After returning from a trip to Greece and Turkey, where I enjoyed a variety of Turkish and Cuban cigars, I am ready to return to an old friend: The Laranja Reserva.
BACKGROUND: Laranja Reserva was released in 2014 and is made by Erik Espinosa at his factory in Esteli Nicaragua: the La Zona Cigar Factory. Erik has released many other masterpieces from this factory, my favorites being the Espinosa Maduro, the 601 La Bomba series, the La Zona Habano, and the Alibi – an exclusive blend which can be found only in Espinosa lounges.
–Wrapper: Brazilian “Laranja” habano (Laranja is Portuguese for ‘orange’ and explains the orange hue of the wrapper leaf and the lovely color-coordinated band)
–Body: Medium/Full. I don’t recommend this to new smokers because of the nicotine content and the overall strength, but experienced smokers should enjoy this smooth cigar again and again….
CUTTING/ THE PRE-LIGHT DRAW/ LIGHTING: I like to use the deep-V cut on all of my cigars.
The pre-light draw on the Laranja is perfect. As I put it to my lips, I don’t need to suck on it over and over to get a good draw; the flavors immediately flow into my mouth. Subtly, sweetly over my lips. It doesn’t need to be rolled between my fingers because there are rarely any hard sections that need to be worked out. It feels perfect from the outset. I love to feel this cigar in my hand, the way the wrapper rubs along my fingers, the bumps and veins, the rough texture, the oils against my skin. Prior to lighting, I draw in the aroma of this cigar as it will have a different scent after I light it. I deeply inhale, taking a long, lingering, sensual sniff up the entire length, drawing in the scent as my nose reaches the exposed foot, inhaling the mixture of amazing organic aromas. The notes of citrus that originate from the wrapper are heavenly on my tongue. MMMmmmmm….take it in….
After my Laranja is lit, I hold the cigar to my wet lips and gently draw the smoke into my mouth. I hold the smoke in my mouth for a few seconds to fully taste it on my palate, and then I slowly release. This cigar produces a lot of smoke on the exhale. I can’t help but appreciate the smooth flavor at this point, experiencing the flavors of citrus upon my tongue.
THE BURN/ THE DRAW/ THE ASH/ RETRO-HALING: The burn of the Laranja is flawless. Each time I smoke one the burn line is even from beginning to end. I usually leave a cigar after using them 3/4 of the way through (like some men I have known), but this is one of the few cigars that I smoke until there is nothing left to hold on to (like some other men I have known). It has an easy draw that allows the smoke to enter my mouth gently and effortlessly.
With the cigar fully lit, the Laranja presents my palate with something for all of my senses: I hear the strike of the match and the crackle as it lights; feel the long hard cigar tightly in my hand; smell the aromas as the smoke leaves my body and enters the room; taste the smoke as it lingers in my mouth; see the color and length of the ash as the cigar burns beautifully down its shaft. The ash is mostly white in color and falls off into the ashtray in firm chunks, which is how a cigar should ash. This is beneficial if I am wearing a white silk dress while smoking.
Retro-haling: I retro-hale this cigar in the first-third as it is a bit smoother on my nasal passages. I prefer to do it slowly so I can feel the smoke and the notes of pepper as it moves through my body.
STRENGTH/ BODY/ FLAVOR/ PURGING: The Laranja starts out in the medium category for strength and body, but as I move through the second third, it becomes full bodied and medium to full strength. The flavor is an uninterrupted, ever-changing experience which embraces all my senses. The flavors in the Laranja are diverse and they evolve as I smoke it. It kicks off with notes of citrus and pepper, and as I move into the second third, the cedar and spice join together and continue in the background. This cigar does not need to be purged, as it does not accumulate a buildup of harsh flavors. I don’t want harsh flavors in my mouth when sitting in a cigar shop, though sometimes that happens at home when I have something else in my mouth…
PAIRING: As you can see in the photo above featuring M&M’s, the flavor of this cigar is enhanced by chocolate. I place two M&M’s in my warm mouth, let them melt, and then continue to smoke. The tastes blend exquisitely in my mouth. MMMmmm…..
RAMONA’S FINAL: Erik Espinosa has produced some excellent cigars from the La Zona factory, but the Laranja is my favorite. It is definitely worthy of a box purchase to enjoy at home. It one of my personal favorites to slowly savor on my balcony after a stressful day. Erik has extended an invitation to his friends at Allegheny Smokeworks to come to Nicaragua and see how his cigars are blended and rolled. I hope to be a part of this excursion this winter.
This cigar is smooth and encompasses all my senses…. MMMMmmmmmmm……….. Love,Ramona