Over the past couple of weeks I have been telling myself that I wanted to revisit the Esencia line of cigars. I would pick up a couple at Sir Stogies and wind up smoking them before I could get a chance to record the video. This cycle continued until I placed an Esencia into my travel humidor and forgot that it was there. While rooting around for something to review, I came across the cigar that I purchased about two weeks earlier.
Armed with an Esencia 2008, I sat down infront of my computer and checked the Stogie Review Cigar Index to be sure Mike, Jerry, or Brian didn’t sneak in a review while I wasn’t paying attention. Sure enough, the last review of the Esencia was a couple of years old (and to my surprise, I was the last person to review it).
One aspect of this cigar that I was excited about since seeing it at the 2008 IPCPR Convention in Las Vegas was the dated bands. It was explained to us that this was done so that hardcore cigar guys could collect them and be aware of the vintage as years passed and production increased. I loved the idea but am a little confused by it today. Here we are in 2011 and the bands still don the original 2008 date. I can only assume that the blend has not varied enough to warrant creating new bands.
Rumor has it that the only stipulation placed on retailers is that if they want to sell the Esencia, they must also carry the Palio line of cutters. This seems like a reasonable thing to ask, but even so, I see Esencia Cigars less frequently than I do Palio Cutters. As a result, I haven’t had the opportunity to smoke many of these cigars until recently.
Before getting down to business, I began to look over my cigar. In terms of visual flaws, I found a couple of dark patches above the band. These patches looked like water spots and only affected the cigar in a cosmetic way. The coloring was consistent from head to foot and small veins were present. The cap appeared to be rather small and did not extend much beyond the shoulder. While this isn’t typically a sign of trouble, it can sometimes lead to the cap getting stuck to my lip and pulling off at some point.
The aroma on the wrapper was mild and practically indistinguishable. On the foot, however, there was an incredible Spanish Cedar aroma. It was exactly like the smell of a freshly opened humidor. This aroma came through as a pre light flavor after clipping. The pre-light draw was free with little resistance. Giving the cigar a pinch, it felt consistently filled with tobacco from head to foot.
After lighting my cigar, I was greeted with a dense supply of smoke that was anything but lacking. The flavor profile started off a bit muddy but became crisp after about a half inch. From start to finish there were two major flavors. The first was a spicy Nicaraguan Zing, the second was the same Spanish Cedar flavor that I fell in love with while checking the aroma of the foot. These two flavors played off of one another as the stick burned. In the later stages, the Spanish Cedar took the lead and remained in that position to the very end. Digging deep and getting beyond the two main flavor was difficult but I did notice a dry and bitter walnut flavor from time to time.
When it came to the burn, this Esencia was not the best one to review. For the first time with the line I experienced a hole in the filler which reduced smoke volume and density while throwing off the flavor profile. In time I was able to burn beyond the problem and things were back to normal. Because this was the first time experiencing this problem with the Esencia line, I chalked it up as a fluke. Beyond the troubled area, the burn line was relatively thin and even while producing a firm ash.
When it was all said and done, the Esencia was a medium to full bodied cigar which was full flavored. Coming in at just under $7.00 for the Corna Gorda, I think this cigar is reasonably priced and a fine example of a boutique cigar. Even though I ran into some burn problems, I won’t hold it against the line and plan to continue purchasing them just as long as my local retailer keeps them in stock. In the event that you stumble onto a Palio dealer, check out the humidor and see if you can purchase an Esencia. I don’t think you will be disappointed.