|E.P. Elencos Maduro
Last year, E.P. Carrillo released a limited run cigar called the E.P. Carrillo Edicion Limitada 2010. This cigar was actually ranked #8 on Cigar Aficionado’s Top 10 list for 2010. This cigar quickly became a favorite among cigar enthusiasts. Therefore, it was great news when E.P. Carrillo announced they were moving this cigar as a part of their core line. The cigar was rebranded the E.P. Carrillo Elencos and some additional vitolas were added to the series. Following that release E.P. Carrillo went to work on a variation of the blend, this time utilizing an Maduro version of the Brazilian wrapper. This new blend is dubbed the E.P. Carrillo Elencos Maduro. I was fortunate enough to get a pre-release sample of this new blend. After smoking this pre-release sample, I’m comfortable saying that this is the best blend released by E.P. Carrillo to date.
The amazing thing about this cigar is that it tasted completely different than the original E.P. Carrillo Elencos. Since this was a pre-release sample, I’ve opted to classify this as one of my “Pre-Reviews”, but based on this sample alone, it’s not too soon to already state that this cigar has potential to be on my 2012 Cigar of the Year countdown.
For this assessment, I did not have another E.P. Elencos handy to compare the wrappers of the Elencos and the Elencos Maduro. It is a little difficult to tell the difference, but if you put the two cigars together, you can see the Elencos Maduro is darker.
Wrapper: Brazilian Maduro
According to The Cigar Feed, E.P. Carrillo will launch the Elites vitola first – followed by the other vitolas. These vitolas mirror the shape (and share the same name) as the core Elencos line. I also love the fact that E.P. Carrillo gives each of the vitolas an identity as opposed to the generic names.
Acto Mayor (Torpedo): 6 1/4 x 52
Don Rubino (Robusto): 5 1/4 x 50
Elites (Toro): 6 x 54 (This was the Original Edicion Limitada 2010 size)
Preparation for the Cigar Experience
One thing I did notice with this cigar is that the tobacco appeared to be loosely packed toward the cap. Since this was a pre-release sample – and because this is a human element, I don’t expect this to be a regular production problem. At the same time, this is worth mentioning because it did play a role in the smoking experience.
The pre-release sample I received was the Elites. I carefully placed a straight cut into the cap. Despite some of the loose packing at the cap, the cut was flawless. When I commenced with the pre-light draw, I had to draw a little carefully as I didn’t want to soften things up by the cap. I was amazed at the dry draw notes as it was like nothing I had gotten from an maduro before. The pre-light draw notes gave me notes of leather and butter. There also was a tiny bit of spice. I definitely considered this unique for an maduro cigar, so I wasted no time in firing up my Elencos Maduro and prepared to enjoy the cigar experience.
The initial flavors of the Elencos Maduro immediately gravitated back more toward a classic Maduro smoke. There were notes of coffee and cream. I also picked up a little cedar spice on the after-draw. The theme of spice on the after-draw was present throughout the whole smoking experience.
As the smoking experience progressed through the first third, the coffee flavors moved to the forefront and were joined by notes of chocolate and mocha. If you like flavors along the coffee/chocolate/mocha profile, this cigar really is going to deliver these notes well for you. Toward the end of the first third, there were some nice cinnamon flavors that layered over the other flavors. These deep cinnamon flavors didn’t last long, but they were robust when they appeared.
The flavor profile held through the second third, and in the last third, the coffee/chocolate/mocha notes subsided somewhat. They were replaced by a wonderful cherry sweetness. I still detected some of the cinnamon notes, but they were not as bold as they were in the early part of the smoke. As I said earlied, the cedar spice on the after-draw remained from start to finish. The Elencos Maduro isn’t going to deliver a lot in spice, but it more than makes up for it with its other flavors.
The finish was extremely smooth. Because of the soft cap, the nub was very soft, but surprisingly, it did not hot at the end.
Burn and Draw
The burn was flawless throughout the smoking experience of the Elencos Maduro. This cigar required very little in the way of touch-ups and burned straight throughout the smoking experience. The ash was a wonderful tight white ash throughout the smoking experience. The burn temperture and burn rate were ideal.
|Burn of the E.P. Elencos Maduro
The draw was impacted by the loose packing at the cap. Like on the dry draw, I was carefully not to draw hard so I did not make the cap soft. I believe I was successful at this. It wasn’t an ideal draw, but I’m confident with some tighter packing this would be a solid draw. Because this was a pre-release sample, I gave it an incomplete in this category.
Strength and Body
I was a little surprised when it came to strength. I had the original E.P. Carrillo Elencos as a medium to full strength cigar. While I still assess the Elencos Maduro in the medium to full area of the spectrum, I still felt the strength was dialed back a bit. As for the flavor notes, they were deep and robust – no doubt this qualifies as a classic full-bodied smoke. The strength and body balance each other very nicely – making for an ideal smoking experience.
In the end, I felt the issue with the loose packing was more of an inconvienence, but the E.P. Carrillo Elencos Maduro delivered one of the best smoking experience. I have had a lot of excellent E.P. Carrillo cigars before, but as I said up-front – this was the best E.P. Carrillo I have smoked to date. It smoked very different from the core line Elencos. This cigar had great flavor and great complexity (much more complexity than the core line Elencos) . It is definitely is the type of cigar I would recommend to an experienced cigar enthusiast. For a novice enthusiast who might want a medium to full strength/full-bodied cigar – this would be the perfect cigar. As for myself, the Elencos Maduro is definitely a box worthy purchase and most importantly – a cigar that should be listed on my 2012 Cigar of the Year countdown.
Strength: Medium to Full
Source: This cigar was provided to myself from E.P. Carrillo. The request was initiated by E.P. Carrillo to myself (Cigar Coop) to provide an assessment. Cigar Coop is appreciative to samples provided but this plays no role in a final assessment.