The Best Cigars Are Not Always Cuban

The Nicaraguan cigar industry began when Cuban cigar makers escaped the revolution and re-established their livelihood in Nicaragua with Cuban seed tobacco. Blessed with rich, dark soil, their new home was ideal for growing tobacco, and Nicaragua became known for cigars that rivaled Cuban quality.

Today, in the opinion of many, Nicaragua produces the best tobacco in the world. All tobacco-producing regions have their differences that allow cigar makers to develop blends with various flavors while still pure Nicaragua. The Esteli Valley is the heart of Nicaraguan production and is known for its rich and spicy tobacco. The Jalapa Valley produces possibly the best tobacco in the country: somewhat sweeter and less intense than Esteli, but too complicated. The tobacco from the Condega Valley is often described as a blend of the other two regions.

Erik Espinosa, CEO and master blender of Espinosa Cigars, was born in Cuba, knows and masters almost every aspect of the cigar industry. He founded the La Zona factory in Nicaragua, in Esteli specifically, where he is not afraid to experiment with cigars from excellent producing regions such as the Dominican Republic and Brazil, and by blending with Nicaraguan tobacco, he gets fantastic results.

Coming from the factory, the espinosa laranja reserva toro cigar is another blend that has earned a well-deserved score of 94 and has won the #13 position in the Top 25 of 2015 of Cigar Aficionado. When looking at this unique stick, the first thing you notice is the orange tone of the Brazilian Laranja wrapper from the Reconcavo region of Bahia, Brazil, hence the name, Laranja, which means orange in Portuguese. If you’ve never heard of that container before, it’s because technically it doesn’t exist; Erik gave the name to the tobacco leaf when he first found it and based the whole cigar on its color and fragrance. Underneath the wrapper is a spicy Nicaraguan binder and a bold mix of long Nicaraguan fillers. Together, this smoke offers medium to full-bodied notes of spice, pepper, citrus, nuts, cedar, and a lovely natural sweetness. Our panel suggested combining it with an Indian Pale Ale.

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The espinosa laranja reserva toro cigar line uses a cover called “Ballano Anaranjado.” A type of Brazilian cigar, also known as Cubra. It is a beautiful aromatic cover with an incredible flavor. What caught my attention was its orange shade. This cover, with this color, really charmed its creator because orange is his favorite color. Therefore, being the cover of Brazilian tobacco, he decided to use the name of the color in Portuguese for the brand itself, having no relation to orange aroma or flavor in the tobacco. The mixture between the cover of Habano Brasil, with that orange tone and an extremely tasty and rich in spices tobacco, can extract the spicy notes. In contrast, the mouth is covered by a sweet flavor, which has made it a success in the United States, and now it can reach your hands just by ordering it online.