Posted by Joseph Carroll on 21st Nov 2014

Laranja Reserva by Espinosa Cigars Review

Laranja Reserva by Espinosa Cigars Review

Today we’ll be reviewing the Laranja Reserva, the newest release from Orestes “Erik” Espinosa. Before we get into that, let’s pause for a brief moment to touch upon the history of the company.

Erik Espinosa is a man who embodies the classic cigar story - born in Cuba, before moving to Miami shortly thereafter. Growing up in a city known for its historically rich cigar culture, Espinosa quickly fostered his own interest tobacco. Formally entering the industry in 1997, Erik has worked nearly every facet of the cigar industry - from owning his own 

Laranja Reserva by Espinosa Cigars Review

retail store to working as a representative for companies such as Alec Bradley, Drew Estate, Gurkha and Rocky Patel.

Espinosa is most famous for his time at EO Brands/United Tobacco, the company he founded in 2004 alongside partner Eddie Ortega. The two men spent nearly a decade together at the company, and introduced a number of cigars, including the 601 and Cubao lines.

In 2010, Rocky Patel purchased a 50% ownership stake in EO Brands.

Eddie Ortega announced his departure from the company in the beginning of 2012, going on to found Ortega Cigars.

In March of 2012, Erik Espinosa announced the launch of his new company, Espinosa Cigars. The company is based out of Espinosa’s own facility - La Zona Cigar Factory.

Initially it appeared as if Erik Espinosa would be splitting his time between both EO Brands and the new company bearing his name sake. However, Rocky Patel announced in July 2012 that his company would no longer be handling distribution for EO Brands/United Tobacco. Shortly thereafter, Eddie Ortega and Espinosa announced that the pair had bought back Rocky Patel’s 50% ownership stake, and subsequently evaluated, divided and dissolved EO Brands/United Tobacco.

All said and done, Espinosa walked away with 601,Murcielago and Mi Barrio, while Ortega took the Cubao, REO and Vibe lines.

Now, onto the cigar at hand - Laranja Reserva

Earlier this summer, Espinosa Cigars made the announcement that they would be adding a new product to their portfolio, Laranja Reserva, with its debut to be at IPCPR 2014. The focal point is the cigar’s use of a wrapper that Espinosa is calling Brazilian Laranja, which gets its name from the supposed orange of hue of the wrapper. Laranja is the Portuguese word for ‘orange’, which, as you may have already picked up on, seems to be the running ‘theme’ for this cigar. Erik Espinosa commented on the orange theme, stating in a press release “I have always liked the color orange and the positive energy associated with that color. It is the color of enthusiasm, creativity, determination and success, that’s what we are all about here.”

Currently, the Laranja Reserva is offered in three sizes - corona gorda (5 ⅝ x 46), robusto extra (5 ½ x 54) and toro (6 x 52), and is offered in 20 count boxes.

Specifications:Laranja Reserva by Espinosa Cigars Review

  • Cigar : Laranja Reserva
  • Manufacturer : Espinosa Cigars
  • Factory : La Zona Cigar Factory
  • Size : 5 ⅝ x 46 Corona Gorda 
  • Wrapper: Brazilian Laranja 
  • Binder : Nicaragua
  • Filler : Nicaragua
  • MSRP : $9.90
  • Production : Regular Production
  • Cigars Smoked for Review : 5

Appearance and Pre-light Aroma:

A lot of the marketing around the Laranja Reserva is centered around the color orange, and the basis for this is due to the wrapper leaf’s supposedly orange appearance. I’d venture to say that the wrapper leaf having an orange hue to it is a fair statement, but I think the cigar gains quite a bit of its orange appearance through clever banding. The Laranja Reserva features dual bright orange bands - one located at the foot and the other in the traditional location. I think the banding plays a much larger role in inciting the orange appearance mentally than orange hue of the wrapper does, but I digress.

Moving forward, the wrapper has a reasonable presence of veins, although none are elevated from the rest of the cigar, meaning the veins are really only able to be perceived visually. As such, the cigar retains a largely smooth feel. Finally, the Laranja Reserva’s wrapper contains a fine layer of tooth from top to bottom.

Aromatically, the Laranja Reserva has a medium-bodied aroma, present but not particularly potent. Having smoke this cigar a number of times, I continue to find the lack of relative oomph to the pre-light aroma. There is an incredibly distinct aroma of gingerbread cookies which more or less dominates the pre-light aroma, with notes of hay and light earth faintly present. Another deep whiff yields a rich citrus undertone, although it is largely muted.

First Third:

With a rather lively start, the Laranja Reserva fires up to life. The core of the profile is characterized by an aggressive battle that pits rich citrus and cedar notes against an array of pepper. With a few more puffs the citrus note becomes distinguishable as distinctly orange rinds that are on the sharper side, almost bordering the line of being bitter but never quite doing so. Underneath that, theres a dry smoked meat flavor alongside nuts and mineral undertones. The finish is bold and stays prevalent on the palate for a good thirty seconds or so after exhalation. Through the nose the smoke is astonishingly strong and has tangible texture as it flows through the nostrils. The retrohale is dominated mostly by tangy cedar and orange rinds that both have a slightly floral connotation, as well as bold dose of pepper. Call it silly, but I can’t help but picture imagery of smoke being forcibly ejected from the barrel of a rifle. Strength has been at a firm medium thus far, while both body and flavor are decidedly full. The Laranja excites every region of the palate, and does so with quite potent intensity. It’s fairly easy to declare that the emphasis on of the Laranja is flavor first, which is an approach that I feel isn’t taken quite enough.

Laranja Reserva by Espinosa Cigars

Second Third:

The second third of Erik Espinosa’s latest creation quickly sees a surge in the profiles core cedar note, now becoming the dominating characteristic. The Laranja Reserva is now bursting with flavor, and the finish is notably strong, leaving a clean tangy cedar note. As the cigar progresses through its second third an interesting shift has occurred; all core flavors have had their respective edge relaxed but with no perceptible loss in strength or body. Cedar has become a more prominent, while other new additions are leather undertones and a stronger presence of smoked meat and minerals. The profile is comes across quite similar to the first third, albeit with improved balance and just a bit less bite all-around. The retrohale continues to be absurdly powerful, although it is a bit more smooth due to a decline in pepper.

Laranja Reserva by Espinosa Cigars Review

Final Third:

The biggest shifts to the profile occur into the tail end of the Laranja Reserva. Cedar remains a core focus, however the orange citrus flavors quickly diminish to minimal presence. Emphasis seems to be placed much more on the core meaty flavors - which have also become noticeably smokier. Both on the palate and through the nose the Laranja Reserva has substantially more leather, albeit much more so in terms of texture than flavor. Pepper is less potent outright than earlier on, instead having an effect on the palate of a plain spice. Strength is arguably at its fullest, although it still doesn’t classify as a particularly strong cigar.

Burn and Construction: Laranja Reserva by Espinosa Cigars Review

The Laranja Reserva has good construction, although I wouldn’t write home about it. It’s functional, which is arguably all that really matters. Roll lines, while visible, are flush with the rest of the body. The Brazilian Laranja wrapper does feel a bit on the fragile side, but it has proved to be surprisingly durable. We’re in snowbird season here in AZ, so I find myself driving like a lunatic quite often. The Laranja survived getting thrashed around in my car both in a sealed bag, and in my travel humidor.

As for the Laranja Reserva’s burn - no complaint from my end. The burn-line is strongly influenced by one’s smoking pace, but given a consistent smoking pace the burn-line stays dead even.

Also worth mentioning - the draw on this thing is damn near perfect, at least to my tastes. Smooth, slightly firm and consistent yields voluminous amounts of smoke.


I legitimately can’t think of cigar that was more off my radar than the Espinosa Cigar’s Laranja Reserva. The literal definition of a sleeper for me.

I really, really like this cigar - a lot more than I thought I would. I will go out on a limb and say that I think this cigar will be enjoyed most if one doesn’t overthink it. Make no mistake, the Laranja Reserva has more than adequate complexity and solid balance, but I’d venture to say that focusing too much on its intricacies would be missing the point. The Laranja Reserva shines its brightest when smoked with a hedonistic passion, not as a case study.

It’s rich.

It’s flavorful.

It’s just damn tasty.


Burn : 9/10

Construction : 7/10

Flavor : 9/10

Complexity : 8/10

Balance : 8/10

Overall Enthusiasm : 9/10