At the 2015 IPCPR Trade Show, E.P. Carrillo showcased a new Oscuro wrapper offering appropriately called the E.P. Carrillo Seleccion Oscuro. The Seleccion Oscuro was the latest in what has been a series of regular production offerings that E.P. Carrillo had rolled out over the past year and a half. In 2014, the company launched its highly rated box-pressed maduro, La Historia. Late in 2014, the company rolled out a new Ecuadorian Connecticut cigar (E.P. Carrillo New Wave Reserva) and a new Habano offering (E.P. Carrillo Cabinet). Recently I’ve had an opportunity to smoke the Seleccion Oscuro in the Especial No. 6 (Toro) size. With these new releases, this is a cigar that has flown under the radar for E.P. Carrillo. Overall I found both this blend and size to be a fine addition into the E.P. Carrillo portfolio.
The E.P. Carrillo Seleccion Oscuro uses a Mexican San Andres Oscuro wrapper. This is the third E.P. Carrillo cigar to use this wrapper. Back in 2013, the company released the E.P. Carrillo Edicion Limitada 2013 using a Mexican wrapper. This was followed up with the regular production La Historia line – which also incorporates Mexican wrapper.
Without further ado, let’s break down the E.P. Carrillo Seleccion Oscuro Especial No. 6 and see what this cigar brings to the table.
In addition to the San Andres wrapper, the blend of the E.P. Carrillo Seleccion Oscuro incorporates an Ecuadorian binder and Nicaraguan filler.
Wrapper: Mexico San Andres Oscuro
Country of Origin: Dominican Republic (Tabacalera La Alianza)
The E.P. Carrillo Seleccion Oscuro is available in six sizes. The cigars are packaged in 24 count boxes.
Robusto: 5 X 54
Nacionales: 5 1/2 X 44
Small Churchill: 5 1/2 X 50
Especial No. 6: 6 X 52
Piramides Royal: 6 X 52
Dinamicos: 6 7/8 X 49
The Mexican San Andres wrapper of the E.P. Carrillo Seleccion Oscuro Especial No. 6 has what I would consider a darker milk chocolate color to it. The surface of the wrapper has a light coating of oil on it. While San Andres wrapper is often rugged, I found this wrapper to be on the smoother side. The wrapper itself had some thin visible veins and the visible wrapper seams were also on the thin side.
There are two bands on the E.P. Carrillo Seleccion Oscuro. The primary band features the E.P. Carrillo red square logo with the gold cursive “E.P.” initials. The logo sits on a black background that has both solid and dotted gold lines surrounding it. Under the square is the text “CARRILLO” in white font. Just below that text is the text “Seleccion” in a gold cursive font.
Just below the primary band is a black secondary band that also is adorned with solid and dotted gold lines. On the center of the band is a gold rectangle nameplate-like design with the text “OSCURO” in black font. Just below that text is the text “ESPECIAL” in small white font.
Preparation for the Cigar Experience
Prior to lighting up the E.P. Carrillo Seleccion Oscuro Especial No. 6, I went with my usual choice of a straight cut. After successfully clipping the cap, I moved on to the pre-light draw experience. The cold draw provided a mix of earth, cocoa, and some generic wood notes. While this pre-light draw wasn’t radically different from what I would expect from an Oscuro cigar, it was also a satisfying one. At this point I was ready to light up my E.P. Carrillo Seleccion Oscuro Especial No. 6 and see what the smoking experience would have in store.
The start to the E.P. Carrillo Seleccion Oscuro Especial No. 6 pretty much continued where the pre-light draw left off. Right out of the gate, the Especial No. 6 delivered a mix of cocoa and earth in the forefront. The background produced a mix of generic wood notes and cedar spice. Meanwhile the retro-hale of the Especial No. 6 produced notes of cedar spice with a little bit of pepper mixed in.
As the E.P. Carrillo Seleccion Oscuro Especial No. 6, I found the cocoa notes became richer. Meanwhile the earth notes remained in the forefront and the wood / cedar combination remained secondary. As the Especial No. 6 moved into the second third, I found there were times where there was a slight malt quality to the cocoa notes.
During the early stages of the second half, I found the earth became a more prominent part of the flavors in the forefront. I was beginning to wonder if the Especial No. 6 was going to lose the cocoa qualities in the forefront. Meanwhile, the cedar and pepper combination increased. What I discovered was the transition to a full earthy profile did not occur. By the last third, there still was a combination of cocoa and earth in the forefront with the earth notes having a slight edge. The spices were now pretty much even with those notes. This is the way the flavor profile came to a close. The end of the cigar remained flavorful right until the end. The Especial No. 6 finished up with a nub that was cool in temperature and firm to the touch.
Burn and Draw
Overall I found the E.P. Carrillo Seleccion Oscuro Especial No. 6 to be a well-constructed cigar and this reflected nicely on the burn and draw. The cigar took a straight burn path and maintained a straight burn line throughout the smoking experience. Along the way, the Especial No. 6 did require what I would consider to be a normal amount of touch-ups. The resulting ash was on the firm side. The ash had a salt and pepper color skewed more toward the darker side. The burn rate and burn temperature were both ideal.
The draw performed quite well. There was a touch of resistance to the Especial No. 6 – which is something I like. This made the E.P. Carrillo Seleccion Oscuro Especial No. 6 an enjoyable smoke to puff on from start to finish.
Strength and Body
From both a strength and body perspective, this is not a cigar that will overpower you with nicotine or a lot of heavy flavors. Overall I assessed the E.P. Carrillo Seleccion Oscuro Especial No. 6 as a medium strength, medium-bodied cigar. I didn’t find much variance in either attribute from start to finish. Both the strength and body of the Especial No. 6 balanced each other nicely with neither attribute overshadowing the other.
The release of 2015’s E.P. Carrillo Seleccion Oscuro followed up La Historia the second dark San Andres wrapper release by E.P. Carrillo in a twelve month span. While there are parallels to the profiles, there still are enough differences between the two cigars where I feel there is a place for both of them. The one thing I liked about the E.P. Carrillo Seleccion Oscuro Especial No. 6 is I felt the Mexican wrapper did not have a dominant effect on the blend like it did on the La Historia blend. This is a cigar I would recommend to either a novice or experienced cigar enthusiast. As for myself, this is a cigar I would definitely smoke again – and it’s one worthy of a box split.
Assessment: 3.5-Box Split
News: E.P. Carrillo to Introduce Seleccion Oscuro at 2015 IPCPR
Stogie Geeks Podcast: Episode 178
Stogie Feed: E.P. Carrillo Seleccion Oscuro Especial No. 6