While it is not exactly an everyday occurrence, historical brands from decades—and even a century—ago are periodically brought back to life, albeit usually by different companies and with different blends. The Cuban Tradition Group brought back Counsellor Cigars in 2015, JR Cigar released a new version of the Cabañas brand in 2019 and Pure Aroma Cigars—makers of the D’Crossier brand—brought back the long-lost Lords of England brand that was originally produced in Havana, Cuba in the early 1900s.

Last year, Vandermarliere Family of Cigars—the owner of J. Cortès and Oliva Cigar Co.—purchased the rights to Cuba Aliados, a Honduran brand made popular by the late Rolando Reyes Sr. in the 1990s. In June, the company announced that there would be two new Cuba Aliados lines: the Cuba Aliados Original Blend is a regular production being made Julio Eiroa of JRE Tobacco Co., while the Cuba Aliados by Ernesto Perez-Carrillo is a limited edition release being produced by E.P. Carrillo. The two blends are being done as a nod to Reyes’ travels after leaving Cuba in 1970 as he sought to find soil and growing conditions similar to his homeland, a journey that led him to Honduras in 1990.

“We are incredibly indebted to all Cubans who were so brave in leaving their home country to follow their dreams and passions in keeping the heritage of cigar-making a life, outside of Cuba,” said Fred Vanermarliere, owner of the Vandermarliere Family of Cigars, in a press release. “This project is to honor all of the sacrifices they’ve made. It also symbolizes the united front and alliances we need to make as cigar companies to stand together in light of new regulations. To be able to bring this iconic brand back to life and include both Julio and Ernesto, especially with their strong ties to Rolando, is very special. We made sure to take every step possible to pay homage to its storied past.”

In terms of blend, the Cuba Aliados by Ernesto Perez-Carrillo uses an Ecuadorian Sumatra wrapper that has been aged for five years covering a Nicaraguan binder as well as filler tobaccos grown in both the Dominican Republic and Nicaragua. Total production is limited to 15,000 boxes: 10,000 of those are destined for the U.S. market while the remaining 5,000 boxes are being shipped to international markets.

There are currently five different vitolas in the Cuba Aliados by Ernesto Perez-Carrillo line, all packaged in 20-count boxes.

  • Cuba Aliados by Ernesto Perez-Carrillo Robusto (5 x 50) — $14 (Box of 20, $280)
  • Cuba Aliados by Ernesto Perez-Carrillo Torpedo (6 x 54) — $14.75 (Box of 20, $295)
  • Cuba Aliados by Ernesto Perez-Carrillo Toro (6 x 52) — $14.50 (Box of 20, $290)
  • Cuba Aliados by Ernesto Perez-Carrillo ReGordo (6 x 60) — $15.50 (Box of 20, $310)
  • Cuba Aliados by Ernesto Perez-Carrillo Churchill (7 x 50) — $15 (Box of 20, $300)

  • Cigar Reviewed: Cuba Aliados by Ernesto Perez-Carrillo Torpedo
  • Country of Origin: Dominican Republic
  • Factory: Tabacalera La Alianza S.A.
  • Wrapper: Ecuador (Sumatra)
  • Binder: Nicaragua
  • Filler: Dominican Republic & Nicaragua
  • Length: 6 Inches
  • Ring Gauge: 54
  • Vitola: Torpedo
  • MSRP: $14.75 (Box of 20, $295)
  • Release Date: July 2022
  • Number of Cigars Released: 15,000 Boxes of 20 Cigars (300,000 Total Cigars)
  • Number of Cigars Smoked For Review: 3

From the rough and mottled reddish brown wrapper that looks like it was dipped in oil to the band featuring gold and red foil highlights, there is a lot to love about the Cuba Aliados by Ernesto Perez-Carrillo Torpedo from a visual perspective. There are multiple overt veins running up and down the length of each cigar, and I can’t help but notice a large soft spot on one that is located just above the foot band. Aromas of creamy oak, leather, fresh brewed coffee, tobacco, earth and sweet bread emanate from the wrapper, along with a small amount of citrus peel. The foot smells like sweet almonds, earth, hay, barnyard, bitter chocolate and leather. Finally, after a Dickman cut the cold draw brings flavors of more almonds, earth, graham crackers, allspice, black pepper, leather tack and a slight vegetal note.

Distinct leather and earth flavors are the first things to greet me just after lighting up the foot of the Cuba Aliados, along with some very slight spice on my tongue that begins to dissipate almost immediately. After about five puffs, a cedar flavor joins the earth note and both take over the top spots in the profile, followed by cinnamon, leather tack, almonds, cocoa nibs and light citrus peel. On the retrohale, black pepper combines with a nice vanilla bean sweetness, although there is definitely more of the former than the latter at this point. Flavor ends the first third at a point just under medium, while the body and strength are both at mild-plus but increasing. In terms of construction, all three cigars feature plenty of thick, gray smoke and excellent draws, and while two of the three have no issues with the burn, one cigar runs into trouble early on that necessitates a couple of quick corrections.

The spice on my tongue that was present throughout the first is long gone by the time the second third begins, but the main flavor combination of earth and cedar has not changed. Secondary notes include citrus peel, espresso beans, dark chocolate, almonds and a bit more cinnamon, while the black pepper and vanilla bean sweetness on the retrohale have both decreased slightly. Flavor increases just a bit to hit a solid medium while the body and strength increase in tandem to land at a point just under medium. Construction-wise, the draws and smoke production continue on their excellent paths, while the burn on two cigars has become problematic enough that I am forced to touch them up to keep the burn on track.

Unfortunately, the final third of the Cuba Aliados is essentially a continuation of the second third, including the combination of earth and cedar that easily tops the profile until the end of the cigar. Additional flavors of coffee beans, cocoa nibs, cinnamon, citrus peel, generic nuts and leather flit in and out at various points, and there is a very slight vegetal note that becomes apparent on the finish of one cigar, although it does not last long. There is a small change when it comes to the retrohale, as the black pepper has receded a bit, allowing a tad more vanilla bean sweetness to emerge. Flavor ends the cigar unchanged at a solid medium, where it is joined by the strength, but the body stays put at just under medium. Finally, while the smoke production and draws continue to give me no issues on all three cigars until I put the nubs down with an inch remaining, two of the cigars run into burn issues again that result in a couple of corrections each with my lighter.

Final Notes

  • Vandermarliere Family of Cigars purchased the rights to two other Honduran cigar trademarks at the same time as the Cuba Aliados: Puros Indios and Roly.
  • Interestingly, these are not the first new Cuba Aliados cigars since Oliva purchased the brand: there is actually an AJ Fernandez-made release that appears to be a private label for catalog retailers.
  • Despite the name, the Cuba Aliados Original Blend being made by JRE Tobacco Co. is not the blend that was used for the original Cuba Aliados line. Instead, it is made with all Honduran tobacco.
  • While the Cuba Aliados by Ernesto Perez-Carrillo and the Cuba Aliados Original Blend debuted with the same five sizes, the cigars made by Ernesto Perez-Carrillo have noticeably higher price points.
  • The bands used for this release are extremely well-made, but I do find them to be a bit overwhelming from a visual standpoint since they include a total of four different colors, two of which are foil. And that is before you take the foot band into account.
  • Oliva Cigar Co. advertises on halfwheel.
  • The cigars smoked for this review were purchased by halfwheel.
  • The final smoking time averaged two hours and 7 minutes for all three cigars.
86 Overall Score

I am a big fan of companies reintroducing defunct brands—and the older, the better, if only for the historical aspect—so I was looking forward to what the Cuba Aliados by Ernesto Perez-Carrillo had in store. Unfortunately, what I found was a fairly linear profile full of mainly earth and leather flavors, with some minor citrus peel, dark chocolate and vanilla bean sweetness thrown in. Construction was decent with easy draws and plenty of thick smoke, but each of the three cigars needed attention from my lighter at least once to stay on track. In the end, the new Cuba Aliados is nowhere near the top when it comes to E.P. Carrillo blends, but I am looking forward to seeing how the Cuba Aliados Original Blend compares.

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Brooks Whittington

I have been smoking cigars for over eight years. A documentary wedding photographer by trade, I spent seven years as a photojournalist for the Dallas Morning News and the Fort Worth Star Telegram. I started the cigar blog SmokingStogie in 2008 after realizing that there was a need for a cigar blog with better photographs and more in-depth information about each release. SmokingStogie quickly became one of the more influential cigar blogs on the internet, known for reviewing preproduction, prerelease, rare, extremely hard-to-find and expensive cigars. I am a co-founder of halfwheel and now serve as an editor for halfwheel.