Top to bottom, there’s no competition, it’s E.P. Carrillo. Simply put, there is not a cigar brand that puts out a better portfolio than E.P. Carrillo. There’s no simple way to define what Ernesto Perez-Carrillo Jr. and his children have done. Sometimes, it’s a spin on a classic concept, hence the wildly-popular New Wave Connecticut; other times, like in the case of the upcoming Maduro line, Carrillo returns to his roots with the La Gloria Cubana he built in Miami. 2011 has been a big year for EPC; lots more releases, lots more distribution, and lots more numbers. After the jump, a summary of E.P. Carrillo’s products at the alphabet soup trade show.
Ernesto was excited about his project for IPCPR 2012, Cabinet Selection. He plans on using a special from Ecuador, and that was about all he would say.
Extensions to the Core Line were the Monumentos (7 3/8 x 56) and No. 4 (5 1/8 x 42).
Core Line Maduro
Earlier this year, some of the more knowledgable people in this industry seemed to all universally began to wonder if Broadleaf could be dead. Not dead as in a crop has gone away, but questioning whether, after an onslaught of Pepín Broadleaf releases, has Broadleaf turned into a fad. I wasn’t ready to jump on that bandwagon, but I did see the point, the releases were becoming too familiar. Safely, I say Broadleaf is back. The E.P. Carrillo Core Line Maduro got very little buzz at the show, which is a bit puzzling given La Gloria Maduros are sort of what Ernesto was known for, circa 1970s. Anyways, a few tweaks to the filler and some dark Connecticut Broadleaf, and… winning.
- Churchill Especial (7 1/8 x 49)
- Club 52 (5 7/8 x 52)
- Encantos (4 7/8 x 50)
- Golosos (6 1/4 x 60)
- Monumentos (7 3/8 x 56)
- No. 4 (5 1/8 x 42)
- Predilectos (6 1/8 x 52)
- Regalias (5 5/8 x 46)
Edición Limitada 2011
Still on target for later this year. Known as the “Dark Rituals” it comes in a fairly rustic box and the few that have smoked it have already declared it a classic. For those wondering, it took about a day for EPC to sell out of the Broadleaf stick.
New Wave Connecticut
The popular NWC received a 6 x 60 extension known as “El Decano.”
Short Run 2012
Let the rumors start… no Short Run in 2012, as of now at least.
I asked Ernesto if he had any plans for client/private brands at Tabacalera La Alianza S.A. His response was a touch-and-go maybe. It’s not something that EPC is opposed to, but it’s a matter of the right opportunity. The question going forward with EPC is: how big is too big, too quick? Eight vitolas of the Maduro, eight vitolas of the Core Line, five NWCs, three Elencos, three new Short Runs, a new LE and… By the end of 2010, E.P. Carrillo had a total of eleven cigars (six core, three Short Run sizes and two LEs); by the end of 2011, EPC will have twenty-eight. Sure, a lot of them are limited editions/runs, but it’s clear E.P. Carrillo will not be a “boutique” cigar company in function, it will be a lot more. What’s been remarkable is despite a national sales presence (that ranges from small shops to JR) and a relatively young factory, quality is consistently excellent.
E.P. Carrillo might be less than three years old, but Ernesto has been around the block with the best of them and is putting out cigars consistently better than just about anyone. — el niño diablo.