Espinosa Cigars recently announced the creation of the Back Room Series. The Backroom Series is a line of limited release cigars that will only be available at Espinosa Lounges throughout the country. The Alibi is the first release in the Backroom Series and is limited to only 200 10-count boxes.
There are only three Espinosa Lounges and one of them just happens to be my local shop. Here are the Espinosa lounges and contact info:
The Alibi - Espinosa Cigars Backroom Series
Size: 6 x 48
Vitola: Small Churchill
Wrapper: Ecuadorian Habano Oscuro
Factory: La Zona Cigar Factory - Esteli, Nicaragua
Cigars smoked for review: 2
Samples provided by Espinosa Cigars
Note: For this review I used CigarFederation's rating system
Pre-Light: The Alibi has a very simple look. The band is small and simply states the name of the cigar and notes that it is part of the "Backroom Series" and an "Espinosa Lounge Exclusive." There is also a simple black foot band. I like the understated look.
The Ecuadorian Habano Oscuro wrapper had a beautiful deep golden brown color and smelled of damp earth and wood. The cigar had a slightly soft feel to it, but it wasn't squishy. The cold draw was smooth and tasted of bread and stone fruit.
Beginning: I was hit with bold notes of earth and black pepper on the tongue and on the retrohale. I was expecting the earthy notes, but the pepper was a major player in the flavor profile and wasn't present pre-light. Once I acclimated to the peppery profile, I found it to be quite enjoyable. The initial profile of bold earth and pepper is not usually in my wheelhouse, but I was diggin' it.
Middle: The middle portion of the Alibi got interesting. The black pepper transitioned into a crushed red pepper flavor while the overall profile became quite smokey. When I say smokey, think hickory BBQ. A mild molasses sweetness showed up on the finish and brought an interesting balance. The flavor profile became a unique mixture of BBQ and crushed red pepper with a mild sweetness on the finish.
End: The red pepper died away while the smokey BBQ and sweet molasses remained. The strength peaked in the medium-plus range for me, but some folks will consider this a full strength cigar.
Final Thoughts: The Alibi is a unique cigar. While the transitions provided a good smoking experience, I would have liked a bit more balance. The profile started out as a black pepper bomb, then become very smokey and ended with more sweetness. I think it was the BBQ style flavors that threw me off. Overall, I enjoyed the Alibi and would recommend it to to folks who like peppery cigars with lots of moving parts.
Rating: 89 AKA "5 Pack"
If there was a bit more balance of flavor, I would have bumped this score up a bit. I will grab a fiver for two reasons. First off, my local lounge is an Espinosa Lounge and I want to support them. Secondly, it's a good cigar and I am curious to see how it performs in the coming months. On top of all that it is an extremely limited release and collectors love that stuff.