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Every year since its 90th anniversary in 2011, New Hampshire-based retailer Federal Cigar has released exclusive cigars from various different manufacturers to celebrate its birthday. E.P. Carrillo is one of those manufactures, having collaborated with Federal Cigar in 2011 on the E.P. Carrillo Short Run 2010 No. 4 for the retailer’s 90th anniversary as well as the Federal Cigar 92nd Anniversary EPC Medalla D’ Oro that was produced to commemorate Federal’s 92nd anniversary in 2013.

For its 95th anniversary, Federal Cigar chose to release yet another E.P. Carrillo exclusive at an event on April 8. Appropriately named the E.P. Carrillo Federal 95th, the cigar is a 6 x 52 toro composed of Connecticut broadleaf wrapper covering a “significantly aged” Ecuadorian sumatra binder and filler made up of tobaccos from Estelí, Nicaragua. The E.P. Carrillo Federal 95th were rolled at Tabacalera La Alianza in the Dominican Republic, and production is limited to 200 bundles of 15, with each cigar carrying a price of $8.75.

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E.P. Carrillo Federal 95th 1

  •  Cigar Reviewed: E.P. Carrillo Federal 95th
  • Country of Origin: Dominican Republic
  • Factory: Tabacalera La Alianza
  • Wrapper: Connecticut Broadleaf
  • Binder: Ecuadorian Sumatra
  • Filler: Nicaragua
  • Length: 6 Inches
  • Ring Gauge: 52
  • Vitola: Toro
  • MSRP: $8.75 (Bundles of 15, $122)
  • Release Date: April 8, 2016
  • Number of Cigars Released: 200 Bundles of 15 Cigars (3,000 Total Cigars)
  • Number of Cigars Smoked For Review: 3

Visually, the E.P. Carrillo Federal 95th features a sharp box-press and is covered in a dark chocolate brown wrapper that has a bit of tooth to it, reminding me of parchment. There are very few noticeable veins and the cigar is just short of rock-hard when squeezed. Aroma from the wrapper is a combination of sweet nuts, cocoa, earth, barnyard and leather while the cold draw brings flavors of dark chocolate, anise, almonds, cedar, hay and slight sweet cream.

Starting out, the E.P. Carrillo Federal 95th features a combination of dominant leather and earth, followed up with other notes of anise, bitter cocoa, leather, peanuts, and tobacco. There is a nice caramel sweetness on the retrohale that combines nicely with some black pepper that is also present, along with some slight spice on my tongue that seems to be receding as the first third burns down. Construction-wise, the EPC has a draw that is a bit tight—albeit well within normal limits—and the burn is slightly wavy, although far from needing to be touched up so far. Smoke production is about average for the vitola, and the strength is well-integrated, hitting a point just below medium by the time the first third ends.

E.P. Carrillo Federal 95th 2

The profile becomes noticeably smoother during the second third of the E.P. Carrillo Federal 95th, and the dominant flavors shift to a combination of dark chocolate and oak, while other flavors of leather, earth, creamy nuts, hay and cream flit in and out. The spice from the first third is long gone by the halfway point, but the black pepper and slight caramel sweetness are still noticeable on the retrohale. The burn starts to waver just before the halfway point, forcing me to touch it up a couple of times, but the draw continues to impress. Both the smoke production and strength increase by the end of the second third, with the strength reaching a solid medium, although it does not seem to be going anywhere further anytime soon.

E.P. Carrillo Federal 95th 3

The sweetness that is present in the final third of the E.P. Carrillo Federal 95th morphs from caramel to more of a generic dark fruit note, but it still is not strong enough to make that much of an impact overall. The dominant flavors in the profile shift back to leather and earth, with flavors of dark chocolate, anise, cream, oak and hay taking up the slack. The burn has evened out nicely, and the draw remains excellent, while the smoke production continues on a steady pace. Strength-wise, the E.P. Carrillo Federal 95th has stalled out at a solid medium, and that is where it ends the cigar when I put the nub down with an inch to go.

E.P. Carrillo Federal 95th 4

Final Notes:

  • In addition to the the E.P. Carrillo Federal 95th, Tatuaje Cigars also released the Verocu Torpedo in 10-count boxes and My Father Cigars released the Flor de las Antilles Maduro box-pressed torpedo at the event celebrating the anniversary.
  • Interestingly, this cigar sports the same band as Federal Cigars’ house brand named Federales, albeit with the addition of an EPC foot band.
  • Late last year, long time co-owner Rick Gadway sold his stake in Federal Cigar, with Derek Sells taking over as general manager.
  • The final smoking time for all three samples averaged just over two hours.
  • The cigars smoked for this review were sent to halfwheel by Federal Cigar.
  • If you would like to purchase any of this E.P. Carrillo, the only place to get them is Federal Cigar, who is selling them on its website here.
86 Overall Score

I have been a big fan of some of the exclusive cigars that Federal Cigar has released in the past, and while the E.P. Carrillo Federal 95th is nowhere near as good as the best in the series, it is still a decent smoke. The flavors are quite discount, but with a smoking time of a little over two hours each, the profile is just not exciting enough to keep me totally engrossed, especially after the first third. Construction was quite good overall, and the strength is well-integrated, and while I can recommend someone trying it if you like Connecticut broadleaf wrappers, I would rather smoke the Federal 92nd Medalla D’ Oro any day of the week, which Federal Cigar still has on sale.

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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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