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Cigar Review: Sensei’s Sensational Sarsaparilla II

Sensei’s Sensational Sarsaparilla II

 

 

 

 

 

From the dusty, cobblestone roads of an undisclosed crossroads of the 19th century, rolls a street peddler. A man poised to introduce Western civilization to the urbane luxuries of the modern era.

Among the staple assortment of tonics, elixirs, rudimentary oils and novelties one would expect to find from this traveling monger, lies a savory concoction of a different sort… The untamed West is soon to be acquainted with the intoxicating invigorator known as Sensei’s Sensational Sarsaparilla II.

 

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Much in the same way, cigar enthusiasts were introduced to the Sarsaparilla II’s predecessor in the fall of 2014. This cigar, dubbed Sensei’s Sensational Sarsaparilla, featured a 5½” x 52 belicoso vitola, showcasing such an unusual flavor profile that the cigar would go on to bear its name.

The cigars were an early adapter of the now-abundant paper-wrapped bundles, with 10 cigars per pack. A single retailer was selected to carry Sarsaparilla (Famous Smoke Shop), selling over 500 bundles in the first day—eventually depleting the stock within a month. In early 2016, a previously-undiscovered allotment of 40 bundles of “Sassy” cigars were offered to the public, selling out within minutes.

 

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This was only the precursor to Sensei’s Sensational Sarsaparilla II. The very same, distinctive blend, crafted within the walls of Espinosa’s famed La Zona factory in Estelí, Nicaragua, has returned for the highly-anticipated release of Sarsaparilla II.

For the cigar’s return, new packaging has been commissioned, showcasing updated artwork for the cigar’s bundles, as well as altered band designs, helping to distinguish the Sarsaparilla II from the original release.

“The original Sarsaparilla is still one of my favorite cigars, and we get begged by folks to re-release it constantly,” said Eric Guttormson (AKA, “Master Sensei” of Cigar Dojo). “But we didn’t want to simply remake the original, we wanted to make it a unique experience. The new toro size seems to be the perfect fit for the blend and, as always, the Espinosa team nailed it!”

 

  • APPEARANCE

The Mexican San Andres wrapper is toothy with notable seam and vein. Milk chocolate in color the vitola has a wide open foot and a rounded cap. The singular band is dark glossy brown with gold trim that runs the length of the band. Across the front in solid gold font reads “Sensei’s Sensational Sarsaparilla” in offsetting sizes.

The bottom reads the factory name where it is produced “La Zona”, with a cool looking Cigar Dojo symbol along the back to round out the motif. Pre-Light smell produced aromas of leather, slight barnyard and cedar. The cold draw produced flavors of sweet natural tobacco and slight leather.

  • FIRST LIGHT

Upon toasting the foot there is a distinct warm sweet cedar aroma. First light produced flavors of light orange peel with a gritty peppery taste. Sweet flavors of cream, molasses and chocolate notes similar to the chocolate taste in the candy “Flicks”.

Black pepper is present at medium levels. The retro is producing low level white pepper evolving into nuances of toffee sweetness.

  • CRUISE CONTROL BURN

At cruise control burn the vitola thus far has a consistent sweetness on each draw. Flavors of licorice root and cinnamon with nuances of honey are producing a dark rich spice, relatable to the dark rich spice found in “Not Your Fathers Root Beer”.

Black pepper has tapered to a milder level giving the Sarsaparilla II a long sweet and spicy enjoyable finish. The retro is producing low level white pepper evolving into flavors of burnt toffee.

“Flavors of licorice root and cinnamon with nuances of honey”

  • FINAL THIRD

Entering into the final duration the vitola is still producing a consistent underlying sweetness of rich dark spice that’s relatable to high end Root Beer. Flavors of sassafras, clove, licorice root and cinnamon have amped up in the shorter length of the final third as the cigar burn is slightly hotter.

Chocolate notes with hints of coffee and sweet cedar. All remnants of black pepper have disappeared, however the dark rich spices being produced are keeping the Sarsaparilla II at a straight medium level. The retro is still producing white pepper evolving into flavors of burnt toffee.

  • CONSTRUCTION/STRENGTH

The construction of the Sarsaparilla II was very solid! I’ve burned through half my bundle compiling notes for review and every example burned consistent, producing the same flavors time after time. The burn line was wavy at times but would always semi corrected itself without need of touch up’s.

The draw on the v-cut had the perfect amount of resistance producing huge amounts of aromatic smoke. The ash was gritty but compact, at times a few of the vitolas flowered at different durations of the cigar, but posing no construction issues.

The strength of the Sarsaparilla II was in the solid MEDIUM BODIED range producing consistent and balanced flavors on all examples smoked for review. This cigar would pair perfectly with anything morning, noon or night, grab a bundle before there gone for good.

 

NOTABLE FLAVORS

  • Light Orange Peel
  • Gritty Black Pepper/Mild
  • Chocolate (Flicks)
  • Licorice Root
  • Cinnamon
  • Honey
  • Sassafras
  • Clove
  • Coffee
  • Sweet Cedar
  • Retro producing low level White Pepper evolving into flavors of Burnt Toffee

 

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Bundle Purchased From: Famous Smoke Shop

Cigars Smoked For Review: 5

Cigar Smoke Rate: 90

Size: 6 x 50 Toro

Wrapper: Mexican San Andrés

Binder: N/A (Sarsaparilla Blend)

Filler: N/A (Sarsaparilla Blend)

Retail Price: $89.99 per bundle

Factory: La Zona (Nicaragua)

Production: Limited Edition (1,000 bundles of 10 cigars)

Original Release Date: October 21, 2016

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