The Gonzo Santeria is the fourth release by Steven Ysidron’s Epicurean Cigars. Epicurean is infamous for its small batch, Nicaraguan blends using top-quality, aged tobaccos. In 1999 Ysidron and his family started producing cigars out of Nicaragua, but his roots originated in Dominican Republic where he and his father made cigars with the Fuente family since the late 1980s.
I have had my eye on this Nicaraguan flame ever since Gary Griffith of House of Emilio sent her over to me about a month ago. But, it wasn’t until I joined a conversation about her at Hoboken Cigars in Hoboken, NJ a couple of weeks ago that convinced me to take her out for a few cocktails.
The boys at the lounge were correct. This dame really had it going on. From the moment I picked her up from the humidor I fell in love. She greeted me wearing nothing more than her dark, succulent San Andres Maduro wrapper and a skimpy band that allowed plenty of her somewhat toothy, slightly oily flesh to lure me in like the bedroom eyes of a jezebel. Her firm 6 x 52 box-pressed body revealed small veins and visible wrapper seams, but it was her cute little pigtailed cap that caught my eye. Her name “Santeria” was emblazoned across her band as a prideful tribute to her family’s hard work.
Underneath her flesh she was packing a double binder comprised of another San Andres Mexican leaf coupled with a Nicaraguan Jalapa leaf. Her aged, 2009 Nicaraguan fillers came from the Jalapa and Condega regions of the country. Her wrapper emitted an amorous perfume of rich cocoa and spice that was absolutely intoxicating while her foot gave off a bit more spice along with cocoa and a touch of earth.
After a little small talk, I discovered that her name, “Santeria” derives from a “cult religion” in the Caribbean and her father, Steven Ysidron named her after the “cult”. Hmmmmm, sexy and mysterious, this Latina is perfect. I love a dark, devious gal with a little “bad girl” streak in her. Now my curiosity really got to the best of me so I whipped out my cutter and gently snipped her cap before massaging her foot with a touch of warm butane. Our foreplay got her fired up and primed for action.
Santeria definitely welcomed my advances because our opening kiss was delightful to say the least. She released
savory flavors of espresso, earth and a dollop of spice that created a memorable profile that still lingers in my mind as I write this today. The blend of flavors was extraordinary. I think it was the subtle hint of spice coupled with the earth and espresso that romanticized the moment. As the first third of our tryst progressed so did her offerings. She continued with the earth, espresso and spice, but added a touch of dried fruit notes to the profile.
The construction on this dame was top-notch with a great draw. I didn’t have to work too hard to taste her flavors, but she wasn’t exactly giving away anything either. I loved the feel in my mouth of the body on this slightly toothy, box-pressed dame. The burn started out a little crooked but straightened itself out and remained straight for the duration of the burn. Her ash was nice, a little loose, but pleasant on the eyes. It was light gray, almost white in color and held on for almost two inches before depositing itself in my lap.
The second third of our night was pleasurable and savory. Santeria kept things fun with her smooth balance of espresso, cocoa and earth flavors that dominated the profile during the middle portion of our evening together, but it was her long, spicy finish that kept me coming back for more. The dried fruit that I tasted in our opening kisses faded away, but I didn’t care because she made up for it. Santeria started to envelope my palate with a thick, creamy
texture that was a pleasant compliment to an already tasty gal.
The final third of our night was emotional. It was extremely difficult to say goodbye to this heartthrob, especially since she sent me off with unforgettable memories and a burning passion for more. She completed our affair with a lot of earth on breath. At this point earth was the dominant flavor with a lot more spice than earlier. The espresso and cocoa were still present, but clearly in the background.
I honestly fell in love with Santeria. Her flavors were so balanced and so perfect I couldn’t get enough of her. She had a very pleasant flavor profile that was tailor-made for my palate. Her profile of espresso, earth, cocoa and spice was far from unique; however, each worked harmoniously to produce one of the most amazing balances of flavor that I have had in a long time. I think it was the aged tobacco that really did it for me. It added that much more to the remarkable blend. There were no harsh or bitter tastes at any time during the smoke, and coupled with the cool burn, this was a nubber for sure.
The strength wasn’t overpowering by any means in fact, I would categorize her as a Latina of medium-strength who packed more flavor than strength. I would definitely recommend this cigar to a newbie or seasoned veteran because the complexity will be appreciated by the experienced smoker while the newbie will be dazzled by the balance and not overpowered by the strength. Pick one up soon because this is a limited release with just 450 total boxes produced.
Made by Epicurean Cigars
Wrapper: San Andres, Mexico – Maduro
Binder: Double – San Andres Mexico and Jalapa, Nicaragua
Filler: Nicaragua – Jalapa and Condega
Price: $11 USD