Team Cigar Review: Espinosa Knuckle Sandwich 55

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Cigar Details: Espinosa Knuckle Sandwich 55

  • Vitola: Robusto Extra
  • Length: 5.5″
  • Ring Gauge: 55
  • Country of Origin: Nicaragua
  • Wrapper: Mexican San Andrés
  • Binder: Nicaragua
  • Filler: Nicaragua
  • Factory: San Lotano
  • Blender: Hector Alfonso
  • Price: $15.00
  • Release Date: February 2023
  • Source: Espinosa

Aaron-Loomis

 Aaron Loomis

Seth Geise

 Seth Geise

 John McTavish

Pre-light Experience

Aaron: The wrapper on the Espinosa Knuckle Sandwich 55 is dark brown with some raised veins and a fine tooth. The seams are a bit raised and the caps are decently applied. There are three bands, with the primary being the traditional design for the brand. The secondary carries the same color combination and denotes 55. The foot has a gold ribbon. The aroma from the wrapper is a mix of dark earth and cocoa powder while the foot brings sweet cedar and decent level of spice. The pre-light draw brings dry cedar and a light floral note, along with a mild spiciness on my lips.
Seth: The Espinosa Knuckle Sandwich 55 is a great looking cigar with that fantastic oval vitola. Nice soft press, it has this light maduro, very dark natural coloring. Coffee bean color. Nice firmness throughout, there are aromas of barnyard, spices, pepper and tobacco.
John: The Espinosa Knuckle Sandwich 55 comes in cellophane and does not have a UPC sticker. The cigar is triple banded with a Knuckle Sandwich primary band, a ’55’ secondary band and a gold ribbon as a foot band. For additional artisanal complications the cigar also has a soft box press. I weighed the cigar at 18.0 grams, and the humidity as measured by a HumidiMeter Pro was 63.2%. Aromas off the wrapper were sweet tobacco, mild hay, wood and barnyard. Out of the foot, I could detect sweet hay and tobacco.

Espinosa Knuckle Sandwich 55

Espinosa Knuckle Sandwich 55

First Third

Aaron: The cigar begins with toasted oak, dark earth and bold black pepper. At a half inch in, the earth loses the darkness. The retrohale is toasted oak, zingy black pepper and light earth. At an inch and a quarter, the earth is now even with the toasted oak up front. As the third comes to a close, the toasted oak and earth are even up front with the black pepper a bit behind. The strength was slightly above medium.
Seth: The first third starts out with some dry earth qualities that are paired with this cocoa, nutty and white pepper quality. Bits of wood and tobacco as well. Medium-full in strength and body.
John: The first third opened with medium strength spices and tobacco, with wood to follow. A creaminess was present through the retrohale with a more medium-full intensity to the spices and earth on the post draw. Sweet chocolate moves into the center of the profile approaching the halfway point. Some mild tannins join the finish just after that point. By the bottom half, spices and wood combine on the finish and linger on the post draw.

Espinosa Knuckle Sandwich 55

Espinosa Knuckle Sandwich 55

Second Third

Aaron: As the second third begins, the black pepper mellows a fair amount. At a half inch in, a light meatiness joins the profile. The retrohale remains toasted oak, zingy black pepper and light earth. At an inch and a quarter, the black pepper picks back up a bit. As the third comes to a close, the toasted oak and earth are even up front, with black pepper in the middle and light meatiness in the background. The strength remained at slightly above medium.
Seth: The second third delivers this nutty, earth, cocoa, leather and peppery spice profile. Medium-full in strength and body.
John: Spices and wood lead off the second third, with chocolate to follow and a creamy wood combination on the finish. Leather and wood settle into the post draw after a few puffs. Spices and wood define the center of the profile as the cigar progresses to the halfway point.

Espinosa Knuckle Sandwich 55

Espinosa Knuckle Sandwich 55

Final Third

Aaron: As the final third begins, the toast level increases a bit and a light wood bitterness becomes present. At a quarter inch in, the earth takes a slight lead in the profile. The retrohale is now toasted oak and earth with slightly zingy black pepper. As the cigar wraps up, the earth has a slight lead over the toasted oak, with black pepper in the middle and light meatiness and wood bitterness in the background. The strength remained at slightly above medium.
Seth: Leather, wood, earth and tobacco notes on the finish. Mineral and earth qualities as well. Sharp pepper spices. Medium-full in strength and body.
John: Earth greets me in the last third with spices and wood in the center. The retrohale is made up of creaminess and an earthy finish. Mild chocolate is present on the center as it settles in, but is generally being overpowered by the other flavor components. By the bottom half, earth is driving the profile.

Espinosa Knuckle Sandwich 55

Espinosa Knuckle Sandwich 55

Burn

Aaron: The burn line was straight throughout and the ash held on in inch and a half increments.
Seth: Very nice burn from start to finish.
John: Slight waviness to the burn in the first third, and some unevenness in the second third. The burn was straight through the last third. No interventions were required during the review.

Espinosa Knuckle Sandwich 55

Espinosa Knuckle Sandwich 55

Draw

Aaron: The draw was perfect, with just the right amount of resistance that I prefer.
Seth: Nice draw throughout. Somewhat loose in my opinion.
John: The draw had at most one notch of resistance, which makes sense given it’s box pressed. That puts the draw in the ideal spectrum for a perfect draw.

Overall

Aaron: The cigar began with toasted oak, dark earth and bold black pepper. The second third saw a light meatiness join in, and the final third saw some light wood bitterness become present. Construction was absolutely perfect. The Espinosa Knuckle Sandwich 55 started well, with a bold flavor profile, but as the earth picked up and the black pepper fell back, it became average from the second third on. This cigar is about on par with my experience with the Connecticut offering in the line and I don’t see it as something I’d return to with any real frequency.
Seth: I liked the Very dark Natural and it is my second favorite Knuckle Sandwich offering. The oval size is fun and typically smokes great. I haven’t smoked the other vitolas in the Connecticut line, but this is just below the Short Churchill in terms of scoring. This is a nice Mexican offering, and I prefer it over the Habano and Maduro. Dry cocoa, earth, spices, leather and nut qualities throughout. Nice strength and body. Good smoke for the modern smoker.
John: The Espinosa Knuckle Sandwich 55 is unquestionably a more full bodied Espinosa cigar, but it still manages to deliver flavor nuances and some subtlety at times. The last third started out well, but became earth forward as it progressed. The draw and burn were both perfect. I’m generally a fan of the Espinosa blend profiles and the Knuckle Sandwich 55 is no different. Despite being a larger format cigar, I thought it delivered well on flavors and the price point is in line with the current cigar market. I’d happily smoke another one of these again. Total smoking time was 2 hours and 4 minutes.

Aaron
Seth
John
GoodPre
Light
Very GoodPre
Light
Good
GoodFirst
Third
GoodFirst
Third
Good
AverageSecond
Third
GoodSecond
Third
Good
AverageFinal
Third
AverageFinal
Third
Average
AmazingBurnVery GoodBurnAmazing
AmazingDrawGoodDrawAmazing
AverageOverallGoodOverallGood

Aaron Loomis

SCORE

6.10

Cost/Point

$2.46

Scoring System

Seth Geise

SCORE

6.42

Cost/Point

$2.34

Scoring System

John McTavish

SCORE

6.82

Cost/Point

$2.20

Scoring System

Team Cigar Review: Espinosa Knuckle Sandwich 55

John McTavishTeam Cigar Review: Espinosa Knuckle Sandwich 55

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