Celebrity Restauranteur turned cigar-brand owner Guy Fieri wanted a special cigar to commemorate his 55th birthday and turned to Espinosa Cigars, who handles both his production and distribution for his Knuckle Sandwich brand, to make such a cigar. The result was a cigar known as the Knuckle Sandwich 55. Fieri was initially given 55 ten-count boxes, and shortly after, an additional 500 boxes would be released to retailers. Commercially, retailers gobbled up this cigar, and consumers followed along – making the Knuckle Sandwich 55 a huge hit. Today, we take a closer look at the Knuckle Sandwich 55 Limited Edition.
Knuckle Sandwich was launched in early 2022, and in a short time, it has become quite a successful blend. There are three regular production Knuckle Sandwich lines: Knuckle Sandwich Habano, Knuckle Sandwich Maduro, and Knuckle Sandwich Connecticut. Two limited editions appear to be emerging as annual releases: Knuckle Sandwich Chefs Special and Fieri’s birthday cigar. For the birthday cigar, Espinosa Cigars has indicated a Knuckle Sandwich 56 is in the works.
As we shall see, the “55” moniker is all over this release:
5.5 inches in length
55 ring gauge
555 boxes made
Without further ado, let’s break down the Knuckle Sandwich 55 Limited Edition and see what this cigar brings to the table.
Blend and Origin
The Knuckle Sandwich 55 Limited Edition features a Mexican San Andres grown wrapper over all-Nicaraguan tobaccos used for the binder and filler. Production comes from AJ Fernandez’s San Lotano Factory in Ocotal, Nicaragua.
Wrapper: San Andres Mexican
Country of Origin: Nicaragua
Factory: San Lotano
The Knuckle Sandwich 55 Limited Edition is a 5 1/2 x 55 Oval Robusto. The Oval is a box-press size that Fernandez introduced over a decade ago. It is a box-pressed cigar rounded on the sides and slightly flattened on the top and bottom – giving the appearance of an oval.
The cigars are presented in ten-count boxes. As mentioned, five-hundred and fifty-five (555) ten-count boxes of this cigar were made.
The San Andres wrapper of the Knuckle Sandwich 55 Limited Edition had a roasted espresso bean color. There was a nice amount of toothiness to the wrapper. The wrapper also had oils present on the surface. There were also some thin veins present on the surface. Any visible wrapper seams were minimal. The oval box-press combined with the aesthetically pleasing wrapper made for a nice-looking cigar.
Before lighting up the Knuckle Sandwich 55 Limited Edition, a straight cut was used to remove the cap. Once the cap was clipped off, it was time to commence with the pre-light draw ritual. The dry draw delivered a nice mix of coffee, berry, floral, and cedar. Even with the floral notes (which I usually dislike), this was an excellent pre-light draw. At this point, it was time to remove the footer ribbon of the Knuckle Sandwich 55 Limited Edition, toast up the cigar, and move on to the smoking phase.
The Knuckle Sandwich 55 Limited Edition opened up with coffee, berry, cedar, and earth notes. Early on, the combination of the coffee and berry notes moved into the forefront. The earth and cedar notes settled into the background, with the cedar notes being the prominent two. On there retro-hale, there was a combination of berry and mixed pepper notes that were present.
As the Knuckle Sandwich 55 Limited Edition moved into the second third, the earth notes increased in intensity and joined the coffee notes in the forefront. Meanwhile, the berry notes receded into the background, joining the cedar and earth notes. In addition, some red pepper surfaced on the tongue. Both the cedar and red pepper increased in intensity, with the cedar notes increasing at a faster rate.
By the final third, the cedar notes took over, displacing the coffee and earth notes. While the coffee and earth notes settled into the background with the berry and pepper, the cedar notes were the dominant ones. As a result, the cedar threw off the balance of the flavor profile. This is how the Knuckle Sandwich 55 Limited Edition came to a close. The resulting nub was soft to the touch and cool in temperature.
The Knuckle Sandwich 55 Limited Edition started out with a straight burn path and straight line. Along the way, the burn started to meander occasionally, requiring additional touch-ups. There were more touch-ups required than I preferred. The ash produced was firm. This was an ash that had a very light gray color. As for the burn rate and burn temperature, both attributes maintained ideal levels.
The draw to the Knuckle Sandwich 55 Limited Edition performed very well. This was a draw that had a touch of resistance, yet it still was low maintenance to produce flavor. At the same time, this cigar produced ample amounts of smoke.
Strength and Body
The Knuckle Sandwich 55 Limited Edition started out with medium strength and medium to full-bodied flavors. The intensity levels increased in the first third. By the second third, the Knuckle Sandwich 55 Limited Edition was in medium to full strength and full-bodied territory. There was still an increase in strength and body in the second half of the cigar, but it remained in the medium to full range for strength and full range for body for the duration of the smoke.
In terms of strength versus body for the Knuckle Sandwich 55 Limited Edition, the body maintained a significant edge.
BANDING AND PACKAGING NOTES
The Knuckle Sandwich 55 Limited Edition features the same primary band currently found on all of the Knuckle Sandwich Cigars. This band features a black, red, and gold foil color scheme with Guy Fieri’s Knuckle Sandwich skull and chef’s hat logo. The band is also emblazoned with the Espinosa name and insignia. There is also a matching secondary band and a yellow footer ribbon.
What I don’t like are the logo stickers used on the boxes. Whatever it is, they just don’t do it for me.
The Knuckle Sandwich 55 Limited Edition started out delivering a fantastic voyage in terms of flavor. Still, along the way, something changed, and in the final third, the cigar crash landed with an unbalanced flavor profile led by some cedar notes. While the flavors in the first two-thirds were satisfactory, there wasn’t anything that I would consider groundbreaking. All in all, I’ve been more of a fan of the regular production Knuckle Sandwich cigar than the limiteds I have smoked so far. As I also mentioned, this cigar does carry a $15.00 price point. Realizing it might be challenging to track down, the Knuckle Sandwich 55 Limited Edition would be a cigar I’d recommend trying a sample of first.
Key Flavors: Coffee, Berry, Earth, Cedar, Pepper
Burn: Very Good
Strength: Medium (1st Third), Medium to Full (Remainder)
Body: Medium to Full (1st Half), Full (2nd Half)
Finish: Very Good
Value: Try a Sample
News: Knuckle Sandwich 55 Limited Edition Cigar Announced
Brand Reference: Knuckle Sandwich
Photo Credits: Cigar Coop
Originally posted on October 31, 2023 @ 5:17 pm