|E.P. Carrillo Inch Maduro No. 64|
The E.P. Carrillo Inch Series consists of two lines of cigars (Natural and Maduro) geared a big ring gauge cigar enthusiasts. While big ring gauge cigars have their critics, one cannot deny that they still sell well to a large segment of cigar enthusiasts. The Inch Series marks the second and third new lines for the E.P. Carrillo brand in 2012. Without a doubt the E.P. Carrillo portfolio has steadily grown over the past three years, and the Inch series continues that growth pattern. With the Inch Series, all of the cigars are 60 ring gauge and above. Ernesto Perez-Carrillo is considered a pioneer when it comes to big ring gauge cigars – as demonstrated with his work with La Gloria Cubana. While 60 ring gauge cigars are nothing new to the E.P. Carrillo line, going beyond the 60 ring gauge mark marks some new territory for the company. I’ve always said, if you get a 60 ring gauge cigar that clicks on all cylinders, there is nothing more satisfying. However I’ve always been a little skeptical going beyond the 60 ring gauge size. I recently sampled the largest of the E.P. Carrillo Inch Maduro series – the 64 ring gauge. This was a very positive experience and not only reinforced my theory about the potential of big ring gauges, but it reinforced Perez-Carrillo as a pioneer in this area.
While the E.P. Carrillo Inch will not be a limited release cigar, it will be a limited production cigar on an annual basis. Due to tobacco supply limitations, the production will be capped at a maximum of 125,000 total cigars annually.
The Inch gets its name from its largest ring gauge – being the 64 ring gauge having a diameter of approximately one inch. Without further adieu, let’s break down the 64 ring gauge of the E.P. Carrillo Inch Maduro and see what it brings to the table. I will disclaim this content is based on a single pre-release sample. Since this was a pre-release sample, we will default to our “pre-review” to give some thoughts and perspectives on this cigar. When it is released, we will provide a final assessment rating and score.
The blend features a mix of Nicaraguan binder and Dominican filler for
both the Inch Natural and Inch Maduro releases
Wrapper: Connecticut Broadleaf
Filler: Dominican (Piloto Cubano, Corojo and Criollo ’98)
Wrapper: Ecuadorian Sumatra
Filler: Dominican (Piloto Cubano, Corojo and Criollo ’98)
The vitolas for both the Inch Natural and Inch Maduro lines are the same. At this time there are three offerings – all a 60 ring gauge and above.
No. 60: 5 7/8 x 60
No. 62: 5 x 62
No. 64: 6 1/4 x 64
As mentioned, for this assessment I went with the E.P. Carrillo Inch No. 64. This cigar has a classic maduro look – but in a monster size vitola. It has a classic roasted coffee bean color to it, with some dark spots that are common to maduros. The wrapper itself has more of a silky look than an oily sheen. There are a few veins and a few wrapper seams that are visible. The cigar itself is well-packed – something that I think is important to a good big ring gauge cigar. There is a nice cocoa aroma from the foot.
The banding is a radical departure from anything E.P. Carrillo has done. Prior to the release of the Inch Series, the banding was very simple – the E.P. Carrillo logo was pretty much the basis for the band. On the Inch Series, E.P. Carrillo gets more creative. The design of a band is one of a golden yellow ruler. There is a gold design that gives the effect of a “fastener” to wrapping the ruler around the cigar (see picture above) The fastener has a gold circle that has “BY E.P. CARRILLO” etched around it. Below the gold circle is the text “INCH” etched on it – also on a gold background.
|Another view of the ruler banding of the E.P. Carrillo Inch Series|
|Traditional E.P. Carrillo logo – color scheme may vary, but logo is the same on the prior releases to the Inch|
Preparation for the Cigar Experience
While I almost always default to a straight cut for my smoking experience, with big ring gauge cigars I find this is an absolute must. After placing my cut into the E.P. Carrillo Inch Maduro, I proceeded to begin the pre-light draw. The Inch Maduro gave me some dry notes of espresso with an underlying sweetness. At this point, it was really hard for me to pinpoint the sweetness. Overall, this was a wonderful pre-light draw. It was now time to toast the foot of my E.P. Carrillo Inch Maduro and see what the actual smoking experience would deliver.
The start to the E.P. Carrillo Inch Maduro picked up where the pre-light draw left off except that the notes of coffee and sweetness were more robust. Soon some white pepper spice could be detected on the after-draw and can be prominently detected through the nostrils. The sweetness I detected soon took on more of a chocolate sweetness. These chocolate notes complemented the espresso notes very nicely. The cigar had a nice smoothness throughout the smoke.
Around the ten percent mark, some nut flavors emerged. The espresso and chocolate notes remained in the forefront. I had the nut flavors as a secondary note and the white pepper was a tertiary note.
By the end of the first third, the nut joins the chocolate and espresso in the forefront while the white pepper increases slightly and becomes a secondary note. The white pepper slowly builds and by the 60 percent mark, it takes over as the primary flavor. The espresso and coffee notes play more of a supporting role going forward. This flavor pattern holds until the end. The cigar never got harsh (which is a big positive with a big ring gauge). The nub also did not get overly hot, but was a little soft to the touch.
Burn and Draw
I’d categorize the burn of the Inch Maduro as good, but not excellent. This could be due to the fact that this was a recently shipped sample (or just an isolated case for this single sample). The burn was jagged and did need multiple touch-ups to keep it going straight. The resulting ash was white and was tight for the majority of the smoking experience. There were a couple of issues of flaking, but nothing major. The burn rate was ideal and the burn temperature was ideal.
The corresponding draw was excellent. It was a very good draw in terms of a big ring gauge cigar.
Strength and Body
This was a very good cigar in terms of balancing the strength and body. From a nicotine perspective, the Inch Maduro has just enough pop to be considered medium to full strength. As for the flavors, there is some nice depth to the flavors. I assessed the flavors to be medium to full-bodied with this cigar. The cigar remains consistent in terms of strength and body from start to finish.
Since the 2011 IPCPR Trade Show, I have felt the releases of maduro cigars have been weaker than seen in past years. The release of the E.P. Carrillo Inch Maduro is a refreshing change. With the exception of some of the burn issues, this maduro has some very good flavor to it. The flavor profile works very well in the 64 ring gauge. I’m curious to see how this blend does with the No. 60 and No. 62 vitolas. I’m also curious to see if E.P. Carrillo considers some traditional (under 60) ring gauges for this blend. This is a cigar for the big cigar enthusiast – whether novice or traditional. If someone is new to trying a ring gauge of 64, I would still encourage them to give this a try. Overall, an excellent cigar and one I would reach for again.
Strength: Medium to Full
Body: Medium to Full
Source: This cigar was provided by E.P. Carrillo. This request was initiated by E.P. Carrillo in order to provide feedback. Cigar Coop is appreciative for
the sample, but in no way does this
influence this review.