Cigar Reveal #144


Cigar Reveal #144

Espinosa Cigars
LARANJA AZULEJO

It's been our please to now have featured all three cigars in the Laranja Series by Erik Espinosa: the Laranja Reserva, Oscuro, and now with this, the Azulejo. using a dark Ecuadorian Sumtra wrapper, all-Nicaragua filler and a Brazilian binder, this is perhaps the strongest cigar we've featured in a blind tasting. And because of that, it's become a very polarizing cigar - some hate it and others love it - which is why we we're excited to feature it! While Halfwheel called it a disappointment, Cigar Dojo named it in their Top 10 Cigars of 2021. “This is a special cigar and I believe it is the perfect blend to join the Laranja family,” said Erik Espinosa. Though Espinosa has his own factory, the Azulejo was made at AJ Fernandez's San Lotano factory, and the name Azulejo comes from the shade of blue found on Portugal's famous glazed tiles (the same blue as the band). 




Anatomy

  • Nicaragua

  • Brazilian Arapiraca

  • Ecuador


Flavor Notes

First Third

Earth

Licorice

Oak

Earth

Licorice

Oak

Second Third

Coffee

Oak

Citrus

Coffee

Oak

Citrus

Final Third

Oak

Caramel

Earth

Oak

Caramel

Earth

Reviews + Notes

Cigar Dojo

(2021 #10 Cigar of the Year) Laranja Reserva Azulejo is the third cigar in the Laranja Reserva series from Espinosa Premium Cigars, with the original Laranja debuting in 2014 and the followup Laranja Reserva Escuro in 2019. The common themes between the three are color, Portuguese names, and Brazilian tobacco. Concerning the former two requirements, Azulejo bears a gradient of light and dark blue color, being named after the blueish glazed tile that is popular throughout Portugal. And while Brazilian tobacco is indeed included, the leaf is utilized as the binder for the first time in the series (while the former releases used Brazilian wrappers). This Arapiraca varietal is wrapped in a dark Sumatra leaf and joined by all-Nicaraguan fillers. For fans of the series, the Azulejo performs more similarly to the Laranja Escuro than the lighter-wrapped original Laranja Reserva, offering a hearty body and flavors that seem to sink into the palate, with standout notes of earth, musty oak, allspice, and burnt caramel. Notably, this series is now among the best performing on Cigar Dojo’s year-end lists, placing in the Top 10 on three occasions.

Cigar Aficionado

A well-constructed, pressed toro with an inky wrapper. Wheaty first puffs take on a licorice note before the power goes into full gear with strong intonations of coffee and charred wood. There is a note of citrus to the dry finish.

Halfwheel

With the exception of the second sample I smoked—which started with a manageable amount of toastiness—it’s really tough to look past the first 10 minutes of the Laranja Reserva Azulejo Robusto Grande. I’m not sure the issue is actually the toastiness, but rather it shows a common theme I found, the flavor profile gets rather unbalanced at times and doesn’t recover to a place that is much beyond okay. And while my lasting memory of the cigar will be the burnt flavors, I think an equal amount of criticism can be levied on the cigar when it’s not too toasty, not too salty or not too spicy. Those profiles—the in-between places—aren’t anything special and because of that, I can’t justify the unbalanced parts of the profile. As someone that has always boasted about the Laranja, this blend is a disappointment.