photo and go with the ragged mess I am now currently: Long hair past my shoulders with a snow white beard. I told him I look like Howard Hughes. But he insisted and so after my shower this morning, I will attempt a selfie that is the current focakte Katman. I warn you, this friggin disease has taken my face and put a thousand miles of hard road on it.

I attempt to get a nice smoke rising from the foot photo so I huff and puff and by the time I get into position in the ashtray next to me, the smoke is gone.

But it did do one thing; the flavor profile exploded with intensity. The creaminess, caramel, coffee, chocolate, and red hot peppers coat my teeth like Tom Sawyer painted them.

Here come the malts: Cara Munich Malt, Chocolate Malt, and Coffee Malt. (See Malt Chart).
I’m having some burn issues. Lots of little touch ups.
I’ve hit the Sweet Spot 1.0. Now that’s impressive. Only 1-1/2” into the cigar and the flavors blossom, and then explode, beautifully.

Espinosa is a real journeyman work horse at his profession. This guy always knows what he is doing. I can’t think of any of his blends I don’t like. Now the Laranja was something really special. Reviewed HERE.

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He reminds me of Christian Eiroa; once of Camacho fame. Holcomb sent me a bundle of his budget Schizo cigars. They are mild/medium and only $2 a cigar. I couldn’t resist and lit one up and found it very flavorful even though it had zero humidor time. Never tried them before. Gotta review them. In a couple weeks or so.
The wrapper at the cap begins to unravel. Can’t catch a break here. So I glue it and allow it to dry.

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BTW- I clip the cap using one of those backstop guillotine cutters so I don’t cut too much cigar off the cap.

SECOND THIRD:
Smoke time is 25 minutes.
The glue is dry now. I don’t know if these construction problems are typical for the Espinosa Especial No.5 or not. Only have one. But it’s a big deal. Since I have only one, I will give the Espinosa Especial No.5 the benefit of the doubt when I rate it.

The strength has settled down a bit and now rallies to a classic medium body stick.

I check out my Laranja review and there is a similarity in the wrapper’s colors. I also had construction issues with the Laranja. Hmmm….
I also report a lot more flavors with the Laranja. It was a serial killer from the get go. And only $1 difference between the two blends.
Methinks that the Laranja is the better deal of the two. Especially, since both are regular production cigars.

There are new flavors: Orange Creamsicle Pop, candied pecans, and red licorice.

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I got it. Here is my hypothesis….I think that the Espinosa Especial was one of the experimental blends while blending the Laranja. Just has to be. Too many similarities. But instead of ditching a good blend into the dust heap, they waited and released the “experiment” as a new blend after the Laranja. The orange and creamy flavors are just too strong. So is the sweetness. Who knows how many of these were produced and then they shit canned the whole thing after Espinosa came up with the tweaked version using Brazilian Laranja on the same binder and filler as the Especial.
I’m telling you. I ain’t wrong on this. The Espinosa Especial No.5 is the evil twin sister of the Laranja.

There is a huge flavor explosion. Magnificent! All cylinders firing.

Here they are again: Creaminess, spice, orange creaminess, candied pecan, chocolate, oak, espresso, lots of malts, caramel, floral notes, roasted nuts, red licorice, and vanilla bean.
Now I’m really impressed. And now the price point is justified.

The simple act of clipping the cap has wrought havoc with the wrapper. It comes loose at the midway point and out comes the glue. Again, I had construction problems with the Laranja. And I had more than just one stick to compare.
At the halfway point, the Espinosa Especial No.5 is screaming laughter. A sea of swarming simbas!

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And something new arrives on the flavor scene: salted pecans. The candied version has disappeared. I like this version better.
Something else…what is it?

Damn. The Espinosa Especial No.5 is now super complex and I’m having a lot of trouble discerning flavors. The balance is terrific. And the finish is long and chewy.

I’m sitting here smacking my lips like a dog trying to separate flavors. A sip of water.
Blam! I take it back. The Espinosa Especial No.5 appears to be every bit as good as the Laranja. But in the same ball park flavor-wise.

I still believe they blended this cigar first and then decided to slap on the Brazilian Laranja wrapper. Wait and then release a new version. Or seemingly new.
I could be full of shit. Don’t listen to me.
At the halfway mark, smoke time is 40 minutes.

I’d love to get my hands on a box of these. Small Batch Cigar is selling the box of 10 for $75.00. Way below MSRP. Take your 10% promo code: leafenthusiast and you have a box for $67.50. $6.75 a stick is way better than $9 a stick. But they have only 2 boxes left and five 5 packs left. Cigar Federation has them for full MSRP but also have a 10% promo code if you are a member. I was hoping Summit Cigars had them but they don’t.

The Espinosa Especial No.5 needs a major touch up. Nicht gut. While I suffered some construction issues with the Laranja, no burn issues.

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“Badge” by Cream is playing. One of the most classic opening bass riffs in rock n roll history. Right before that was The Animals’ “We Gotta Get Out of this Place.” Another classic bass riff that starts the song. As a kid playing in cover bands, I loved getting that major applause as I began the song solo on bass.

Flavors are just going friggin nuts.

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I remove the band but it won’t come off. I finally get the damn thing off and it takes some wrapper with it. This is not good. The wrapper is too thin. More glue.
This is really too bad. The flavor profile should rate this cigar at least a 92. But with the construction issues, that ain’t going to happen.

I check Halfwheel.com and he gave the cigar an 87. He says he had no construction issues but one of his photos shows something different. I don’t know. Maybe I just got a bum stick. He also didn’t get the huge array of flavors I did. Maybe he smoked it too soon? Who knows. Every palate is different.

I still claim I have one of the best palates in the industry. Nearly 50 years of smoking cigars can have something to do with that.

I get Cigar Aficionado. And sometimes I just have to laugh at their description of cigar blends. Where do they get that stuff? Clearly, their palates are better than mine.
Strength hits medium/full.

LAST THIRD:
Smoke time is one hour 5 minutes.
Once again, I’m going to give the Espinosa Especial No.5 the benefit of the doubt due to construction issues. Anyone can get a bad stick. That’s why it is so hard to convince manufacturers to send more than one or two sticks for review. The Big Guy Reviewers get more. But I’m just a fly speck to the big manufacturers.

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Flavors are all intact. A real flavor bomb.

Fortunately, the shock and awe of the construction problems are on just one side of the cigar. So I don’t have to show this mess in my photos.
This is what happens when you smoke a cigar and review it in real time.

On another front, I check to see if the special on the Fallen Angel Devil’s Ink is still in force. And yep, it is. They are up and running on all the CI sites. But instead of $25 for a 10 count box, they are going for $60. Who knows how long before CI catches on?
I wrote to CI and told them that if they saw a spike in sales it was because of me. They sent me an email thanking me for supporting them. LOL.

The Espinosa Especial No.5 is beginning to unravel. I don’t know how much longer I can get from this cigar.
It feels like it’s going to explode in my hands like an M80 any moment.
I don’t want to take anything away from Erik Espinosa. This is an excellent cigar. I just got the short straw.
So there you have it. I still recommend it. And the clock is ticking at SBC.

RATING: 89

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2 replies

  1. Damn Phil!

    With your new photo, you are looking like the almighty Maduro Moses. Leading the chosen people through a sea of endless tobacco fields, parting leaves with a staff shaped like the neck of a Fender P-Bass. Blowing holy smoke all over crooked manufacturers with their blasphemous pricing and smiting their smug asses with the truths of an ascended palate…

  2. I just had my first try of the number four and had the same wrapper explosion right from the first cut. It continued to come unraveled all through the smoke, but you’re right about flavor complexity, it’s delicious. I have one more to try, but other reviews have had similar issues with stick unraveling, too bad really, makes a great cigar a bit of a struggle. E