Cigar Reviews

EP Carrillo Core Line Maduro

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Ernesto Perez Carrillo is a name long known to work magic with his blending skills in his time with La Gloria Cubana. As many of you already know, he ventured off to start his own company not long ago and finally have his own name adorning his wonderfully blended cigars. In the short time the company has been around we’ve seen quite a few limited edition cigars. Recently he has also been beefing up his regular production lines.

Today’s cigar is his latest edition to the regular production cigars that was unveiled officially at IPCPR 2011. It is the EP Carrillo Core Line Maduro. It will join the other regular line cigars which now include the EP Carrillo Core Line Natural and the New Wave Connecticut. If you read my above linked revore of the Natural Core Line, you’ll notice I wasn’t a huge fan. Having said that, I really enjoyed the New Wave Connecticut and so did Tony in his review of it. So is this another winner in the line-up?

The Core Line Maduro has the same band as the other regular production blends with the only difference being a black backdrop in the bottom section of the band. The similarities don’t jsut end there… The binder used on the Core Line Maduro is the same as the wrapper used on the regular Core Line Natural. Filler content is also the same but the percentage of Dominican vs Nicaraguan leaveswas adjusted slightly to set it apart and balance nicely with the new wrapper.

According to Ernesto, the Connecticut Broadleaf wrapper used here is actually one of the same ones he originally used back in the 70’s when he was blending for La Gloria Cubana. That’s not to say the wrapper is 40+ years old… just a similar crop/region which should give a similar profile.

A Brazilian wrapper was also in the running for this cigar but Ernesto decided to go with the Connecticut Broadleaf instead. That’s a tough call, I enjoy both of those leaves as wrappers. Maybe we’ll see something in the future with that leaf if he’s already testing it out in some sample blends? We can hope and wait! But for now let’s see how the EP Carrillo Core Line Maduro stacks up!

Cigar: E.P. Carrillo Core Line Maduro
Drink: Cigar City Brewing Cubano-Style Espresso Brown Ale
Vitola: Club 52 (5.875 by 52)
Wrapper: Connecticut Broadleaf
Binder: Ecuador Sumatra
Filler: Dominican and Nicaraguan
Price: $7.20 MSRP
Burn Time: Just short of 1.5 hours

Construction:
• This is a fairly dark chocolate colored cigar with some occasional brownish areas
• The blemishes actually make it seem as if this cigar may be dyed a little bit
• For the most part it has a little bit of give and spring in it when squeezed and it’s consistent from one end to the other
• The top of the cigar is finished off with what looks to be a slightly scrunched triple cap, and it possibly has some extra dye on it cause it’s very dark
• The foot appears only moderately packed, hoping it doesn’t give me any tunneling problems
• The cap clipped off super cleanly and fell in one neat package to my ashtray
• The draw is a little bit open but it’s not overly airy so it should hold out well

Burn:
• The toasting was a bit difficult and uneven, most likely cause the foot had some holes in it
• Within the first inch I had a major canoeing problem that needed adjustment with my single torch lighter
• Ran into a pretty slight tunnel just past the halfway mark. Likely it was only the wrapper that wasn’t burning and it didn’t tunnel too far, a quick touch up fixed it
• A few more tunneling problems as I get to the end of the cigar

Smoke & Ash:
• The is a lot of smoke coming off this cigar right from the first draw
• The resting smoke is also fairly abundant and consistent
• The ash is pretty dark grey, almost black through the first couple inches but I’m blaming that on my relight at this point
• The ash seems a bit flaky but still holding on past the one inch mark, I will tap it off now before I make a mess
• The second ash had a little bit of a lighter grey tone to it but it flaked out like a blooming flower

Tasting Notes:
• The wrapper on this cigar gives an almost sweet barnyard type of aroma, sounds weird to explain but that’s what I’m getting
• The foot has a bit of the barnyard and sweet aromas but it packs a fresh cedar aroma in there along with a touch of coffee
• Pre-light draw is giving me some sweet coffee notes and a very bitter chocolate mixed with that fresh cedar
• Initial draws have a nice mix of bitter and sweet chocolate and coffee. They take turns fighting for dominance
• The body has been mostly mild to start and the cedar is making an appearance now and then
• The slight bitterness I’m getting on the chocolate and coffee is very interesting, it’s not bad in any way. It’s almost like a very dark chocolate or a strong espresso without sugar, I’m enjoying it
• As I head into the halfway mark, there haven’t been too many change-ups. I think the bitterness has subsided and it’s getting a little sweeter, dominant flavors are still coffee, chocolate and some cedar
• Body remains mostly mild, and retrohale has been giving me a very soft bite with a smooth coffee flavored finish
• Luckily, the touch-ups for the non-burning wrapper tunnels haven’t affected the flavors all that much
• As I get to the last 3rd, the slight bitterness is back as well as some nutty flavors in there
• The cigar finished nicely with no harshness

Final Thoughts:
Overall I enjoyed this cigar. It was plagued with some burn issues but it doesn’t seem the flavors were affected by my touch ups. The flavors themselves were fairly straightforward but enjoyable if it’s the type of cigar you are looking for. This is a traditional maduro cigar so don’t expect a big kick of nicotine or a full bodied flavor here. I think it helps fill a niche that a lot of manufacturers are overlooking lately and helps balance out the EP Carrillo brand for more consumers. I found this to be an enjoyable and relaxing cigar that can be shared with new cigar smokers as well. I would recommend trying a couple of these if you can track them down. If you are someone who only smokes full bodied powerful smokes, then this probably isn’t the cigar for you.

Pairings:
As some of you may know, I recently took a little trip down south to Florida. While there, every place I went to was pushing a new brewery located in Tampa, not far from the historical cigar location of Ybor City. The brewery is called Cigar City Brewing and as you can guess, they have many cigar related, or cigar complimenting brews in their inventory. They seem to be making a huge splash in the area. Today’s brew in called Cubano-Style Espresso Brown Ale. The name pretty much explains what to expect when you drink this, it’s not a nice dark and slightly thick pour with a complimentary espresso flavor to it. It also mixes in some tasty malty flavors and drinks very smoothly. As for this pairing, I think it was perfect! Coffee flavors played a big part in both the EP Carrillo Maduro and in the chosen brew, which made them compliment each other perfectly. The cigar isn’t overly powerful so stick to a pairing that allows you to enjoy the flavors it has. Some good picks would include coffee, another similarly flavored brown ale, or perhaps even a dark soda.

Daniel T. (a.k.a. Dalamscius) is an IT Professional from Toronto, Ontario, Canada. He enjoys cigars, scuba diving, hockey, fishing, nature and anything that challenges his mind. If he's not sitting on his big comfy couch or at work you can usually find him in a boat on top of the water or 100ft under the water enjoying a dive. He is engaged to a wonderful Fiance and looking forward to his wedding. Feel free to contact Daniel anytime via email (dalamscius[at]gmail[dot]com). And make sure to follow him on twitter http://twitter.com/Dalamscius

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