In this cigar conversation from the 2012 IPCPR Trade Show in Orlando, Florida, I sit down with the “Godfather of Boutique Cigars”, Ernesto Perez-Carrillo Jr. of E.P. Carrillo.

We start off our conversation talking about the E.P. Carrillo Inch line – a new line launched at the trade show. Ernesto discusses how he wanted to do something special, and was very happy when he found some piloto seed from the early 90s to make this project happen.  We also discuss what went into the packaging of the Inch line.  I have had an opportunity to sample both the natural and maduro versions and have found them to be excellent cigars.  Ernesto has been very happy with the reception – especially from those who normally don’t smoke big ring gauges.

We then discuss E.P. Carrillo’s growth as a company.  Ernesto talks about how pleased he is with the growth, but is also grateful to the consumers and retailers for their support.

Our discussion on industry trends is fascinating.  Ernesto first discusses the trends around packaging, and while he is a traditionalist, he has embraced new frontiers in packaging.  He then discusses some of the tobaccos coming out of the Dominican Republic and how these might be some of the “hot” tobaccos over the next three to four years.

Ernesto recognizes this is a competitive industry, yet he talks about how he shares ideas with many of the other world-renowned cigar makers.  He recognizes we are in a very creative period, but he feels there is more to come.