*Editors note: This is not our normal blind review process, this is a quick review of a known cigar.
The collaboration between Guy Fieri and Espinosa Premium Cigars known as the Knuckle Sandwich got a new limited edition line extension at this years PCA Trade Show: Espinosa Knuckle Sandwich Chef’s Special. This new cigar is the third blend in the line, and is distinctly different from the original Habano and Maduro lines. The Espinosa Knuckle Sandwich Chef’s Special comes in just one size, a 6 1/2 x 52 box-pressed figurado.
The blend uses an Ecuadorian Habano Rosado wrapper, with Nicaraguan binder and filler. Only 2,500 boxes of10 were produced for a total of 25,000 cigars. Each cigar has an MSRP of $15. Like the rest of the line, it is rolled at A.J. Fernandez’s San Lotano Factory in Ocotal, Nicaragua.
Vitola: Figurado Length: 6.5″ Ring Gauge: 52 Country of Origin: Nicaragua Wrapper: Ecuadorian Habano Rosado Binder: Nicragua Filler: Nicaragua Factory: San Lotano Blender: Hector Alfonso Sr., Erik Espinosa, Guy Fieri Price: $15.00 Age: 5 Months Release Date: November 2022
Pre-Light Notes – Espinosa Knuckle Sandwich Chef’s Special
Gorgeous brown-wrapped figurado. Flawless wrapper. The same band as the regular edition but has a gold foot band. Cigar has a nice weight to it and I am really digging the size/shape! Not a ton of aroma on the wrapper. Light sweet notes.
This beautiful cigar is a large double figurado with a wrapper that feels soft to the touch and has a few prominent veins showing. The wrapper smells a bit musty with some earth tones in the background, while the pre-light draw adds a nice pecan note. It feels very well constructed with a nice give when squeezed and good dry draw resistance, especially for a figurado.
First third lights and it’s very medium at best. Getting notes of wood. More like a charred oak taste. Light pepper on the retro. Still mostly light wood notes with still little touch or pepper on the retro. Minor touch ups needed. Got a bit of tar. Recut a bit more. Draw really opens up.
The first puffs have a bit of black pepper along with some fresh hay and leather. Further in, the hay turns into a nice charred oak flavor and the pecan flavor sticks around for a nice combo.
As the cigar begins to transition into the second third I am continuing to pick up the same wood notes and the cigar is still medium at best. Very smooth. Start to get a bit of sweetness almost a butterscotch.
This third has evolved nicely, not a dramatic shift, but a balancing. The charred oak is more subtle and the leather has come to the front. The pecan flavor has been replaced with a nice creaminess that completes the combo. The burn and draw have been just about perfect throughout producing lots of smoke. Towards the end of the third, the creaminess really takes over and takes this cigar to a whole next level.
Final third continues the theme of the first two thirds but the strength ramps up to a medium-full and the body is still fairly medium. Burn has been fantastic since that one touch up. The sweet notes I got from the second third are taking lead in this as they get a touch stronger. No other transitions as the cigar finishes.
This newfound creamy profile is fantastic as it compliments the lingering oak and leather flavors. There is just a hint of spice on the finish that makes every puff magical. The draw remains prefect as it closes out and the cigar burns cool to the end. This was a wonderful third.
Overall Thoughts – Espinosa Knuckle Sandwich Chef’s Special
As I finish this Chef’s special edition I am trying to place it in the overall line and which I like best. I think this falls in between the Maduro/Habano that was initially released. Great construction and the flavor notes I picked up were nice. I wish the cigar had a bit more richness to it but overall it was a great cigar. If I could get the maduro in this size I would be in heaven.
The Knuckle Sandwich maduro might be my favorite cigar of the last year, and this one comes close to it. It is more refined, but without the power and spice that define the Knuckle Sandwich Maduro. I only have one of these cigars and I can’t wait to pick up more to age and enjoy. This collaboration between Espinosa and Guy Fieri knocks it out of the park at every opportunity, and everyone should try a Knuckle Sandwich whether it’s this one, or one of the other options.
The Knuchle Sandwich maduro might be my favorite cigar of the last year, and this one comes close to it. It is more refined, but without the power and spice that define the Knuckle Sandwich Maduro. I only have one of these cigars and I can't wait to pick up more to age and enjoy. This collaboration between Espinosa and Guy Fieri knocks it out of the park at every opportunity, and everyone should try a Knuckle Sandwich whether it's this one, or one of the other options.