When the dark, San Andrés-wrapped Murcielago brand debuted in 2009, it only lasted about a year and a half before production came to a halt and the brand went dormant. Now, Erik Espinosa of Espinosa Premium Cigars is bringing it back, and it has a bold new design.
At the time of its inception, Murcielago was owned by Espinosa and Eddie Ortega, then partners of the defunct United Tobacco. It was made by José "Pepin" Garcia in Nicaragua. When Espinosa and Ortega split from the Garcias, they took the rights to the Murcielago brand with them, but the Garcias kept the blend.
Eventually, Espinosa and Ortega dissolved United Tobacco, divided up the brand portfolio and went their separate ways. Espinosa ended up with Murcielago, but never knew the precise tobacco formula.
"Working with the Garcias, they never revealed the blend," said Espinosa during a visit to Cigar Aficionado's office. "I'd tell them what I wanted and they gave me samples but the brand was successful, so it didn't seem to matter."
Left with only a general idea of the blend, Espinosa took a few old Murcielagos and sat down with Amilcar Perez-Castro, co-owner of the TaviCusa factory in Nicaragua. Together, they reverse engineered the cigars. They cut them open and smoked the components until they were confident that they had identified the tobaccos and the proportions.
"We had to recreate the blend," said Espinosa. "There was a lot of ligero and the tobacco from that time came mostly from Aganorsa. I already knew that. It was the proportions that we had to figure out."
According to Espinosa, they determined the Murcielago formula with 100 percent accuracy. Now, it's made at Espinosa's La Zona factory in Nicaragua and coming back to the market, with the same dark, Mexican San Andrés wrapper and Nicaraguan tobacco.
Though the box and band has been changed, Murcielago still has the same black-and-red bat motif (murcielago being Spanish for bat), however, it's been updated and modernized.
Murcielago will come in three box-pressed sizes: Noir, 5 inches by 52 ring gauge; La Lune, 6 1/2 by 54; and Nocturne, 5 1/2 by 56. Prices have yet to be established but will be determined by July at this year's IPCPR trade show.
This story first appeared in the May 5, 2015 issue of Cigar Insider.