Tag Archives: Espinosa

Murcialago, Providencia Trinitas and Cornelius Lonsdale Cigars

Murcialago_RobustoLast week one of the cigars I picked up at Cigars International’s Espinosa event was the new Murcialago. I remember when this came out int the EO Brands days, it was Eddie Ortega’s go-to, made at the My Father Factory with a rich, dark San Andrés wrapper. These had a red bat-shaped band, appropriate since murcialago is Spanish for bat.  Seems like a long word for bat, but that’s neither here nor there. I remember the original release being sometime in the 2011 area. In the Ortega/Espinosa amicable divorce, Erik got custody of the Murcialago brand, and it hibernated for a few years. Recently the brand has re-emerged, and I grabbed a few of the red banded robustos, as well as a silver banded Churchill. I know the latest release, with the silver band, is being made at AJ Fernandez’ new San Lotano factory in Ocotal, Nicaragua, but I’m not sure if the red banded cigars were made there or La Zona. I suppose it would have been prudent of me to ask that question of Erik while I was talking to him.  The Robusto is a box pressed 5″ x 54, and, given my recent avoidance of robustos, I’m surprised I didn’t get the toro instead, perhaps they were out.  The cigar smoked as one would expect it would, perfect burn and draw, dark, rich flavors of espresso and some spice. I recall really liking the old version, but it’s been so long since I smoked one I can’t really draw a direct comparison, but it was good and I liked it.


Providencia_The TrinitasYesterday afternoon I decided to give the Trinitas from Providencia Cigars a try. These cigars are made in Honduras with Honduran and Nicaraguan tobacco. This cigar came to mind because I know two of the company principles are from the Philadelphia area and are big Eagles fans. Apparently the Eagles won a big game, and were recognized with a parade in Philly last week, and I’m sure Ray and Jim wish they had been there. All this Eagles stuff in the news made me think of Providencia cigars for some reason, so I pulled out the Trinitas to give it a try. This is a beautiful 6½” x 52 perfecto with a box press, and has “Triple Ligero” on the band.  Curiously, their website notes that it has Lijero, whether this is a typo or linguistic difference, I don’t know. I give them points for keeping their site up to date, so I give them a pass.  This Trinitas was only recently released, and is a small batch cigar, and is offered in boxes of ten or bundles of 11.  I was expecting a much stronger cigar, given the triple ligero descriptor, but what I got was a medium bodied, very refined and well-balanced cigar that was really very good.  It had some sweetness, and earthy/nutty flavors that were quite enjoyable on a rainy Saturday on the porch watching the Olympics.  These are not widely distributed, but I’ve had very good experiences now with all three of their lines, the El Padre and El Santo are also excellent. Even though they aren’t in a lot of shops, they do offer their cigars for sale on their site. These cigars are worthy of sampling, in my opinion.


CorneliusandAnthony_Cornelius_LonsdaleLast night I came across my last IPCPR sample of the Cornelius and Anthony Cornelius Lonsdale. I received a couple new samples last week, and I’m sure it’s common knowledge that this brand, is on the top of my list recently. I cracked a box of Señor Esugars toros earlier in the week and am really going to have trouble not smoking them all up real fast, the cigar was awesome. I’ll smoke another one soon and give it more attention here. For me, in all six Cornelius and Anthony lines, the toro is the size that does it for me. That being said, this year’s release of the Cornelius in the Lonsdale size intrigued me. I recapped my IPCPR visit along with a video with Steven Bailey back in August, you can check that out here. My initial impression of the cigar remains the same as the first smoking, the 6½” x 42 Lonsdale may seem a little stronger than the Toro largely because a narrower ring cigar is going to burn a bit hotter, making the flavors sharper. People always think there’s some magic wrapper to filler ratio that makes smaller ring cigars taste different, but it’s the heat. Certainly the blend proportions have to change across a range of ring gauges, but if proportions were exactly the same, the thinner cigars would still have a sharper flavor, easily confused with more flavor, because it inherently burns hotter. It’s a fact. This Lonsdale presents all the elegance and subtlety of the Toro, but with a little more oomph, making it a similar, but different experience.  I like it, I like it a lot.


I’ve been slacking on my midweek posts over the last couple weeks, winter blues, I guess, but, if you watch my Instagram feed, I’m still enjoying a daily cigar, although I’ve been quite hedonistic in my choices lately. I get home from a long day at work and want to relax with a cigar and just enjoy it without worrying about thinking of something to write about it. I’ve always been pretty open about the fact that I’m in this for the enjoyment, when smoking cigars, or writing this blog, feel like work, it’s not fun anymore!  Anyway, it’s time to get on with my day, until the next time,




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An Espinosa Comfortably Numb Cigar at Cigars International Superstore in Hamburg PA

Espinosa CIYesterday was a big day at the Cigars International Superstore in Hamburg, PA.  Erik Espinosa was on hand all day selling his cigars there, and there was a line wrapping around the building of people waiting to but their CigarFest tickets. I understand that tickets sold out in under a minute on-line, and I also was told that people started lining up at 4pm Friday! The crazy part of this (or one of them) was that it was brutally cold out, the very crowded CI store looked like a ski lodge with all the people bundled up.  I understand that Espinosa Comfortably NumbCigarFest is a big event, something like 3000 people per day over two days, with many making a weekend of it, but that kind of crowd isn’t my bag.  But a lot of people dig it, so more power to them!  I made for a crowded store, it was hard to find a seat, what with people leaving their coats and stuff on seats and tables and socializing elsewhere, which is in very bad form, in my opinion. Some patrons like to sit and relax, some like to wander and socialize, but you can’t have it both ways.  We found a table by the door, which was constantly opening so it wasn’t very comfortable. I had bought a selection of Espinosa cigars, and lit up a CI exclusive that was recommended to be by a CI staff member called Comfortably Numb Vo,. 1. The band on this is in the classic Bob Masse ’60s Comfortably Numbconcert poster style, very psychedelic. This 6″ x 52 Toro has an Ecuador Habano wrapper, Corojo binder and Nicaraguan fillers. The wrapper is milk-chocolate-brown with very fine veins, it’s an attractive cigar.  I was very surprised with this cigar, pleasantly so. It was perfect for early in the day, the flavors were smooth and creamy, with some sweetness akin to a coffee with cream and sugar (which paired nicely with the cup of black coffee I enjoyed). I really should have grabbed another handful of these, but I had spent too much there already! Great cigar.


Espinosa CI 2Erik Espinosa is one of those guys in the cigar industry that I don’t know as well as some, however, when I walked into the store he walked up behind me and greeted me like an old friend, as did Juan Cancel from Cubariqueno Cigar Co. and Jose Galvez, our local Espinosa sales guy. While I haven’t smoked a ton of Espinosa branded cigars, Some brands made at his La Zona factory in Esteli are among my favorites.  Cornelius & Anthony, La Sirena are in my list of go tos, and I’ve enjoyed my fair share of Arandoza cigars too, and I’ve bought plenty of 601 La Bombas in the past, going back to EO brands days. One of the cigars I bought was the 601 Steel, which was an exclusive for Famous Smoke Shop, oddly enough. At some point that exclusivity agreement ended, and CI took on the line.  Considering CI is headquartered in Bethlehem, PA, which was known for it’s steel mills, it makes sense 601_Steel_Girderfor CI to carry it. It’s a reasonably priced cigar, and while it’s billed as full-bodied, I didn’t find it to be that at all.  It struck me as medium at best, but what do I know. It’s listed as having a dark Habano Oscuro wrapper and Nicaraguan fillers and binder. I didn’t find the wrapper to be all that dark.  It had a nice flavor, burned a little off, but OK, and was a perfectly nice smoke.  I also picked up some Murciualago (with red bands and silver, a Dread, and another event exclusive that looks like an Ecuador Connecticut wrapped cigar.  I’ll get to some of them in the near future. We left the shop after the one cigar, it was just to noisy and crowded for my liking. It was nice of Matt Cook, who’s the Director of Retail Operations, to stop by and say hello. I probably wouldn’t know Matt if we didn’t have a mutual friend.


In related news, it was announced this week that Thompson Cigars has been acquired by the parent company of Cigars International.

Scandinavian Tobacco Group today signed an agreement to acquire the business of Thompson and Co. of Tampa, Inc.  “Thompson”). The purchase price amounts to USD 62 million and the acquisition will be financed by existing cash at hand. The closing of the deal is expected to take place by the end of March 2018.

There’s a lot more to the press release, which is at many of my colleague’s sites, but I’m going to offer my unsolicited $0.02. Over the last year or so Cigars International’s mail order division had a major problem with a new computer system, which damaged their brand significantly in the eyes of the consumer.  I’m sure many retailers in both the brick and mortar and mail order spaces rejoiced. Thompson has been selling cigars for over 100 years, I ordered a special out of a magazine add in 1996 and am still on the mailing list, and have gotten plenty of phone calls from them (I wrote about their auction site back in 2012, the story is here), and never was a fan of dealing with them. Other’s have had great experiences, and, given the history, many must like them. So from my biased perspective, a company that had big problems buys a company with a questionable marketing reputation?  I don’t get it, but the people spending the $62 million are much smarter than I am.  I’ve never had an issue with CI, granted I live close by, and it’s nice to visit their stores, but I like visiting most stores (see last weeks post!).  With plans to also open a superstore in Texas announced by CI, and Altadis’ parent company and Davidoff  buying and opening stores all over the place, clearly the trend is to go direct to consumer.  Will Swisher be looking to go this route? What’s the future hold for the mom & pop shops? Kinda sounds like how Walmart killed small business a little, doesn’t it?


That’s all for now.  To those afflicted, enjoy Super Bowl Sunday! I know as a resident of the Philadelphia are I should be excited, but I’m not a football fan. The Flyers better get their shit together though! I have some of Bernie Parent’s cigars that I want to smoke in honor of a Stanley Cup win one of these days!  Until the next time,




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1502 Black Gold, 601 La Bomba, Merlion and a Kentucky Fire Cured Cigar

1502_BlackGold_ToroLast time I said I was going to smoke some readily available cigars as opposed to the limited and discontinued stuff I was smoking last week. I think I managed to accomplish that, and smoke some pretty tasty cigars in the process! Sunday afternoon I lit up my last 1502 Black Gold Toro, a cigar I really like and will have to put some more in my humidor. I recently received all three 1502 blends in lancero format, so look for those recaps in the not too distant future! Anyway, I love the way they partially close the foot on these, I get a little extra blast of wrapper flavor on lighting. Always well made, the Black Gold is the maduro offering, and I dig the dark, rich flavors and excellent construction. This is a 99 on the CigarCraig rating scale, I need to pick up a few more to have on hand. The whole line is highly recommended and another winner distributed by the House of Emilio.


601 LaBomba_Sake BombMonday my wife and I went out for a while, when we got home, I opted for a short smoke, so the new 601 La Bomba Sake Bomb was the cigar of choice. I received a pair of samples a week or two ago from Epinosa Cigar Co., and, quite frankly, I probably could have been more patient and let these rest a little longer. I really enjoy the La Bomba line. It’s one of my go-to cigars whenb I just want something satisfying and familiar. I’m partial to the Atom in this line, although I’ll happily smoke any of them. Anyway, the reason I said I should have waited was that the little 4½ x 42 Sake Bomb might have still been a little overhumidified from it’s journey.  The draw was a bit more firm than I would have liked. Still, it had the great flavor that I expect from the  La Bomba line. I like them because they are pretty strong, but really flavorful.  The Habano wrapper is flawless, and, although I’m not a fan of footbands, the presentation is really cool.  My example didn’t have the long fuse that it should have had, but we just cut that off, don’t we.  I’ll revisit this in a few weeks, it’s a nice little size. Given that I don’t drink, I have no idea what Sake tastes like, but I’m quite sure there’s no flavor comparison. This is a solid 97 until I revisit it.


Merlion_Sea LionMonday evening I picked another smaller cigar, however, this one is a limited edition. It’s a currently available limited edition, so I figured it would fit with this weeks theme.  The Merlion Sea Lion from La Sirena is a cool shaggy footed perfecto, measuring 5½ x 47 in a perfecto shape that tapers pretty severely, so that the 47 ring gauge is pretty meaningless.  I prefer the La Sirena line over the Merlion line typically, but this blend made at the La Aurora factory was very good.  The burn was perfect, the shape is really fun to smoke.  These come in a box of ten, with one cigar bearing a maduro wrapper. Odd that I didn’t smoke that one first, I know, but I am afraid that I’ll really love it and I won’t have another. I wanted to make sure I liked the Ecuador Corojo wrapped version too. I smoked this to the tiniest of nubs, and this is another cigar that’s going to be hard to leave along. I look forward to smoking the maduro, and maybe I’ll smoke both wrapper varieties side by side one day to compare and contrast.  Try one if you get a chance, it gets a 98 because it’s a cool looking and smoking cigar.


MUWAT_KFC_Fat MollyTonight I decided to smoke a cigar that I’ve smoked before (although not in this size), but is popular and currently available. The My Uzi Weighs a Ton Kentucky Fire Cured from Drew Estate was released at last year’s IPCPR show and was highly anticipated.  This cigar is made at the Joya de Nicaragua factory in partnership with Drew Estate, and features fire cured tobacco which gives it a distinctive campfire aroma. I personally am not a fan of this aroma in a cigar and samples I’ve had in the past, including a pre-release sample in Nicaragua, have left me wanting.  This one was a nice smoke, perhaps the size works better for me, but I didn’t get the heavy smokey flavor. The burn was perfect, until it got to the band, where there’s a layer of the Fire cured tobacco on the head, not unlike the Joya de Nicaragua Cabinetta made in the same factory. Like the Cabinetta, that tobacco on the head of the cigar doesn’t want to burn.  While this wasn’t my favorite cigar this week, it was still pretty good, and I wouldn’t hesitate to smoke this again. It’s certainly unique in the world of premium cigars. I’m going to give it a 97 for construction and appearance.


I’ll see what other goodies I can scrounge up for the rest of the week! I think I better put my rating scale on the “about” page so it’s clear.  Until the next time,




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Getting Back to Normal: A Fernando Leon, a Papas Fritas and a La Bomba

I’m getting back into my normal routine after the excitement of the holidays and the contests and all. I’m back to my “take a cigar for a walk” thing on a regular basis. Lucky it hasn’t been bitter cold yet, too many degrees below 30 Fahrenheit and it isn’t good for the cigars or me. That doesn’t mean I won’t do it, it just means I’m a bit more selective in the size and makeup of the cigar. Smaller maduros are my usual choice for super cold walks. Enough about the cold, I prefer to think about warmer weather.


Fernando Leon_FamilyReserveMonday evening I was in the mood for something a little out of the norm so I grabbed a La Aurora Fernando Leon Family Reserve from the IPCPR show samples.  I smoked one of these at the Miami Cigar and Co./La Aurora after party at the show, but by that point I had developed quite a head cold and along with everything else going on I really couldn’t enjoy it as much as I would have liked.  This was Fernando Leon’s personal blend which was released at  the show last summer and has a Dominican Corojo wrapper and binder and fillers from Brazil, Dominican Republic and Peru.  This cigar burned nicely and had an enjoyable flavor.  It’s a fine smoke that I wouldn’t mind revisiting on a nice, balmy evening.


LigaPrivada_PapasFritasTuesday I got home a little later than normal due to inventory at work, and needed something short, yet awesome.  I had a couple sample Liga Privada Papas Fritas from the show that have been burning a hole in my humidor, so it seemed like the perfect occasion to fire one up.  The Papas Fritas (French Fries in Spanish) is a super premium mixed filler cigar from Drew Estate, using the cuttings from the Liga Privada production.  They collect up these cuttings and re-sort them and make these little guys up.  It’s a 4½” x 44 cigar with a dark broadleaf wrapper.  This is like smoking a miniature No. 9 and it’s impossible to tell its not a long filler cigar.  These come in tins of four, and the tins are modeled after tins that Cuban petite coronas used to be packaged in that I believe, and I could be wrong, they used to give out on trans-Atlantic flights back in the good old days when you could smoke on planes.  I have an old Romeo y Julieta tin around someplace that I picked up many years ago because I though it was cool.  If I wasn’t so lazy I’d have dug it out and taken a picture, but it’s buried in the basement someplace.  These aren’t cheap at around $24 for the tin of four, but boy is it a satisfying little smoke.


601_La Bomba_AtomTonight I took the dog for a walk with a 601 La Bomba Atom. This is a powerful smoke, but loaded with flavor.   I picked this example up back in November of 2011 and age hasn’t hurt it. Maybe it wasn’t quite as super strong as it was back then, but still packs a punch.  The Atom is just about my favorite size cigar, a 5½” x 46 Cuban Corona with a long, fuse-like, pigtail cap.  The Habano wrapper is quite tasty and the cigar starts with a tingly spicy blast and never really calms down too much. It was a terrific companion on my walk and was hard to put down.  This is a terrific smoke if you like them strong, it’s a flavor bomb.

Ironically, I received the following information from Espinosa Premium Cigars today:



Miami, Florida (January 9, 2013) – Can you handle the STRONGEST cigar around? Think so? Well take the 601 La Bomba Challenge today!

Espinosa Premium Cigars announces the promotion for the 601 La Bomba Challenge, where cigar enthusiasts take a BEFORE and AFTER picture of their smoking experience with the 601 La Bomba cigar and share it on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram. The contest will run for 6 weeks and a different winner will be selected each week [6 winners in total]. The winners will be announced on the following 2013 dates 1/18, 1/25, 2/1, 2/8, 2/15 & 2/22. Each winner will receive a 601 La Bomba Ashtray and a 601 LA BOMBA SQUAD t-shirt.


Complete rules of the contest are posted on the company’s newly redesigned website www.espinosacigars.com/601labombachallenge.

The 601 La Bomba is a full bodied and full flavored BOMB! Handcrafted in Esteli, Nicaragua with 100% Nicaraguan tobacco. WARNING: Extremely full bodied cigar. Not recommended for novice smokers.


…Not that I am a fan of contests or anything :-)!  Check it out, get your hands on some La Bombas and take a shot at winning some cool goodies!  It’s really hard to go wrong with anything from Eric Espinosa in my opinion.  He makes some great smokes and is a heck of a nice guy.


That’s it for today, until the next time,







Filed under Review, Take a Cigar For a Walk

A Gurkha, An E-Doble, a Romeo and Some More News

Sunday my wife and I decided to take nice long walk before the heat of the day kicked in.  We needed to tire out the son’s dog, so she came along.  I grabbed a Gurkha Cellar Reserve Churchill since I wanted something reasonably mild for an early cigar, yet big enough to last the entire walk.  For some reason I have trouble walking now without a cigar!  Anyway, this is a nice enough cigar, it’s pretty big at 7″ x 54, and it’s well made.  The dog got a kick out of running into the creek, and we managed a 3 mile walk (through the park with the “no dogs” signs….oops!  what’s next, no smoking”)  I’m not a huge fan of Criollo wrappers, but I like this one enough for it to hold my interest through out the smoke.


After a day spent doing something other than what we had planned, I finished the day with an E-Doble from Smoke Inn.  This is such a beautiful cigar, burned perfectly even, has a terrific flavor, it’s hard to believe it’s a $50 per bundle cigar.  I can’t even begin to recall how many cigars I’ve smoked that have cost two or three times the price of this and was dissapointed by them.  Eric Espinosa (of EO Brands, 601, Murcialago, etc.) has a winner with this one.  I can see myself getting a bundle of these at some point, and I want to turn my brother-in-law on to them as well.  This is a cigar that he will enjoy, as will just about anyone especially if you don’t have a lot of cash to drop on cigars.  Really, really good. Thanks to Abe at Smoke Inn for sending me samples, I’m super impressed.


Monday evening my hand came out of the humidor holding a Romeo, the new offering from Altadis and Romeo y Julieta.   There are a few in the Romeo y Julieta range that I like, but most of them don’t do it for me.  This was a good cigar, the ash held for nearly half of it’s 5″ length, which I found to be impressive.  I suppose it was stronger than many cigars in the range, it wasn’t unpleasant at all, it just wasn’t really my cup of tea.  No fault to the cigar, it’s just me.  Technically it held up it’s end of the deal, it burned perfectly, and produced mouthfuls of smoke, and the wrapper was very pretty.  Try it if you get the chance, never rely on my tastes, I like Hamburger Helper for crying out loud!




Lot’s of news coming out recently!  Emilio Cigars had the Draig K leaving the factory at the end of the month.  The Draig K is a terrific cigar if you like a good maduro.  Gary also has the AF Suave hitting the shelves by the end of this month.  I haven’t had the opportunity to smoke this one, but it’s an Ecuadoran Connecticut wrapped cigar reportedly on the milder end of the Emilio range.


General Cigar has the Hoyo Reposado Box a Day Giveaway going on, the CAO Last Stick Standing promotion, as well as a Father’s Day contest on the La Gloria Cubana site.  I’ll have more on the Hoyo de Monterrey contest in the near future.  Follow the links for information on these promos.


Butthead’s Tobacco Emporium in Connecticut will be hosting what’s belived to be the first Virtual Cigar Workshop with José Blanco of Joya de Nicaragua on Thursday June 21.  José does an excellent presentation on cigar blending that’s a real eye opener.  He has cigars made with 4 different wrappers so one can taste how the wrapper effects the flavor of a cigar.  There’s some video and my impressions on my post from last year’s IPCPR show where I caught his blending session.  It’s a pretty cool experience and I recommend it highly. there is info available on the Butthead’s Tobacco Emporium site.


That’s about all I have for now, except to announce that if the winner of this month’s contest doesn’t contact me by Sunday, I may have to select another winner! I e-mailed directly, I shouldn’t have to work this hard to give stuff away!  Until the next time,







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