Wrapper:  Mexican San Andres
Binder:  Nicaraguan
Filler:  Nicaraguan
Brand:  Ezra Zion
Factory:  Tabacos Valle de Jalapa S.A.
Price Range:  $11-$14
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If you’ve been following @cigarnoise on Instagram or in the CigarNoise app, you know that I’m loving Ezra Zion lately.  Their cigars hit my palette of a palate like Doc Holliday at 10 meters.  Rather than list out some Q&A from Chris and Kyle at the end of this post, I figure I’ll go ahead and drop it right here.

What can we expect from Ezra Zion next?

We should have several B&M releases this year as well as some limited edition stuff. We don’t like to go into specifics about timing because tobacco drives the process. Cigars don’t get released until they’re ready! Also, with we use multiple factories and each has their own idiosyncrasies. With tobacco, manufacturing, boxes, bands, customs, shipping, etc. a lot can go wrong and delay a cigar.

That being said, in our opinion we have some of the best cigars we’ve ever done just resting and waiting.

Any chance of re-releasing some of the sold out micro-releases such as the Bees Knees, Fried Chicken, Burnt Ends, etc?

No. We like limited edition stuff primarily because it allows us to use small amounts of really great tobacco that wouldn’t be enough for a regular production cigar release. We don’t want to “get close” to the original blend and then pawn it off as the genuine thing. Just not our thing.
We may do some line extensions of these releases because, really, who doesn’t like Fried Chicken?

Which region is your favorite tobacco coming out of right now? As we saw the shift to San Andres a little while ago, do you foresee another shift in the near future?

Our favorite tobacco is Nicaraguan from all regions. Every region has it’s own character and personality. As far as shifts go, I will predict that there will be a shift toward Cuban tobacco. We recently got a chance to work with some really great Cuban stuff. In the past, Cuban really wasn’t that great in our opinion. We are on record as say as much. But, I’ve got to give honor where it’s due…this Cuban stuff was amazing. Who knows…it may pop up in a limited edition EZ someday??

I enjoy Ezra Zion because I love a smooth, flavorful cigar with lots of character. How would you describe your brand to someone that’s never heard of it before?

I think you described it great. The one thing we hate is a bland cigar. It has to be huge on the Flav-O-meter! Our cigars should make your mouth water, be full of wonderful flavors and be perfectly balanced.

Also, we blend our cigars for Nose and Finish. You gotta retrohale and EZ cigar to get the full scope of the blend. The finish of the cigar is what you remember. A clean long tasty finish is what we are always after.

You can’t miss the EZ band – it definitely stands out. Is there more going on behind the scenes than meets the eye?

The original “winged” EZ logo is a homage to two of our children that passed on. My wife and I lost a son during pregnancy named Ezra. Chris and his wife lost their daughter shortly after birth. Her name was Coco Zion. That was right around the time that we were starting the company. We thought it would be a cool thing to put there names together as tribute…Ezra Zion. So the band has the 2 angels on it. And it’s set in an Ark of the Covenant motif with the wings touching. It’s a way we get to share our Christian faith through our cigars.

Is there a common concept, ideology, or theme that ties all of your blends together?

Our approach is really simple. 3 things:

1. We care about the people who smoke our cigars!

2. Make every car better than the last one.

3. We only do things that are FUN!

We really do care about the people who buy and smoke our cigars. We want to serve them well! That comes from our faith. We feel like we reap what we sow, and if we love our neighbor as ourself we’ll make great cigars for them. After all, I don’t want to smoke any nasty sticks! lol.

Is there anything you’d like our readers or members to know about your brand? Ezra Zion gets a lot of love in the Cigar Noise app, I’m sure any knowledge from you guys would be much appreciated.

Main thing we want to let people know about is our Ezra Zion App. It’s available for iPhone and Android. We developed it because it was the best way to stay connected to folks smoking our cigars. We have EzraTV on there, which are some great videos and behind the scenes stuff. We also have Ezra Zion Boutique Coffee and Ezra Zion Beard & Stache. Again, this is doing the things that we enjoy and sharing them with our fellow BOTL and SOTL.

Also, the push notifications from the App is the first way we alert our fans about new cigar releases. So they are the first to know!!

As we’re seeing more shifts to limited editions from core lines, what role do you feel (if any) that Ezra Zion played in that?

I don’t think our tiny little company has any sway on the industry as a whole. We are a pebble in the ocean. I think on a larger scale the scarcity of really quality tobacco is growing. There are a lot more companies competing for it. So, a great crop that would’ve gone into a multi-year production of one blend is now being bought up quickly by many companies to use. The limited amount causes the limited editions. At least that’s what we are seeing.

Lastly, what obstacles or hurdles (if any) does Ezra Zion face in bringing cigars to the shelf?

Only obstacle we face is the dang government! Taxes and the pending FDA regulation will absolutely destroy this industry. If we can win this fight I think the boutique cigar boom we are seeing will continue.

Ezra Zion Eminence – First Thoughts

This wrapper is nothing short of beautiful.  It’s toothy, dark, and oily.  The foot gives off a sweet, chocolatey aroma while the wrapper yields something along the lines of cedar and earth.  Directly from the Ezra Zion website, we learn that the Eminence uses Nicaraguan tobacco that’s been aged 5-7 years with a San Andres wrapper.

Ezra Zion Eminence Review | CigarNoise

Also, the wrapper is thick!  Usually I’ll perform a very shallow straight cut (lately, at least) but this wrapper required an additional cut.  The only other time I’ve had to do that in recent memory is with the Kentucky Fire Cured from Drew Estate.

Ezra Zion Eminence Review | CigarNoise | Wrapper

Ezra Zion Eminence – First Third

Cocoa, Spice, Earth, Mexican Hot Chocolate, Butter Toffee, Charred Meat, Caramel, Toast

The initial puffs are of cocoa and spice.  Earthy notes are also layered in here and there over subsequent puffs. The aftertaste is of charred meat and within moments I’m remembering Mexican Hot Chocolate over the holidays.

Lots of interesting flavors are weaving themselves together to form a very complex experience.  Chocolate, red pepper, earth, cream, maybe butter toffee (?) – hot damn I’m loving the first third so far!
Mexican Hot Chocolate

Sometimes I say shit that isn’t ordinary in our Cigar community. Feeling compelled to look up Mexican Hot Chocolate, I couldn’t be more happy to find this pop up in google.  Ha!  Describes my experience perfectly so far.

Ezra Zion Eminence Review | CigarNoise | First Third

Burn, draw, everything is great.  My only gripe would be that I keep feeling like I need to add the torch to it as smoke production drops.  But, being the hard charger that I am, I stoke it back to life with two Olympic wannabe lungs.

Now, I always keep a a variety of rums and bourbon out here on the porch.  Not sure why it hasn’t been stolen yet, but no complaints.  Before each review I’ll also pour a glass of coffee and sometimes grab a soft drink.  My favorite pairings this morning are coffee and Zaya rum.  Rum plays up the more charred meat aspects of the San Adres wrapper, while coffee makes the chocolate notes in our Ezra Zion Eminence sing like Aretha Franklin.

NOTE:  I wanted to reach for a cigar today that wasn’t a home run.  I’ve been picking and choosing what I review lately and not reviewing cigars that I’m not enamored with.  My first Eminence was greatly overpowered by my choice of beer, because I now know that I’ve got a rockstar on my hands.

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Towards the end of the first third, spiciness begins to relent and the overall profile seems to be battling between charred meat and chocolatey sweetness.  From puff to puff there’s chocolate, charred meat, caramel, and toast.  Hell, I even think they blended some of my cheap-o GNC chocolate protein powder in there somehow.

Ended up applying a little more torch to it 

Ezra Zion Eminence – Second Third

Milk Chocolate, Caramel Corn, Charred Meat

What’s noticeably absent from the second third is the peppery spice that was present for most of the experience so far.  After dropping the ash, chocolate moves to the forefront and I’m in heaven.  We’re talking rich, smooth milk chocolate. At times I do pick up a bitter, dark chocolate and pump the brake on chiefin it down.  It’s hard – Ezra Zion Eminence is pushing all the right buttons.

Approaching the halfway mark, I’m picking up subtle Caramel Corn notes.  Not as many players at this point in the game, and it’s easier to distinguish flavors now.  If you listened to the Sultans of Smoke Podcast last week, you know why I’m listing these foods out.  Ha!  Take that Drew.

Caramel Corn

More torch.  The burn line is absolutely on point, but this is second time I’ve applied more flame to it.  Any points deducted for Burn will be because of this.  While I debate with myself often about the importance of burn in our rating scheme, each and every time you apply flame to the cigar there’s a chance that the flavors will be irrevocably altered.  Luckily, in this case, the Ezra Zion Eminence returns to greatness each time.

Ezra Zion Eminence Review | CigarNoise | Second Third

Reaching the band, chocolate, caramel, and popcorn still seem to be in the drivers seat.  When retro haling, I get more of that smokey, charred meat in addition to the sweetness.  Eminence is a very layered experience.

Ezra Zion Eminence – Last Third

Chocolate, Cream, Cherry, Macadamia Nuts, Charred Meat

You know the drill!  Drop the ash, take a draw, report:  chocolate, cream, and now some fruity flavors that I can only describe as subtle notes of Chocolate Covered Cherries.  I’m also detecting roasted Macadamia nuts – probably only because I have some chocolate covered Mac. nuts a few weeks ago and it’s semi-fresh in my mind.  Coffee really accentuates those nutty flavors.

Smoky, charred meat makes another appearance in the last third.  It’s present for moments then leaves for a while just to return again.

Ezra Zion Eminence Review | CigarNoise | Last Third

Our chocolate is becoming darker, sharper, and bitter – more like cocoa powder.  A cherry presence is definitely identifiable now.  Probably a first for me listing cherry notes – can’t remember.

Ezra Zion Eminence Gran Robusto Review
9.2 Reviewer
8.3 Cigar Noise Network (1 vote)
Pros

Very Complex

Perfect Burn Line

Balanced Sweet & Spicy

Cons

Revived it Twice

Summary
Ezra Zion Eminence is a killer cigar under $9! Over the last two hours I've been on a roller coaster ride of light and dark, sweet and spicy, laid back and in your face. The mechanics of this smoke are on point, and the flavors are nothing short of excellence! There aren't many cigars that I'd like to buckle down and spend two hours with, but the Eminence is one of them.
Value
Burn
Draw
Flavor
Enjoyment
What Other Folks Are Saying: 1 Make some Noise
Great Smoke
The Ezra Zion Eminence is a great example of a medium bodied maduro that hits all those great maduro flavors without destroying your mouth in the process. I think these are a great value and always a very enjoyable smoke. The only issue I tend to have is that because the wrapper is so thick, it often has a wonky burn.
March 29, 2016, 3:20 pm
Value9
Burn7.5
Draw9
Flavor8
Enjoyment8
0
0
Make some Noise

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Dave West

Editor and Contributor at CigarNoise
Identifying as a Cigar Enthusiast more than an Aficionado, I enjoy trying new cigars and attempting to annotate my experience. Disclosure: As of June 2017, I began writing for SmallBatchCigar.com and will no longer be reviewing SBC exclusives
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