In the winter of 2009 Ernest Perez Carillo entered the cigar market once again after his famed career with La Gloria Cubana. The 2009 Innaugral Edition was met with mixed reviews from the cigar community and since then it’s been one stellar review after another as E.P. Carrillo reestablished himself as one of the best in the business.
The Core Maduro joins the Natural which was released earlier this year. Those along with the New Wave Connecticut are the only cigars from the company in regular production, but the other cigars have been met with much fanfare. The Elencos is produced in limited numbers as is the Short Run. The latter changes blends from year to year while the former doesn’t have enough of the components to produce year round. Also due later this year is the Limited Edition 2011.
In the creation of the Maduro line, Ernest Perez Carrillo toyed with a few variations of the maduro wrapper before settling on broadleaf grown in the Connecticut River Valley in 2008-2009. He chose it over Mexican Maduro and Brazilian Maduro, but personally I hope Mr. Carrillo revisits the Brazilian variety in the future as it is one of my favorite wrappers.
The cigars which will retail from $5.25 to $9.30 before local taxes are available in the following sizes:
- No. 4 (5 .5 x 42)
- Encantos (4 7/8 x 50)
- Regalias Real (5 5/8 x 46)
- Club 52 (5 7/8 bx 52)
- Churchill Especial (7 1/8 x 49)
- Predilectos (6 1/8 x 52 – Torpedo)
- Golosos (6.25 x 60)
- Monumentos (7 3/8 x 56)
Cigar: EP Carrillo Maduro
Size: 5 7/8 bx 52 (Toro / Club 52)
Wrapper: Connecticut Broadleaf
Binder: Ecuador Sumatra
Filler: Dominican Republic & Nicaragua
Cigars Smoked For Review: 3
Appearance and Construction: Looking at the Broadleaf wrapper on the EP Carrillo Maduro there are some differences in contrast. One has to wonder leaf was wet and massaged before being applied. The cigar is well rolled with a nice cap placement. Under close inspection there is some tooth to the stick, and some light oils. The foot of the cigar is a bit spongy but there are no soft spots to be found. The band of the cigar is the classic EP Carrillo variation with colors of red, gold, yellow, beige and black.
Flavor & Notes: The foot of the cigar has an abundance of rich molasses to the nose and some pepper as well which is heavenly to say the least. One the third and fourth inhale I pick up notes of manure which is one of the best compliments one can pay a cigar. Once the cigar is clipped the cold draw serves up notes dark chocolate and a sweetness which reminds me of a jelly ring. In the background there are notes of earth and cedar. If the prelight ritual is right I am in for a very complex smoke. The first third of the cigar has notes of coffee and dark chocolate with something sweet tries to fight for recognition. Just before the 2nd third is reached the sweetness becomes a subtle cherry that compliments the other notes well. As the second third of the cigar progresses the cherry sweetness becomes stronger giving this cigar a classic maduro profile. In the background there is shortbread (thanks Stogimus Prime and Jerry Cruz for helping me put that into words) with coffee on the finish. The last third becomes slightly bitter but not over powering, as there is still a faint cherry that slowly gives way to leather that lingers on the finish.
Smoking Characteristics: A well constructed smoke that burns really well and stood lit from start to finish. The medium to dark color ash holds on well with minimal flake. The first ash fell off about half way through while resting in the ashtray and the next ash remained until past the band. The draw ideal with just enough resistance to keep it burning slow. The aroma of the smoke was woody and it complimented the notes well.
Conclusion: The cigar industry has lost its way when it comes to Maduro cigars as they are no longer the sweet smoke they traditionally were. Lately, it has become all about strength and it has scared a lot of people away from the cigar. EP Carrillo attempts the right the ship with the maduro and I worry that it will get lost among smokers of today. Those who liked what a maduro had to offer have moved away and they might be scared to pick this cigar up. Those who love the strength will find fault in the smoke. This however is one for the ages and is as classic as they come. Easily in the running for cigar of the year the EP Carrillo Maduro is as timeless as they come.