Trabajador, 5" x 56 ring gauge / $9.55, Burns Downtown
The second new release from Steven Ysidron’s new company, Epicurean Cigars, is the Gonzo. He described it as having “started off as a second thought...somewhat of an edgy, almost trendy cigar I wanted to be really different.” But as the project developed and blends began changing the cigar, it became more of an extension of Steven himself. He has always tried to go his own way and drive the road less traveled, so the cigar became more of a reflection of his life and spirit. This cigar uses four-year aged Jalapa and Condega Nicarguan tobacco (a different combination than the AG). He used two binders again, this time a San Andres Mexican as well as a Nicaraguan Jalapa. The wrapper is Pennsylvania Lancaster Broadleaf that he found in the back of a giant aging room in Esteli. Again, I had an sample of this one prior to release as well as this one I picked up at Burns Downtown.
The Gonza was a solid box press, with an almost square shape, as opposed to the slightly wider than tall rectangular shape most box pressed cigars fall into. The two bands have a bit of visual interest, but I could see how these might get overlooked in the humidor at your local cigar shop, too. The wrapper leaf was spectacular...smooth and a bit velvety, leaving an oily residue on your fingers; the color was a very even dark chocolate hue. Giving the cigar a good sniff, I detected a bit of leather and earth on the wrapper and a strongly pungent earthiness on the foot. The prelight draw was very good and had a very nice mixture earth, coffee and cocoa powder flavors.
Lighting up was an easy task, even with just a single flame torch. I got a strong earthiness right off the bat, with overtones of coffee and a touch of sweet raisin. It was quite the mix of flavors...varied and verging on chaotic, but not quite getting there. Through the nose, I got more black coffee and pepper spice notes. It was medium to full in body at the start and gave every indication that it might actually get moreso before the proceedings were finished. The combination of sweet Broadleaf wrapper and more bitter San Andres binder made for quite the competing flavor profile through the rest of the first third. And actually, they weren't competing so much as working by well together, allowing me to enjoy what I like about Mexican tobacco with a great balancing flavor. I did have to make a minor touchup to the burn line, but that's not all that unusual with Broadleaf.
In the second third the sweeter flavors of the Broadleaf came through even stronger; I got notes of creamy, strong coffee, dried fruit, and cocoa powder over a solid earthy base. There was a little pepper spice in the mix, too, but not a lot. Construction continued to be very good, with an excellent draw and solid ash that held on for an inch or so. Flame had to be applied a couple of times to keep the burn line even, but like I mentioned before...it's Broadleaf and that's to be expected.
There was a solid mix of earthy and sweet flavor in the final third, but it did not display the complexity of flavors I got in the second. In the end, though, I enjoyed the Gonzo very much and would definitely buy it again, even though the price edges a bit toward the high side. Body was in the low end of the full range and nicotine strength was fairly moderate, so while it may not be a good recommendation for newer smokers, almost any other level of smoker would get some enjoyment from this. Congratulations to Steve Ysidron for producing two very good cigars to start off his new company, Epicurean Cigars.