Cigar Review: Fonseca Especial

In what could be my last review for a few days with brownouts happening throughout the tri-state region due to the excessive heat I bring to you a review of the Fonseca Especial. As I write this up at 10:30pm for posting in the morning it is 91 degrees outside with temperatures being about 15+ degrees above normal. It’s funny how with the frigid winter we were all saying Al Gore was off his rocker, but now with excessive heat people are once again wondering if he was right on the money with global warming.

I first found out about this cigar at Cigar Expo while talking to Pete Johnson. In the booth next to him was Terrence from Matasa/Quesada and he asked if I was Barry from After being stunned that I was recognized we spoke about the review I did on the Tributo and he mentioned this cigar was coming out in a few weeks and he would love to send me some for review. I told him it wasn’t necessary but I would graciously accept his offer and review them and that is how we got to this point.

Cigar: Fonseca Especial
Size: 6 x 52 (Robusto)
Wrapper: Criollo 98 (Honduras)
Binder: Criollo 98 (Dominican)
Filler: Dominican Ligero
Strength: Full
Facebook: Quesada

Fonseca Especial

Fonseca Especial

Appearance and Construction: The first thing that caught my eye was how much oils were on the wrapper. This cigar looked like it was plucked right out of the Gulf of Mexico (yes, bad pun). Once I looked  past the sheen the wrapper had to offer I began to examine it and was really impressed at the beauty despite having some medium sized veins. The wrapper was also fairly thick so if my teachings are correct it looks like this leaf was a product of a lot of rain. The cap of the cigar was perfectly placed and the density was perfect for a hole punch. There was a dual band system one of which was the classic Fonseca logo the second one denoted it was the Edicion Especial.

Flavor & Notes: I really love a cigar that has this profile on the prelight. The foot offered a sweet molasses with some raisin and spice while the draw offered up raisin and a slight cedar. Once I lit up the cigar I was hit with an onslaught of notes that ranged from spice, coffee and leather. All three of them were fighting for my attention and it really created a wow factor. The ligero was noticed from the get go as this cigar was very much full bodied. As I made my way to the second third of the cigar the spice died down some and the leather kicked it up a notch. In the background the coffee was joined by some notes of dark chocolate that was very much enjoyable. The final third of the cigar turned a little bit bitter but not so much that it was a bad thing. The notes of leather remained and the coffee took on more of an espresso taste with a spicy finish.

Smoking Characteristics: This cigar is a perfect example of needing more then one sample and thankfully I had 5 to smoke. 4 for myself and one for my friend Sonny who has done the occasional review for the site. The first two I smoked I could not keep lit for the life of me. I assume this was due to the cigar being so oily and the abundance of ligero tobacco. So I decided to dry box these for a week. Dry boxing a cigar is keeping in a non-humidified humidor in an attempt to dry them out some. This is no easy task in the summer in the Northeast. But a week in the dry box where the humidity hovered near 45% seemed to do the trick. The last 2 I smoked were perfect. The burn was slow and even but best of all it stayed lit from start to finish. The draw on the dry box versions were perfect where the humidified version was a little bit tight. There wasn’t an over abundance of smoke, but the aroma was pleasant.

Conclusion: At Cigar Expo I told Terrance that the direction of the company has changed the face of Matasa and I for one was very happy with that. The Quesada Tributo and 35th Anniversary was not the brands I had grown to expect from Matasa and the change started back with the Casa Magna. The Fonseca Especial continues to change the face of this cigar company and I suggest you try their cigars if you haven’t already.

Rating: 89
Price: $8.75 MSRP before taxes.

For another opinion check out the review on UBI Cigar.