At the 2016 IPCPR Trade Show, E.P. Carrillo announced a new line known as the Encore. Prior to that trade show, the E.P. Carrillo portfolio underwent a major overhaul. During that time, the La Historia and Encore were put in a group in the E.P. Carrillo portfolio that became known as the Perez-Carrillo Series (which was originally called the Family Series). While Encore was showcased at the 2016 IPCPR Trade Show, the Encore took some time to make it into widespread distribution. Fast-forward a year to the 2017 IPCPR Trade Show, and many expected the Encore to have a formal launch. That didn’t quite happen as owner Ernesto Perez-Carrillo Jr. opted to work the blend some more. It wouldn’t be until March 2018 when the Encore would finally hit stores. Today, we take a look at the Encore by E.P. Carrillo in the Majestic size.
When the Perez-Carrillo Series was originally announced as the Family series, it was described as follows:
Perez-Carrillo, as a name, has been known in the Cigar Industry for years. Ernesto is a Junior and his father before him and the family before that all have been integrally involved in making cigars for generations. This is what was the inspiration for the Family Series of Cigars. These cigars are generations of know how, poured into unique blends and culminate as the creations of Ernesto Perez-Carrillo himself. Only these cigars are allowed to bear the name Perez-Carrillo and each vitola is an homage to someone within the family. Cigars that are the pride and joy of the Perez-Carrillo family history.
Both the La Historia and Encore became lines that would garner significant critical acclaim. La Historia would snag the #2 Cigar of the Year on Cigar Aficionado’s highly coveted Top 25 list. Four years later, Encore Majestic would top that – capturing the #1 Cigar of the Year on the Cigar Aficionado list, and the Valientes size snagged Cigar of the Year honors by Prime Time Special Edition’s Bear Duplisea.
Without further ado, let’s break down the Encore by E.P. Carrillo in the Majestic size and see what this cigar brings to the table.
Blend and Origin
The Encore by E.P. Carrillo is a Nicaraguan puro. While it wasn’t the first all-Nicaraguan cigar made by E.P. Carrillo (that cigar was the E.P. Carrillo Short Run 2016 Nicaragua), there are some differences with this blend. The tobacco used for the Encore was aged and cured in something called tercios. Tercios comes from the bark of palm trees and is used to wrap the tobaccos in bales. After the tobacco is wrapped, there is some additional aging that occurs.
Country of Origin: Nicaragua
Factory: Tabacalera La Alianza S.A.
The four vitolas of the Encore are presented in 10-count boxes. The sizes of the four vitolas are the same sizes of the vitolas in the La Historia line, but with different names. Like La Historia, Encore is a box-pressed line.
Majestic: 5 3/8 x 52
Celestrial: 6 1/8 x 50
Valientes: 6 1/8 x 52
El Primero: 6 7/8 x 54
The Nicaraguan wrapper of the Encore Majestic had a medium brown color. There wasn’t much in the way of oil on the surface. It was a relatively smooth wrapper with any visible veins on the thin side and the wrapper seams well hidden. The box-press of the cigar is a Cuban soft-press style.
There are two bands on the cigar. The primary band is a variation of the La Historia band but it features a copper, rose-gold, brown, and beige color scheme. The center of the band features a chest-like design. Sitting on the chest is the text “Perez Carrillo” in a large silver cursive font and the text “Encore” just below it in white cursive font. To the left of the chest is the portrait of a woman in a tobacco field which is said to be Perez-Carrillo’s grandmother. To the right is a portrait of a woman with Miami in the background who resembles Ernesto’s daughter Lissette Perez-Carrillo. On the far left of the band is the Perez family coat of arms. On the far right is the Carrillo family coat of arms. The band itself has a copper foil-like trim around it.
The secondary band is much simpler. It is brown with copper trim. On the brown background is the text “PEREZ CARRILLO” in white font.
Finally, around the footer area of the cigar is an antique white ribbon.
After removing the ribbon from the footer, a straight cut was used to commence the cigar experience of the Encore Majestic. Once the cap was removed, I moved on to the pre-light draw. The dry draw provided a prelude of things to come as notes of earth, natural tobacco, fruit, and a slight amount of cedar were picked up. I judged this to be a very good pre-light draw. At this point it was time to light up the Encore Majestic and await what the smoking phase would have in store.\
The Encore Majestic picked up where the pre-light draw left off as there were moore notes of natural tobacco, cedar, fruit, and earth. During the early stages some black pepper also entered the occasion. There was a fusion that developed between the cedar and natural tobacco that produced a unique flavor. The cedar/natural tobacco combination moved to the forefront early on. The fruit notes were a close secondary note with the earth and pepper more distant. Meanwhile the retro-hale produced another layer of black pepper and cedar.
During the second third, the fused natural tobacco and cedar combination continued. This combination contained a mix of sweet and bitter flavors. The fruit sweetness that had been present earlier on had diminished. Meanwhile, there still were note of earth and black pepper in the more distant background.
The final third of the Encore Majestic saw the earthy notes more prominent and join the natural tobacco/cedar combination in the forefront. There was an slight increase in black pepper, and there were still touches of fruit sweetness in the background. This is the way the Encore Majestic came to a close. The resulting nub cool in temperature and firm to the touch.
On each of the samples smoked, there were a few points where the burn line wanted to meander. This resulted in a few extra touch-ups above what I would consider the norm. The resulting ash had a salt and pepper color scheme which was at times skewed toward the dark side of gray. The burn temperature was ideal. This was a slightly quicker burning cigar taking an average of about 62 minutes to smoke.
The draw to the Encore Majestic is what I would describe as “open” but not a loose draw. I’ll infer this contributing to the slightly rapid burn rate. While normally I prefer a little more resistance on the draw, this still was a relatively low maintenance cigar to derive flavor from.
Strength and Body
In terms of strength, I assessed the Encore Majestic to be a solid medium. For the most part, there wasn’t a lot of variance in the strength level. The body of the Encore Majestic also started out medium, but by the midway point of the cigar experience, the cigar progressed into medium to full-bodied territory.
When looking at strength versus body, the body had a slight edge throughout the smoking experience.
There are two conclusions I came out of my smoking experience of the Encore Majestic. The first is that the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. While the flavor notes might not seem exotic, when combined it creates a synergy and the Encore smokes like no other Nicaraguan puro out there. The second is that this is a cigar that age is definitely kind to. I’ve smoked many of these over the past year, and I find the longer I’ve kept them in my humidor, the better they smoke (this review was based on cigars about six months old). The Encore Majestic is a cigar I would recommend to the experienced and novice cigar enthusiast. As for myself, it’s a cigar I’d smoke again – and it garners box worthy consideration.
Key Flavors: Natural Tobacco, Cedar, Fruit, Black Pepper, Earth
Burn: Very Good
Draw: Very Good
Complexity: Medium Plus
Finish: Very Good
Value: Box Worthy Consideration
News: E.P. Carrillo Perez-Carrillo Encore Slated for March 15th Release
Brand Reference: E.P. Carrillo
Photo Credits: Cigar Coop, except where noted