Looking back throughout the history of cigars the industry hasn’t seen many successful celebrity collaborations. One can make the argument that the Erik Espinosa collaboration with Guy Fieri might be the most successful to date. Originally announced in January of 2022 the cigar would make it’s debut at TPE in Las Vegas the following month.
Surprisingly the cigar isn’t made at La Zona, the Erik Espinosa owned factory in Esteli, Nicaragua. Instead the cigar is being produced at the San Lotano factory owned by AJ Fernandez.
Cigar Review: Knuckle Sandwich
Size: Toro H (6 x 54)
Wrapper: Ecuador Habano
Debut: February 2022
Box Count: 20
Final Smoking Time: 1 hour 58 minutes
The Look: A gorgeous looking Habano wrapper adorns this cigar with a nice amount of oils and minimal veins. The vibrant band features a stylish looking chef skull inside a star with tobacco leaves beneath. The cigar is rounded out with a black foot band. In the hand the cigar feels like velvet with no soft spots and an average weight.
The Taste: The cold reveals notes of almonds and cookie dough with a touch of cedar while to foot has a manure like aroma to it. While this might not sound pleasing it is the highest compliment one can pay towards the tobacco and fermentation process.
After cutting and toasting the cigar the Epinosa Knuckle Sandwich is a flavor bomb from Flavortown. Notes of chocolate and espresso instantly develop with hints of cherries and graham. The retrohale introduces some spices while enhancing the graham on the finish.
In the second third the espresso remains the dominant flavor profile with some cocoa in the background. As we cross over the halfway point a toasted oak begins to develop with a lingering graham on the finish. The retrohale has a salt and pepper attribute to is. I can’t help but think this cigar would pair exceptionally well with a toasted barrel bourbon.
The final third has the cherry sweetness return taking on a delicious black cherry like flavor profile. There remains notes of espresso, toasted oak, graham and a very faint cocoa. The finish is moderate in length with salt and pepper remaining on the retrohale.
Conclusion: Erik Espinosa went from cigar representative, to brand owner, to factory owner. A remarkable 25 year career with his brand Espinosa launching in 2012. A ferocious Domino player I had the opportunity to play with him and against him. I learned quickly that his washing (shuffling) of the dominoes were part of his success with many low numbers winding up in his hand.
There are no tricks however in his cigars and he has continually produced some incredible brands such as 601, La Bomba, Murcielago, Laranja and more. The Knuckle Sandwich is available in three wrapper formats (Maduro, Habano and Connecticut) as well has three limited editions; Chef’s Special, Prix Fixe and Fifty-Five. According to the company Guy Fieri was heavily involved in the blending process along side Erik Espinosa and his master blender Hector Alfonso.
The Knuckle Sandwich is a must have on the menu, and its definitely worth of a purchase.
Price: $13.50 (Before any local or state taxes)