E.P. Carrillo Edición Limitada 2011 “Dark Rituals” (Prerelease)

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If you are not familiar with Ernesto Perez-Carrillo Jr., he is the man behind El Credito Cigar Company and most importantly the Domestic version of La Gloria Cubana cigars. More than a decade ago, he and his business partner, Lissette Perez-Carrillo McPhillips, who is also his daughter, sold the cigar business to General Cigar Co. Perez-Carrillo remained with General for ten years due to a contract.

However, in early 2009 Perez-Carrillo left General to start his own company with his daughter and son, Ernesto III. E.P. Carrillo Cigars LLC hit the ground running establishing a factory in the Dominican Republic, Tabacalera La Alianza S.A., and releasing the Edición Inaugural 2009, a cigar that sold well, despite a high price tag.

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Soon to follow were other small batch production cigars, the Short Run and the Edición Limitada 2010. Both were made in limited quantities and they did not stray from their tobaccos of choice using tobaccos from the Dominican Republic, Ecuador and Nicaragua.

Dark Rituals is the new Edición Limitada, a 6 1/2 x 56 behemoth wrapped in an “oscuro maduro” wrapper. It will come in boxes of 10, with an MSRP of $15 per cigar and production limited to 20,000.

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  • Cigar Reviewed: E.P Carrillo Edición Limitada 2011 “Dark Rituals”
  • Country of Origin: Dominican Republic
  • Factory: Tabacalera La Alianza S.A.
  • Wrapper: Oscuro Maduro
  • Binder: Ecuadorian Sumatra
  • Filler: Nicaragua
  • Size: 6 1/2 Inches
  • Ring Gauge: 56
  • Vitola: Toro Grande
  • MSRP: $15.00 (Boxes of 10, $150.00)
  • Release Date: October 2011
  • Number of Cigars Released: 2,000 Boxes of 10 Cigars (20,000 Total Cigars)
  • Number of Cigars Smoked for Review: 1

The first thing you notice about the Dark Rituals is the almost jet black wrapper that adorns it. The color is not uniform, but it is still quite dark. It is a very large cigar when held in your hand and it is quite firm when squeezed. The wrapper has a bit of oil on it and smells strongly of sweet wood, leather, dark chocolate and coffee.

The first third starts out immediately with an intense bitter espresso and dark chocolate notes, along with just a touch of leather. There is small amount of spice on the lips as well. I can taste some sweetness on the fringes, but at this point in the cigar, I can’t put on finger on what flavor it is.

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The second third starts out the same as the first third, but then starts to shift a bit to more of a mellow profile. I taste a stronger sweetness then the first third, almost like rum, intertwined with some raisins. The spice from the first third has almost totally disappeared by the end of the half, although it does pop up every now and again, but the chocolate and the leather note is also gone. Dark and mellow espresso is still the forefront note. I can feel the cigar getting stronger, but it is still only a solid medium at this point.

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The final third seems to combine all of the former notes that were present, albeit in different amounts. The sweetness is still there (in the background) and the dark chocolate and espresso as well. It did get a bit hot and harsh at the very end, but I probably smoked it past where it should have.

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Final Notes

  • Apparently, this is the first cigar that Lissette McPhillips Perez-Carrillo has officially named. The name Dark Rituals is presumably in reference to the dark wrapper that the cigar is covered with.
  • Retailers who purchased a certain number of boxes of the Dark Rituals will also be getting a box of a prerelease stick, an Elencos blend with a maduro wrapper that will be released in full production at some point next year.
  • From the first puff, there was so much smoke coming off of this cigar that my wife saw the smoke through the window and thought my backyard was fire, we have a huge drought here a the moment. If you like a lot of smoke in your cigars, this is the stick for you. It is thick and blue-white smoke with a strong woody scent to it.
  • I am always worried about the blend being too mellow in cigars of this size and ring gauge, but I am happy to report that the flavors were quite distinct and rich.
  • This cigar started at a solid medium minus in strength, but got progressively stronger as the smoke went on, and ended a medium-plus by the end.
  • It has a very dry profile
  • The draw was a bit loose at the start of the smoke, but seemed to tighten up around the start of the second third or so. The burn was not bad, but was far from even — I touched it up twice, but that was mostly my OCD, not because I needed to.
  • The ash is not what I would call attractive—flaky and mottled, it looks more like what is left after a campfire burns out.
  • The final smoking time was just under two hours.
92 Overall Score

The first thing I wanted to know about this cigar—other than how it tastes—is whether it better than the other Edición Limitadas? I loved the Inaugural 2009 when it came out, but it has since lost quite a bit of the profile that I enjoyed. I also enjoyed the Edición Limitada 2010 as well, but with the oscuro maduro wrapper the Edición Limitada 2011 is a whole different animal, both in profile and strength. This was a very dark, rich profile. To me, this is a cigar you buy to smoke on special occasions, when you want that almost two hour smoke after a great meal. A great cigar that will only get better with age.

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Brooks Whittington
About the author

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.

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