I hate to say it, but with all the reaction I’ve been getting from Erik Espinosa’s Laranja Reserva (Portuguese for orange), I just couldn’t pass up a short review. I’ve been getting comments like the one above constantly. And to be on point, it is a luxurious cigar that has a flavor that has nothing with orange flavor. The orange comes from the way the sun shone through the leaf and it was a distinct orange.
Eric took note of that natural color and buried it in his mind. In fact, in the beginning the cigar was going to be named The Orange. Not enough romance? No, not to be confused with infused cigars. So what better romantic language than what’s spoken – Portuguese. The Laranja Reserva was born.
The blend itself is a collaboration between Erik and his blender Hector Alfonso. It has a habano Brazilian wrapper and is delicately paired with Nicaraguan binder and filler. The taste, ah, the taste. The cigar on first sight looks like an ordinary cigar, but once fire releases the oils the world begins to spin in a whirl of flavorful nuances. (Some claim they can surely taste the notes of citrus, but that is the beauty of the imagination.)
I have to get into the description published by Cigar Aficionado (where it received a 93 the exact same score of the Cuban Punch Punch.) The copy says, “There is a distinct hickory sweetness that underscores notes of rich almond paste, espresso and (get this) orange citrus.” Isn’t that a hoot? Even the big boys bend the taste buds now and then.
Here’s what I found. I’m in the garage so I have to write fast. It’s cold in here. The pre-draw is smooth, excellent, tasty. The construction is perfect. Look at the rolled tobacco. So I light it up and immediately I get a wonderful, chewy mouthful of smoke. Instead of hickory I get fresh-cut pine – the shavings. Delicate. The garage is beginning to fill with aromatic smoke. It’s heavenly. I listen to the Moth Radio Hour and continue to have at it.
The ash is dark gray, yes, I’m am an ash junky. More notes are written. I’m getting a bit of spice now, not a lot, but just enough to add to the sweetness that this cigar is creating. I can’t get past the bouquet though. It’s like the new perfume by Giorgio Armani “Si” subtle, and addictive. I can’t let this go.
I just sit and smoke. Listening to the stories of the guests on the radio. Gradually the spice becomes stronger. I like that. it’s a combination that works to the nth degree. Laranja will be a finger burner. No almonds, the reviewer must have had a danish just before he lit up. Almond paste? I get toward the end and I have to put it down. I breath in the aroma.
And I think to myself, maybe Eric and Hector will join together again and make a new cigar, its catalyst, Tilda Swinton – and brand it – Um Pêssego – the Portuguese word for peach.