HBTC Review: Espinosa Warzone Robusto

Cameroon is one of those tobacco leaves that we smoke all the time, and maybe don’t really think about. It has been a popular leaf for many decades, and when processed with care it can be an extremely flavorful and distinct element in a premium cigar. In 2019, the people at Espinosa Cigars teamed up with General Cigar to create Warzone. General has a massive supply of Cameroon tobacco, and Erik Espinosa had never made a cigar with this wrapper leaf, so a new partnership was born. Here is Matt’s review of the Warzone Robusto.

In addition to the Robusto size reviewed here, the Espinosa Warzone is also available in a 6 x 52 Toro.

Espinosa Warzone Robusto
MSRP: $8.49
Size: 5.5 x 52
Origin: La Zona (Nicaragua)
Wrapper: Cameroon
Binder: Honduras
Filler: Nicaragua and Colombia

As is common with Cameroon, this cigar has a somewhat dry texture and look to the wrapper leaf. There is a nice medium chestnut color and some prominent vein structure on the surface. It has a very faint cedar aroma, with some dry hay and barnyard at the foot. The cold draw is that same grassy and earthy note.

Act I
The flavors and aromas in the very beginning are dominated by spicy pepper and some notes of campfire. When it starts to mellow out a bit, there is still plenty of spice, but I also get some earthiness and a little bit of sweetness. There’s also a very interesting flavor note that actually reminds me of black tea. The retrohale is no slouch, with plenty of pepper spice and just a faint whisper of sweetness in the background.

Act II
I was starting to wonder if I would ever start to get a good amount of that characteristic flavor that I usually get from Cameroon, and toward the middle of the cigar it starts to get more prominent. Up until now, it was relatively fleeting, with just a dash of it here and there. I get more of it in this middle sections. I’ve always characterized a Cameroon flavor as something that reminds me of Cola. There’s a little tang and a nice sweetness. That is definitely present in this middle section. There is still plenty of spice and earthiness, but there is good balance here. The retrohale is black pepper and some campfire.

Almost as quickly as the Cameroon notes came to the foreground, they slip back under the floorboards, only making the occasional appearance until the end of the cigar. There is a lot of earthiness, and some more of those tea notes from earlier. I also still have the black and red pepper spice as an ever-present note. One interesting note at the end is a kind of brightness that reminds me of lemon or maybe a combo of citrus. That is present on the palate and in the retrohale, along with some more pepper.

With all of the Cameroon wrappers on the market, we sort of went through a decade where Cameroon was perceived to be no longer sexy. Well, the fact is, Cameroon was always sexy, but in a sort of utilitarian way. It is unique and difficult to obtain, and coming into favor once again among the communities of cigar nerds out there. That being said, the Espinosa Warzone is a nice cigar, but in my experience it doesn’t land in all the places I would hope a Cameroon cigar would land. While the prominent flavors were nice, those flavors aren’t Cameroon, and I was hoping for Cameroon to be the flavor in the front. Instead it was subtle and fleeting. It is an enjoyable cigar with good construction and performance, so I think it’s worth everyone trying a few.

Espinosa Warzone Robusto – How Bout That Cigar?
Rating: How Bout A 5er?
Overall Score: 87
PAD: +0.0 (What is PAD?)
Flavor Summary: Pepper Spice, Earth, Wood, Tea
Strength Assessment: Medium
Source: Cigars for this review were purchased by HBT Media LLC

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