|E-Stunner by E.P. Carrillo|
At the 2013 IPCPR Trade Show, E.P. Carrillo introduced its latest regular production offering – the E-Stunner. The E-Stunner marks is probably the company’s most different offering to date. One on hand, its packaging is very different – as it offers a very contemporary look. On the other hand, the sizes are more in line with traditional sizes – as the emphasis is not on the big ring gauges – something a little different for an EPC line. The E-Stunner project was actually spearheaded by owner Ernesto Perez-Carrillo Jr.’s children – Ernesto III and Lissette. We recently have had an opportunity to smoke this cigar. E.P. Carrillo remains one of the most consistent brands we score on Cigar Coop and the E-Stunner does not miss a beat.
The packaging, and even the cigar names has a Western theme to it. In a conversation we had with Ernesto Perez-Carrillo III, he said that the idea was to reach a much younger demographic. As we will discuss below, there are also some changes to the way this cigar was blended to also help appeal to the younger cigar enthusiast.
At this point, let’s take a closer look at the E-Stunner and see what this cigar brings to the table. Since we smoked pre-release samples, we will default to our pre-review to provide our thoughts and perspectives. When the cigar is released to retailers, we will revisit the E-Stunner again and provide an assessment rating and score.
There are two significant things about this blend. First up there is a higher percentage of Nicaraguan tobacco used in the blend. Traditionally the ratio of Dominican to Nicaraguan tobacco in an E.P. Carrillo blend has been 80/20. With the E-Stunner, the ratio is 50/50. Secondly, the Sumatra wrapper comes from higher priming than what has been used on other E.P. Carrillo products.
Wrapper: Ecuadorian Sumatra
Filler: Nicaraguan, Dominican
The E Stunner will be packaged 24 cigars per box with a price point of $5.50 to $7.20. The names are all from cattle names. The western/cattle theme is also reflected in the packaging.
Corriente: 4 x 46 (SRP $5.50)
Siboney: 5 x 50 (SRP $6.45)
Brahman: 5 1/2 x 54 (SRP $7.20)
|Packaging of the E-Stunner|
For this cigar experience, I smoked the toro-sized Brahman. The E-Stunner’s Sumatra wrapper has a medium brown color with some darker marbling to it. There is some oil on the surface of the wrapper. There are some visible veins, but the wrapper seams are not as visible. There is also a classic Cuban-style triple cap – something very traditional for a contemporary cigar.
The E-Stunner has color scheme consisting primarily of copper and metallic red. There is a cattle logo at the center of the band. The text “E” and “Stunner” are in a contemporary white font and draped over the cattle logo with the latter text on a slightly slanted angle. On each side of the cattle head is the text “BY E.P. CARRILLO” in small white font. The remainder of the band has the copper and metallic red color scheme with some white stripes. There is some white trim on the bottom of the band.
Preparation for the Cigar Experience
I stuck with the usual course of action here and went with a straight cut to remove the cap of the E-Stunner. I then moved on to the pre-light draw process. The pre-light draw wasn’t the most exciting, but it wasn’t bad either. The dry draw provided me notes of pepper and earth. Overall, this was still not a bad pre-light draw. At this point I was ready to light up the E-Stunner and see what the overall smoking experience would come to the table.
I smoked a couple of E-Stunners about six weeks prior to the round I smoked for this assessment. During this period, the round I smoked for this assessment showed a great maturity in the blend as this developed into a complex smoke with great flavors.
The start to the E-Stunner started out with an exotic pepper spice blast. This was detectable on the tongue and on the retro-hale. In fact it stays on the retro-hale for the duration of the smoking experience. In the early stages, as the pepper settled on the tongue, notes of earth and coffee joined in as primary flavors. There was also real interesting melon sweetness that was distant in the background as well.
Around the five percent mark, the primary flavors became notes of natural tobacco and coffee. The pepper notes were more prominent of the after-draw. I could also still detect that touch of melon sweetness – which was more of a tertiary note. By the 15 percent mark, the melon notes dissipated. Around the same time there were some background cream notes that surfaced. There is also a hickory quality that surfaced for a short time in the background. This made for what was a complex flavor profile.
By the second third, there was a dialing back of the exotic spice. The primary notes transitioned to notes of natural tobacco and nut. Meanwhile the coffee, cream, and pepper notes were secondary. The nut notes eventually became the sole primary flavor by the end of the second third.
The multi-dimensional flavors pretty much held in the last third. There was an increase in the spice toward the end, but there is no harshness. The resulting nub was soft to the touch, but cool in temperature.
Burn and Draw
The E-Stunner is a well constructed cigar and this is reflected in the burn and draw of the cigar. The burn line remained relatively straight from start to finish. There was a slight jaggedness on the burn line, but the cigar did not tunnel or canoe. The resulting ash was firm with a classic salt and pepper color. There was a little minor flaking and flowering, but not enough to lose any points. The burn rate and burn temperature were ideal.
|Burn of the E-Stunner|
Strength and Body
In addition to the flavors maturing over the past few weeks, the strength and body slighted was amp’d down on the latest batch of the E-Stunner cigars I smoked. At the same time, this cigar still has enough firepower to be a “stunner”. I assessed the E-Stunner to be a medium to full strength cigar. As for the flavors, for the majority of the cigar experience they are in the medium to full-bodied range. By the end of the smoke, the flavors did progress into full-bodied territory. Still overall, the balance between strength and body is pretty consistent for most of the smoke.
As I mentioned above in the flavor profile, I found that the flavor profiles really matured in a six week period. It has showed the true potential of this project and this blend. This was a fun cigar to smoke as it had many transitions and many nuances. While the cigar definitely targets a younger demographic, I think this is a cigar that can appeal to a cigar enthusiast of any legal age. It will be very interesting to see if the older, traditional EPC cigar enthusiast will gravitate to this cigar. I’d probably still lean this to a more seasoned cigar enthusiast since it still is a stronger, more full cigar. As for myself, I can definitely see myself smoking these again – and putting this into my cigar rotation.
Strength: Medium to Full
Body: Medium to Full (Full at the end)
Source: The cigar for this assessment were provided by E.P. Carrillo at the 2013 IPCPR Trade Show. These samples were 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 write-up.