Agile Cigar Reviews are cigar assessments where we use a lightweight, shorter format. These will never take the place of our comprehensive reviews. They are only used on blends we have previously assessed. This might be a blend we are re-scoring or giving a score for the first time. It might be a blend we are looking at in a different size. Today, we look at the E.P. Carrillo Pledge Firecracker. This is a cigar blend previously assessed back in May 2023 in the Apogee size.

EP Carrillo Pledge Firecracker_

Wrapper: Connecticut Havana
Binder: Ecuadorian
Filler: Nicaraguan
Country of Origin: Dominican Republic
Factory: Tabacalera La Alianza
Firecracker: 3 1/2 x 50

Over the years, the Firecracker Series has evolved into a platform to produce some unique expressions of many existing brands. The Firecracker is a 3 1/2 x 50 that features a long fuse stemming from the cap. The series started as a concept created by David Garofalo as an exclusive to his Two Guys Smoke Shop stores to commemorate Independence Day. The first Firecracker was done by My Father Cigars based on the Don Pepin Original Label. The series morphed into an annual release with different manufacturers producing Firecrackers. Eventually, the series moved into Garofalo’s United Cigars distribution arm. In 2023, E.P. Carrillo was selected to produce a Firecracker version of its highly acclaimed E.P. Carrillo Pledge line.

There certainly is an impressive list of manufacturers, and the Firecracker Series has grown. Four different Firecrackers were released in 2023 – with three released for a specific occasion: E.P. Carrillo Pledge Firecracker (Independence Day), All Saints St. Patrick’s Day Firecracker (St. Patrick’s Day), and Street Tacos Elote Firecracker (Cinco de Mayo). Also added was a new regular production Firecracker called Black Bomb.

The E.P. Carrillo Pledge is produced at Ernesto Perez-Carillo’s Tabacalera La Alianza, located in the Dominican Republic. The blend features a Connecticut Havana wrapper over an Ecuadorian binder and all-Nicaraguan fillers. One thing that is different from the core Pledge line is that the Pledge Firecracker is rounded. A total production of 20,000 cigars (1,000 20-count boxes) was produced.

The E.P. Carrillo Pledge Firecracker opened up with notes of mocha, earth, cedar, and a combination of mixed pepper notes. During the early phases, the retro-hale had a combination of mixed pepper and cedar. The mocha notes moved to the forefront while the earth, cedar, and mixed pepper settled in the background. Some licorice notes also emerged during the first third. The second third saw the mocha notes recede into the background and the earth notes take over as the primary note. The final third saw the earth notes remain primary. There was an increase in the pepper component, but it didn’t overtake. The mocha, cedar, and licorice rounded out the flavor profile. The cigar finished with a cool, firm nub.

Throughout the smoking experience, the flavors delivered were medium-bodied, and the strength was medium-bodied. The burn required little in the way of touch-ups, while the draw was ideal with a touch of resistance.


Final Thoughts

A side note before the final assessment. With four different Firecrackers released in 2023, I’m getting very concerned about the Firecracker Series “jumping the shark.” I’m still very intrigued by the whole concept of this series, but it feels like it’s getting diluted. On the other hand, these cigars continue to sell quite well.

As for the E.P. Carrillo Pledge Firecracker, it is a cigar that was enjoyable, but it was not the most enjoyable size of the Pledge line (that honor still goes to the E.P. Carrillo Pledge Prequel). Flavorwise, I liked the first third (about an inch), but then the cigar became more ordinary. The Pledge Firecracker is an example of a cigar that is good, but not great. Still, there was enough going on for me to recommend this cigar to any cigar enthusiast. As for myself, if I can find it, this is a cigar I would still buy and smoke again.


Key Flavors: Mocha, Earth, Licorice, Cedar, MixedPepper
Burn: Excellent
Draw: Excellent
Complexity: Medium Plus
Strength: Medium
Body: Medium to Full
Finish: Excellent


Value: Buy One
Score: 89


Previous Assessment: E.P. Carrillo Pledge Apogee
News: Cigar News: United Cigars Announces E.P. Carrillo Pledge Firecracker
Price: $7.00
Source: Purchased
Brand Reference: E.P. Carrillo, Firecracker

Photo Credit: Cigar Coop