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Cigar Review: Espinosa Maduro Robusto

21 Jan 2015

There was a time when the cigars in the EO Brands portfolio—particularly 601 Blue, 601 Red, and 601 Green—were mainstays in my humidors. Back then, Erik Espinosa and Eddie Ortega were still in partnership, and the 601 line was still produced by none other than Don José “Pepin” Garcia at My Father Cigars.

Espinosa Maduro RobustoIn 2010, Rocky Patel bought a 50% share in EO Brands, which also owned Cubao, Murcielago, and Mi Barrio. Then, in early 2012, Eddie Ortega announced he was leaving the company and starting his own outfit called Ortega Cigars.

Today, Erik Espinosa operates Espinosa Premium Cigars, which is home to 601 and Murcielago (both of which are now made at Espinosa’s La Zona Factory in Estelí, instead of at My Father Cigars). But Espinosa’s outfit isn’t simply a means to remix old lines from EO Brands. When we spoke with Espinosa at the 2012 industry trade show, he was in the process of launching Espinosa Habano and La Zona, and he was also working on a forthcoming Espinosa Maduro.

Espinosa Maduro has been on the market for some time now, offered in four vitolas: Belicoso (5.5 x 52), Corona Gorda (5.6 x 46), Robusto (5 x 52), and Toro (6 x 52). The Robusto is dark, box-pressed, and toothy with considerable oils on the Mexican Maduro wrapper. The foot shows a slightly loose bunching of Nicaraguan tobaccos and emits pre-light notes of milk chocolate. The triple-cap clips cleanly to reveal an easy cold draw.

Considering the blend makeup, I anticipated a cocoa sweetness offset by a spicy Nicaraguan zing. That’s exactly what I got, right off the bat. The Espinosa Maduro Robusto boasts a medium- to full-bodied profile with bittersweet chocolate, earth, black pepper, and leather. The texture is chalky. To its credit, while the flavor doesn’t change a ton from light to nub, the Robusto is nicely balanced—never too bitter, never too sweet, never hot or harsh if you take your time.

As for combustion qualities, the white ash holds firm, the draw is excellent, and the smoke production is solid. The burn line can meander a bit, though. One of my samples required multiple touch-ups to stay even; another required just a single touch-up after the first inch and remained perfect thereafter.

Priced at about $7-8, the Espinosa Maduro Robusto brings a lot of value to the table in terms of balance and depth of flavor. Despite its strength, I really enjoy it mid-afternoon with a cup of black coffee (but I’d suggest doing so on a full stomach). With renewed interest in sampling the 601 line I loved years ago, I’m awarding this Erik Espinosa creation an admirable rating of four stogies out of five.

[To read more cigar reviews, please click here.]

Patrick A

photo credit: Stogie Guys

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