At the 2017 IPCPR Trade Show, E.P. Carrillo announced the return of the E.P. Carrillo Elencos line. The story of Elencos traces back to 2010 at the time when Ernesto Perez-Carrillo’s E.P. Carrillo brand was in its infancy. Ernesto had released the first of his Edición Limitada series known as the E.P. Carrillo Edición Limitada 2010. The 6 x 54 cigar featured a Brazilian Habano wrapper and it gave E.P. Carrillo its first placement on the prestigious Cigar Aficionado Top 25 (it finished #8). The following year, the company decided to put the blend into an ongoing limited production line of three sizes known as the E.P. Carrillo Elencos. At one point, there were even plans to add an E.P. Carrillo Elencos Oscuro (Maduro). Eventually, the decision was made to discontinue the Elencos line and by 2013, Elencos began to disappear from retailer shelves. Fast forward to 2017, Ernesto decided the time was right to bring back the E.P. Carrillo Elencos line. Elencos returns with the same blend and same sizes, but this time with new packaging consistent with what E.P. Carrillo introduced in 2016 across its portfolio. Today, we revisit the E.P. Carrillo Elencos in the Elites size – the same sized 6 x 54 vitola that was the original Edición Limitada 2010.
One of the big stories of 2016 was a full overhaul of the products in the E.P. Carrillo portfolio. This consisted of a combination of re-blends, re-packaging, and new blends. As a part of this overhaul, most of the cigars were aligned into five different tiers.
While the pyramid diagram above was unveiled prior to the re-release of the E.P. Carrillo Elencos, the Elencos has been put into a grouping known as the E.P. Carrillo Elite Series. For all practical purposes, this is a grouping of what could be considered some of E.P. Carrillo’s more premium cigars. The company describes this as follows:
Hours spent on tobacco farms and fields looking for the perfect leaf. Hours spent on the factory floor blending to create the perfect cigar. Ernesto Perez-Carrillo spends these hours creating the Elite Series. Cigars that are worth the name Elite, due to the use of unique tobaccos and blends. A master achievement in flavor, character and time spent for each cigar to be called Elite.
The Elite Series includes the following offerings:
- E.P. Carrillo New Wave Reserva – Repackaged
- E.P. Carrillo Selección Oscuro – Repackaged
- E.P. Carrillo Capa de Sol – New Blend
- E.P. Carrillo Elencos – Repackaged blend making a return
Let’s take a closer look at the E.P. Carrillo Elencos Elites and see what this cigar brings to the table:
Country of Origin: Dominican Republic (Tabacalera La Alianza)
There are three sizes in the Elencos line, the same three sizes that were a part of the original Elencos line. Each size is available in 20-count boxes:
Don Rubino: 5 1/4 x 50
Elites: 6 x 54
Acto Mayor: 6 1/4 x 52
The E.P. Carrillo Elencos Elites’ Brazilian wrapper is the color of roasted coffee beans. Upon closer examination, I could see some darker mottling on the surface. There wasn’t much in the way of oil on the wrapper. This was a wrapper with a slightly rugged surface that I found gave the cigar a nice charm. The surface of the wrapper had some visible veins as well as some prominently visible wrapper seams.
The design of the Elencos band features a silver and black color scheme with accents of red and white. The center of the band features the silver “EP” scripted logo on a slightly rounded black square with silver trim. Below that is the text “CARRILLO” in white font and just below that text is the text “Elite” in black cursive font. To the left and right of the logo are silver medallions. The text “Hand” and “Made” in white font flank the medallions on the left and right side, respectively. The far right has a small silver, white, and red shield. The lower part of the band has a black ribbon design with the text “Elencos” in white cursive font on the center with the text “FLOR” and “FINA” to the left and right. The remainder of the band is mostly black with silver adornments and touches of red.
One footnote: When Elencos was re-introduced at the 2017 IPCPR Trade Show, it was showcased with the name “Elenco”. This turned out to be an error, but E.P. Carrillo still chose to showcase the cigar and the packaging. The cigar name has always remained “Elencos”.
Preparation for the Cigar Experience
Prior to lighting up the E.P. Carrillo Elencos Elites, I used a straight cut to remove the cap of the cigar. Once the cap was removed, I proceeded with the pre-light draw experience. The cold draw delivered mostly notes of earth and cocoa with subtle hints of cedar. Overall, I considered this to be a very good pre-light draw. At this point, I was ready to light up the E.P. Carrillo Elencos Elites and see what the smoking phase would have in store.
The start E.P. Carrillo Elencos Elites delivered a mix of cocoa, earth, and dried fruit. I also detected notes of red pepper and cedar in the background. The red pepper notes were also prominent on the retro-hale.
During the early stages, the cocoa notes moved to the forefront. The cocoa notes soon transitioned to more of a mocha flavor as some coffee qualities entered the equation. The dried fruit notes and earth remained close secondary notes with the pepper and cedar in the more distant background. Toward the end of the first third, I found the dried fruit notes increased in intensity. By the start of the second third, the dried fruit joined the cocoa in the forefront.
As the E.P. Carrillo Elencos Elites moved through the second third, I found the dried fruit notes alternated with the mocha as to which was the most prominent note. By the midway point, the dried fruit notes had the edge over the mocha. Meanwhile, there still were notes of earth, pepper, and cedar rounding out the remainder of the profile.
Once the Elencos Elites entered the second half, the dried fruit notes started to slowly diminish while the red pepper notes slowly increased in intensity. Concurrently, the earth notes started to resurface and moved in the forefront with the dried fruit.
By the last third, I found there wasn’t a dominant flavor, but the profile seemed to have a combination of earth, dried fruit, and red pepper. There still were notes of mocha in the background. By this point, the cedar notes had pretty much dissipated. This is the way the cigar experience of the E.P. Carrillo Elencos Elites came to a close. The resulting nub was lukewarm temperature and slightly soft to the touch.
Burn and Draw
While at times there was a bit of unevenness, in general, I found the burn of the E.P. Elencos Elites had no problem maintaining a straight burn path. The resulting ash wasn’t overly firm, but it wasn’t loose or flaky either. The ash itself was mostly light gray in color with some occasional darker spots. The burn rate remained ideal. Except for the very end where the cigar got slightly lukewarm, I found the burn temperature was also ideal.
The draw to the E.P. Carrillo Elencos Elites was what I describe as open, but not loose. This was a low maintenance cigar to derive flavor from.
Strength and Body
My previous experience with the Elencos blend was almost a year ago. At that time I had smoked a Don Rubino (Robusto) size with about five years of age. That cigar pretty much was in the medium/medium to full range in terms of strength and body. That was mellowed somewhat compared to what I first smoked in 2011 when the Elencos was released.
From what I have smoked from the 2017 re-release of E.P. Carrillo Elencos in the Elites size, I found the strength and body to be in the range of what I smoked in 2011. This was a cigar that was medium to full in strength and body to start. Both attributes increased in intensity. While the strength level came close to hitting the full level by the end of the cigar, the body passed the threshold by the second third.
Throughout the smoking experience, I found the body had a slight edge over the strength.
If you have missed the E.P. Elencos, I have good news for you – Elencos is back and better than ever. It is quite difficult to bring a cigar back after several years, but E.P. Carrillo has succeeded in doing so. For one thing, the vintages of the tobaccos have changed and that could have an impact on the blend. Flavor-wise, I find the Elencos delivers its best stuff during the first two thirds. While the last third wasn’t at the same level flavor-wise as the first two thirds, it’s still what I term a better than average cigar experience. This is a cigar I would probably steer to the more experienced cigar enthusiast, but it’s also a good cigar for a novice to “graduate” to something fuller. As for myself, this is a cigar I’d smoke again and one of which I would be willing to purchase a full box.
Key Flavors: Mocha, Earth, Red Pepper, Dried Fruit, Cedar
Burn: Very Good
Draw: Very Good
Strength: Medium to Full
Body: Medium to Full (1st Third), Full (Remainder)
Value: Box Purchase
Photo Credits: Cigar Coop, except where noted.