For those of you that don’t know…

Back in the cigar boom of the 1990’s, Ernesto Perez-Carrillo Jr. was extremely well known for his cigars that he blended for La Gloria Cubana and the sticks with Maduro wrappers were some of his most popular and noted cigars.

Everyone knew that E.P. Carrillo, Ernesto’s new company, would eventually release a Maduro blend in their lineup, but honestly, I was surprised how long it took to come to fruition. When I asked Ernesto Jr. about it, he explained that he just wanted to get it right, and that it took a little longer then expected to find the perfect combination that he was looking for.

Although the Maduro line has quite a bit of similarities with the Core Line, according to Ernesto Jr., there are some significant differences in the blend. The binder has been changed to a Sumatra from Ecuador, and one leaf in the filler has been changed from Seco (in the Core Line) to Viso (in the Maduro) in order to add a bit more strength.

As for the Maduro wrapper, it is Connecticut Broadleaf sourced from the U.S. Ernesto Jr. had this to say about the wrapper that he finally ended up using for this blend:

“I was going to use a Mexican Maduro, but opted for a Broadleaf, which is one of the best I’ve seen in over 15 years. We’ll also be using a Mexican in the future, but this Broadleaf is great. It reminds me of the one we bought back in the 70’s from the Portilla family grown by Zera Farms in Connecticut.”

There will be 8 different vitolas in the Core Maduro line when they are available (interestingly, the exact same sizes and prices as the Core Line), ranging in price from $5.25 to $9.30. They will be sold in boxes of 20, and the sizes and prices are:

  • No. 4 — 5 1/8 x 42 — $5.25
  • Encantos — 4 7/8 x 50 — $6.45
  • Regalias Real — 5 5/8 x 46 — $6.55
  • Club 52 — 5 7/8 x 52 — $7.20
  • Churchill Especial — 7 1/8 x 49 — $7.70
  • Predilectos (Torpeado) — 6 1/8 x 52 — $8.20
  • Golosos — 6 1/4 x 60 — $8.70
  • Monumentos — 7 3/8 x 56 — $9.30

You can see the difference in the color of the wrappers in this photo. The new Short Run 2011 is on top, the Core Line is in the middle, and the new Maduro is on bottom (obviously):

E.P. Carrillo Core Line Maduro Club 52 1.png

The Boxes the E.P Carrillo Core Maduro come in look like this:

E.P. Carrillo Core Line Maduro Club 52 2.png

E.P. Carrillo Core Line Maduro Club 52 3.png

E.P. Carrillo Core Line Maduro Club 52 4.png

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But enough of that, let’s get down to business, shall we?

  • Cigar Reviewed: E.P. Carrillo Core Line Maduro Club 52
  • Country of Origin: Dominican Republic
  • Factory: Tabacalera La Alianza S.A.
  • Wrapper: Connecticut Broadleaf
  • Binder: Ecuador Sumatra
  • Filler: Nicaraguan and Dominican Republic
  • Size: 5 7/8 inches
  • Ring Gauge: 52
  • Vitola: Toroish
  • MSRP: $7.20 (Boxes of 20, $144.00)
  • Release Date: End of July 2011
  • Number of Cigars Smoked for Review: 3

The cigar itself is a wonderful specimen with a dark espresso brown wrapper that is fairly dry and rough to the touch. It has the perfect amount of resistance when squeezed, and the wrapper smells strongly of sweet coco, earth and manure. Prelight notes include dark chocolate, cedar, and sweet leather.

 

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The First Third starts out with strong dark chocolate and coffee notes, along with just a tiny amount of spice on the retrohale. Leather and a toasty note flirt in and out as well, but not as strong. There is a nice sweetness in the background that really sets the other flavors off. It is already showing its strength as well.

E.P. Carrillo Core Line Maduro Club 52 5.png

The Second Third is still quite earthy, along with a strong leather note, but adds in some slightly bitter espresso, cinnamon and just a hint of fruitish flavor, although I can’t tell which at this moment. The strength is ramping up a bit, although it was already strong.

E.P. Carrillo Core Line Maduro Club 52 6.png

The Final Third has more sweetness, and the fruit flavor is also stronger, cherry perhaps something close to that. Added with the core leather and (dark) chocolate flavors, it makes for a great finish. The strength ends at a medium-plus to full-minus, strong enough to take notice, but not so strong that it overwhelms any of the flavors.

E.P. Carrillo Core Line Maduro Club 52 7.png

 

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Final Notes:

  • It took a few puffs for the flavors to ramp up, but once they did, it was a never ending roller coaster.
  • I truly love how EPC is releasing their own take on each classic blend of cigars. First was the New Wave Connecticut, which they turned on its head (for the better, I assure you), and now is the Maduro, which is so classic tasting, but so well blended that it is hard to find fault in it.
  • It is interesting to me that this Maduro blend seems to sacrifice pepper and spice for a more mellow (spiciness), stronger (strength) blend, but also more flavorful. I wish it had more pepper throughout, but I can see why they did not.
  • I also find it interesting that Ernesto thought about using a Mexican Maduro for the wrapper, even making some samples to that effect, before choosing the Connecticut Broadleaf.
  • The draw was perfect on every sample I smoked, but the burn was far from perfect on every sample, not a horrible burn, but they did need touching up once or twice each.
  • There is quite a bit of smoke that comes from these, smelling of a nice sweet wood and leather.
  • The final smoking time for all of the samples ranged from 1 Hour and 40 minutes to 1 Hour and 50 minutes.

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The Bottom Line: I am a huge fan of pretty much every cigar that EPC puts out for a reason. Each blend is a totally different animal, with their own dominant flavors and profiles, and the Maduro is just another example of a cigar done right. While it is a more mellow blend in terms of spice or pepper than the Short Run 2011, it is also stronger, a bit more flavorful, and is perfectly balanced. To me, this is what a Maduro blend SHOULD be: sweet undertone with great, distinct flavors of chocolate and fruit and the strength that it exhibited is just a wonderful bonus. Buy with confidence, if you love the Maduro flavors.

 

 

Final Score: 91

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.