For the past few months, I have definitely been paying attention to what E.P. Carrillo has been doing in the cigar industry, but I have yet to post a detailed cigar assessment of anything in the line. This is just pure oversight on my part. I figured the place I would start is with the cigar I rated as my #15 Cigar of the Year, the E.P. Carrillo Short Run 2010. As I find time and time again with this brand, the cigars just never disappoint.
First up a little background on the E.P. Carrillo line. E.P. Carrillo is a company formed by Ernesto Perez-Carrillo. Ernesto is famous for creating one of the great brands in the cigar business – La Gloria Cubana. As many know, after General Cigars acquired La Gloria Cubana, Ernesto stayed on for a while before launching his own family business – E.P. Carrillo Cigars. Last year, E.P. Carrillo launched the inaugural “Short Run”, the E.P. Carrillo Short Run 2010. As implied by the name, “Short Run” implies limited edition – meaning the cigar is meant to be produced in a limited batch on a yearly basis. For this review, I’ll be talking about the 2010 edition, but it is worth noting that (at the time of this writing), a 2011 Short Run is currently in the pipeline.
First up, here is some information about the composition of this cigar. Nothing earth shattering of revolutionary in the blend, yet Ernesto gets the job done here.
Wrapper: Ecuadorian Sumatra
Filler: Nicaraguan, Dominican
The cigar is available in 3 vitolas. I found it interesting that these vitolas vary from the classic sizes for Robusto, Toro, and Magnum sizes.
Populares: 4 7/8 x 50
Delirios: 5 7/8 x 52
Dominantes: 6 1/4 x 60
Preparation for the Cigar Experience
While I normally go for the monster Dominantes, for this review, I have opted to sample the Robusto-like size Populares. For this cigar experience, I put a straight cut into the beautiful Sumatra cap. I opted for a pre-light draw and it provide some wonderful nut and sweet flavor notes. It was then on to toast the cigar and begin the cigar experience.
The interesting thing is once I lit this cigar, the initial flavor notes pretty much matched the pre-light draw. This is something I rarely experience with a cigar experience. Usually when I have a combination of nut and sweetness, I get hazelnut tones, but with the Short Run, it is more like a buttery-nut taste. it is very good. It doesn’t take long for things to progress and change.
About 10 percent into the smoke, I sensed some tones of pepper. The interesting thing here is that the pepper notes were more prevalent through the nose. The sweetness morphed into more of a raisin tone, yet I still had the nut tones as the dominant flavor note. As the cigar reaches the 1/3 point, the pepper spice morphs into something of a cross between black pepper and cedar spice. The spice is never overwhelming. Each time I have this cigar, I admit, I have a problem putting my finger on what the spice is, but I know I love it.
Around the halfway point, the sweetness again makes a change and seems to become more cinnamon in nature. The nut notes still are very much present. As the smoke progresses into the final third, oak notes seem to become the most dominant. The sweetness and spice does diminish. This cigar comes in for a perfect landing – a nice cool and firm nub that is not harsh.
The interesting thing about this cigar is that it has a very subtle complexity. On the surface, if you aren’t paying attention, this might not appear to be a complex cigar. As I’ve smoked this several times, I noticed this has more complexity than I gave it credit for. Finally, this cigar generates a wonderful aroma. I think even non cigar-enthusiasts might like the aroma.
Burn and Draw
This never seems to be an issue with an E.P. Carrillo cigar. For this particular cigar, I had actually dropped it. It made a small crack in the wrapper. Yet, this caused no burn issues as it burned perfectly and I was able to get around it. The cigar never burns hot and it never burns fast. Complementing this very nicely is an excellent draw. No doubt the folks at EPC really do their homework when it comes to draw testing.
Strength and Body
From a strength standpoint, I think this cigar is in the upper end of “Medium”, but just narrowly misses the Medium to Full range. No doubt the body is a solid Medium to Full as this really delivers in terms of the depth of the flavor notes.
For the price point of the Short Run ($6.00 to $9.00 – depending on size), this is one heck of a deal. From what I’ve researching, EPC says they only made 1500 boxes of each of the vitolas, but this hasn’t been a hard cigar to find. No doubt, the bar has been set high for future EPC releases. While the E.P. Carrillo Limitada 2010 was Cigar Aficionado’s #8 cigar. I feel the Short Run was the better cigar by a fraction. This is definitely something I would check out anytime you are in your retailer’s humidor.
Body: Medium to Full