Trick question. Right now, Erik Espinosa appears to be everywhere all at once. First and foremost a family-run business, Espinosa Cigars offers at least 17 regular production options for every level of enthusiast. Their website lists a combined 12 limited and/or exclusive cigars, but they’re more focused on making cigars than updating websites…so their accomplishments are more numerous than even they let on. Like the Henry Rollins of cigars, Erik just shows up to do the work without ever dedicating a moment’s thought to the glow or the glamour that others typically associate with being at the top of one’s game.
In an industry where many try to appear larger than they are and where websites are frequently built to sell the best story rather than the best cigar, Espinosa lets their cigars tell us everything we need to know. Looking at the site, no mention exists of the successful Warzone collaboration with General Cigars, of any of the Comfortably Numb offerings, or even of the most recent Knuckle Sandwich cigars released in partnership with Guy Fieri. Something else noticeably absent is the Laranja Reserva Escuro. That last one stands out to me because as far as I know, it is the only one of four Espinosa blends in recent memory to have showcased Brazilian tobacco – one, the Laranja DeSocio Alliance Exclusive, was released in 2016. 2019 brought the Laranja Escuro and Murcielago B.S.C. Brazil, also replacing the wrappers of existing cigars. In 2021 the Azulejo was added to the Laranja Reserva lineup, this one utilizing Brazilian Arapiraca for its binder. To my knowledge, there have not been Espinosa releases built from the ground up around Brazilian tobacco.
One of the inquiries made to every cigar maker Cigar Public speaks with is is if there are any places they’re traveling to in search of something new or different to work with. Surprisingly, most have no problem sharing at least in generalities. They’re not going to share coordinates that would invite an industry full of attention, obviously, but they’re by and large excited for more people to know where and what is going on in the industry. Erik shared that he’s going to be looking at more land to grow wrapper for the Escuro iteration of the Laranja.
Seizing on the moment, a question was posed to him asking if anything else was going to be a priority during his time there. In an exciting development, he revealed that he’ll also be exploring other Brazilian leaves to work with. Whether they result in alterations of existing blends or in their very own formats, or not being implemented at all, it’s really amazing getting another view into the inner workings of this craft. Cigars offer so many of us common ground on which to stand and find other shared interests. Updates like this one from Espinosa keep us informed and encourage us to stay educated – neither of which are bad for cigar culture.
I’ll keep on saying it – the more we as consumers get to see of the entire process, the deeper our connections will be with those products and the people who make them. Nobody tells Espinosa what to do, which makes all the effort he puts in that much more impressive.
Do you have a favorite Espinosa blend? Is Brazilian tobacco something you’re excited about? I’d love to know in the comments below!