Behind The Stick:
If you are familiar with Erik Espinosa or Eric Guttormson, better known as Master Sensei from the Cigar Dojo App have joined together in what can only be described as a ‘unique’ cigar. Boasting a Mexican San Adres wrapper with all other intricacies being omitted, the Sarsaparilla came into being when Eric contacted Erik to create a cigar that would honor the what they called the warm, full and complex flavor of the old-west Sarsparilla – a popular soft drink that was even considered to be an ailment for certain blood and skin issues. When approached for elaboration on the contents of the cigar, I was directed back to the publicly released statement “blended with some of the most flavorful and interesting tobacco you will ever smoke”. For the regular viewers of The Cigar Nut you know that I am a huge fan of almost everything that Erik puts out on the market, to say that I have been anticipating this cigar would be an understatement! The marketing hype sounds good – lets dig in and see what the Sarsaparilla has to offer!
Size: 5 1/2 x 52 Belicoso
Wrapper: Mexican San Andres
Binder and Filler: Undisclosed
Price: $79 per 10 ct Bundle
Factory / Country of Origin: La Zona/ Esteli, Nicaragua
Release Type: Limited
Release Date: October 2014
One thing that turned me into an Erik Espinosa fan was that whenever I would smoke any of his cigars, I kept commenting on how well made they are. Evenly packed from head to foot with just the slightest amount of give at the foot, this belicoso shaped cigar is not only constructed well but also has some character to it. The dark brown hued Mexican San Adres wrapper has a thick and toothy look and feel, the gold letting on the band is overlayed on a background similar in color to the wrapper is strikingly differentiated by a white top and bottom borders to the band. The burn was fairly even, an irregularity that again added more chartacter to the cigar rather than detracting with re-lights, loss of flavor or construction issues.
Reading the packaging and marketing material, I kept focusing on the word ‘unique’ when used to describe the flavor and while it was very convoluted prior to smoking, after having a chance to experience the Sarsaparilla I have to concur, it is quite ‘unique’. Starting with the classic Nicaraguan push, a light yet spicy pepper builds on this backbone offering a semi-sweet note that reminded me of Sambuca, almost like black liquorish. Very unique indeed. The 2nd third broke away from this semi-sweet Sambuca and pepper start and opened to a creamy, nutty and wood based note – the flavor profile remaining fairly consistent while the feel of the smoke itself became thicker making the flavors stand out a bit more prominently. The Sarsaparilla ended it’s life by sharing a robust coffee, nut and wood flavor, the finish lingering on the taste buds and being revitalized with each lick of the lips.
As I said earlier, I am a fan of almost anything that Erik Epinosa puts on the market so when I heard that this cigar was not only the 3rd installment from the folks at Cigar Dojo but a collaboration with Erik as well – I pre-ordered 2 bundles as fast as the internet allowed me to! Over and over I heard this cigar described as ‘unique’ – a term that so often is used in a politically correct way to detail or sarcastically give a compliment – I was hesitant that this cigar may not live up to the hype or my own personal expectations. After having the pleasure of smoking a few, I will agree that the flavor profile is very unique indeed and perhaps was given the term unique as the specific profile you taste while smoking is not quite like anything else on the market. There are hints and similarities but there a specific semi-sweet Sambuca flavor ( similar to black liquorish ) that slightly showed itself during the first third, moderately during the second third and only a teaser at the end – while this distinct flavor was right up my alley, I know there are some who simply do not enjoy that profile.
While I personally went after 2 bundles as soon as I heard about them I know that there are others who just will not fall for this cigar the same way that I did. I highly recommend going out and picking up at least a pair and giving them a try, although if you can I would enjoy one now and save the rest for a few months to see what some age can do for them. I feel they are good now but will be great with just a little bit of time. If you have had a chance to smoke one please let us know your thoughts!
Every Cigar Has A Story, Every Smoke A Memory