When I saw Cigar Aficionado post their top 25 cigars for 2016, my immediate response is to always scan the list to see what our stores currently carry and also to see what our stores might possibly be able to carry! Too many times though we find the highly rated Cuban offerings and the esoteric limited production boutique blends that are nearly impossible to track down. This year did give us some pleasant surprises and one that definitely caught my eye was an offering from Ernesto P Carrillo residing in that number 4 position. It was a cigar that I knew absolutely nothing about but sounded wonderful so we got on the phone and ordered in a large quantity.
I could ramble on for quite some time about Ernesto Perez-Carillo and his contributions to the world of cigars from his days of La Gloria Cubana and the master of the large format cigars to his current venture which is EPC cigars. His Inch series was highly successful and his La Historia lineup received outstanding reviews just a few years back so there was a definite interest in seeing what this cigar had to offer. The cigar in question is the E. P. Carrillo Seleccion Oscuro Piramides Royal and I finally managed to get my hands on one the other evening.
First thing I noticed was the appearance of this beautiful cigar. A very dark Mexican San Andres Oscuro wrapper is the highlight of this first appearance. With very few veins and a perfect wrap it was a thing of beauty. Firm to the touch and a great rich aroma. Inside was an Ecuadorian binder and a unique Nicaraguan blend of filler leaves which they are not really disclosing what the makeup is. This was going to be a smoke with a lot of flavor!
This cigar started out bold to the taste and just never let up. However bold in this case means bold in flavor but not a big powerhouse in terms of strength. With its perfect draw and clean burn this outstanding cigar stayed right around that medium to medium-full mark but the flavors were just full and right out front throughout the smoke. These were great flavors of rich dark fruit and lots of dark chocolate and a bit of spice. A little pepper would kick in every so often that simply served to cut through the richness of the underlying flavors. I have smoked many cigars in my time but this was by far the richest and smoothest flavors I have ever experienced. There was never a harsh note to be found in this cigar which is a slow burning and cool smoke.
While this was not an over-powering cigar, it may be a bit much for a new smoker only because it just never lets up on delivering big and bold flavors. It is a very complex cigar but also one of the smoothest cigars I have ever smoked. This is a cigar to have after dinner or with a rich Port or red wine or a dark and heavy Porter or Stout. I highly recommend this fine cigar and it definitely deserved the 94 rating that it received!
Steve Mungeer, Category Manager: Premium Cigars and Craft Beer
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