Laranja Reserva, the latest release from Espinosa Cigars, debuted at ICPRP 2014 and is set to hit the shelves in the middle of August. Espinosa Cigars and the La Zona factory are known for their powerhouse cigar like the Warhead and 601 La Bomba. The factory also produced the high powered La Jugada Nunchuck for MoyaRuiz Cigars and the Arandoza Red. With all these full strength releases it is easy to forget that La Zona has also produced some great cigars in the medium strength group as well. Espinosa Habano and Maduro are both great smokes and the La Jugada Prieto is one of my go-to cigars. So I was happy to hear that their new release was in the medium strength, full flavor range.
Laranja is the Portuguese word for orange, which happens to be my favorite color. It features a Brazilian Laranja wrapper which is pretty unique. In fact I can't seem to find any reference to this wrapper being used. The binder and filler are from Nicaragua, but that is all the info we have there.
Laranja Reserva is available in three size and looks to be a full production line. The three sizes are: Corona Gorda 5 5/8 x 46, Robusto Extra 5 1/2 x 54 and Toro 6 x 52. For this review I smoked the Robusto Extra and the smoking time was just under 90 minutes.
Espinosa Laranja Reserva
Size: 5 1/2 x 54
Vitola: Robusto Extra
Wrapper: Brazilian Laranja
Factory: La Zona - Esteli, Nicaragua
Samples for review provided by Espinosa Cigars
Quick Note: For this review I used the Cigar Federation rating system.
You can view it in detail here.
Pre-Light: The Brazilian Laranja wrapper was so light that it almost looked like a Connecticut leaf. The hue was a light golden brown and the wrapper sported a few noticeable veins. The band featured some ornate gold leaf artwork on a white background with orange highlights while the foot was protected by an orange ribbon. The wrapper gave off notes of hay, dough and sweet baking spice. I used a punch and found a perfect cold draw that tasted of hay, raisins and sweet tobacco.
Beginning: The Laranja Reserva didn't take much time to warm up. On the first puff I was hit with big cedar notes along with some mild anise and sweet cream (flavor not texture). The retrohale was on the full flavored side as well. As the ash grew so did a white pepper spice on the retro giving the Laranja a nice balance of cedar, sweet and spice.
At the one inch mark the white pepper on the retro took a few steps forward in strength and took on more of a jalapeño flavor. The mild sweet cream morphed into a thicker honey flavor that really complemented the jalapeño spice. This profile lasted a good 30-40 minutes and was the highpoint of the cigar. The strength sat at a solid medium and held its ground there.
Middle: At the midpoint the jalapeño spice to a big step down in strength and the profile became much smoother. The main flavors were cedar and honey at this point. I enjoyed this portion of the cigar as well. It kinda felt like the cool down after a good work out or desert after a big dinner. The simple notes of cedar and honey played well together.
End: The Laranja Reserva had one last punch left. The spice came back with a vengeance. It was like that part in the movie when you're supposed to think the villain is dead (but he clearly isn't) and he jumps back to life. The jalapeño spice that I loved so much, returned for the last inch and a half and livened things up. This brought the profile back to life and ended things nicely.
Final Thoughts: The Laranja Reserva had a really nice mix of flavors. The middle portion got a little boring for me, but the beginning and end were fantastic. The balance of spice (jalapeño), sweet (honey) and cedar was perfect and the construction was great. I rarely talk about construction, but everything that comes out of the La Zona factory is spot on. The triple cap on this cigar was expertly placed and the burn and draw were dead center.
If you're looking for another power bomb from Espinosa, then you need to look for the Warhead II which we will be reviewing soon. The Laranja Reserva is a medium strength cigar with a ton of flavor. There is a lot of spice in there and that me be enough to please the powerhouse smokers as some folks tend to confuse spice and strength. The Laranja Reserva fits nicely into the Espinosa Cigars lineup.
Score: 89 - AKA "Five Pack"
The Laranja Reserva offers up tons of flavor, complexity and balance without kicking you in the stomach. The beginning and end of the smoking experience were great and the middle, while a little boring, was a nice cool down session. I would pick up a five pack of these in a heart beat. I would almost consider a box split here, but the price is a bit high at $10.50. In the end, my complaints are a product of me bing picky. This is a really good cigar that packs enough flavor to satisfy the power seekers and enough complexity and nuance to please the medium strength smokers.