For the first half of its existence, every year would see E.P. Carrillo release an annual limited edition. That started with its first cigar—Edicion Inaugural 2009—and continued until 2016 when the company overhauled its portfolio. While the company has continued to release limited editions, including exclusives for retail members of the Tobacconists’ Association of America (TAA), it more or less stopped using the Edición Limitada moniker.
That changed last year, when the company announced the INCH Edición Limitada 2019, a 6 1/8 x 64 gordo vitola incorporating a Connecticut habano cover leaf that was grown in the U.S. along with a binder and filler blend made up entirely of Nicaraguan tobaccos. The new addition debuted during the 2019 IPCPR Convention & Trades Show that took place in August 2019 in Las Vegas.
It’s an extension to the company’s popular INCH line, which draws its name from the ring gauge of a cigar. Ring gauge is the diameter measured in 64ths of an inch, meaning a cigar with a 50 ring gauge is actually 50/64, or 25/32, of an inch. As the name implies, the 64 ring gauge INCH cigars are a full inch in diameter.
“A vision from my son and the creative side of my daughter along with a selection of aged tobaccos accumulated over the years allowed me to create this commemorative blend for our flagship line, the Inch,” said Ernesto Perez-Carrillo Jr. in a press release. “The Limitada is years of thought as to what blend gets me closer to mastering big ring gauge blending. I think both big ring gauge lovers and non-big ring gauge smokers alike will enjoy this special blend.”
There INCH Edición Limitada 2019 was limited to 2,000 boxes of 10 cigars, with each cigar priced at $15. All of the cigars were rolled at the company’s Tabacalera La Alianza factory located in Santiago, Dominican Republic and boxes began shipping to retailers in September 2019.
- Cigar Reviewed: E.P. Carrillo INCH Edición Limitada 2019
- Country of Origin: Dominican Republic
- Factory: Tabacalera La Alianza S.A.
- Wrapper: U.S.A. (Connecticut Habano)
- Binder: Nicaragua
- Filler: Nicaragua
- Length: 6 1/8 Inches
- Ring Gauge: 64
- Vitola: Gordo
- MSRP: $15 (Box of 10, $150)
- Release Date: September 2019
- Number of Cigars Released: 2,000 Boxes of 10 (20,000 Total Cigars)
- Number of Cigars Smoked For Review: 3
The first thing I notice about the E.P. Carrillo INCH Edición Limitada 2019 is predictable: it is physically huge. The size only serves to accentuate the dark, mottled brown espresso wrapper that is sandpaper rough to the touch. In addition, there are multiple major veins running up and down the length of the cigar and there is too much oil it almost looks like it was dunked in a bowl of it before being packaged. Aroma from the wrapper is a combination of strong dark chocolate, oak, dark fruit, hay, leather and barnyard, while the cold draw brings flavors of leather, mesquite, hay, vegetal, bitter espresso beans and malted milk balls sweetness.
As expected with a cigar this size, the cigar takes a while to light, but once the foot of the INCH Edición Limitada 2019 is toasted, I am quite literally blasted with a distinct toasted marshmallow sweetness on the palate. Sadly, that note begins to recede almost at once, leaving behind a dominant mesquite flavor as well as lesser notes of leather, oatmeal, gritty earth, coffee beans and cinnamon. In addition, there is a small amount of black pepper on the retrohale, as well as some nice raspberry sweetness on the finish that seems to be getting a bit stronger as the third burns down. After a straight cut, the draw is excellent featuring just the right amount of resistance, and while the burn is far from razor sharp, it does not come close to needing correcting. Overall smoke production is significantly above average off of the foot and although the strength is barely noticeable this early on, there is still enough to make it to a point between mild and medium by time the first third comes to an end.
Coming into the second third of the E.P. Carrillo, the mesquite note from the first third gives up its dominant spot in the profile, replaced by a distinct salted peanut flavor. Following close behind are additional flavors of hay, sourdough bread, cocoa nibs, leather, earth, oatmeal and espresso beans that flit in and out. There is still a small amount of black pepper as well as slightly more raspberry sweetness on the retrohale. Construction-wise, the draw continues to be excellent, but the burn starts to run on me and I am forced to touch it up a couple of times so it does not get worse. Strength has increased noticeably, ending close to the medium mark at the end of the second third.
Unfortunately, the profile of the E.P. Carrillo INCH Edición Limitada 2019 mellows out significantly in the final third and all of the flavors take a major hit in how distinct they are. This includes the dominant salted peanut note as well as the lesser flavors of oatmeal, leather, earth, dark chocolate, espresso beans, cinnamon and bread. The raspberry sweetness on the retrohale has also receded noticeably, while the black pepper had disappeared almost completely. Interestingly, the construction is one of the few high points with a wonderful draw, a burn that has thankfully evened up nicely after its previous issues and an increase in smoke production. Finally, the overall strength in the INCH Edición Limitada 2019 increases enough to easily hit a solid medium mark, but it never comes close to going any further, and I put the nub down with a little more than an inch remaining.
- For some reason, E.P. Carrillo has decided that the back of the main band—i.e. where the band ends and where you grab the lip to pull the band off—is what should be facing out on the front, directly above the main part of the secondary band. I actually went back and checked the other two cigars we have here to make sure that is the way they were shipped, before remembering that is also the way that it was on the INCH Ringmaster I reviewed in 2018.
- Speaking of the bands, although the INCH Edición Limitada includes a secondary foot band indicating that it is a 2019 release, Lissette Perez-Carrillo told halfwheel that there are no plans at the moment to release one on an annual basis.
- The ash is extremely flaky—not an unusual occurrence with cigars of this ring gauge—which is why the first third photograph does not have a complete foot.
- As with any of the INCH releases—or any cigars that are around the same size—trying to light this cigar with a single flame lighter is not recommended, unless you just enjoy wasting your time and fuel.
- The cigars smoked for this review were purchased by halfwheel.
- Final smoking time for all three samples averaged two hours and 41 minutes.
- If you would like to purchase any of the E.P. Carrillo INCH Edición Limitada 2019, site sponsors Atlantic Cigar Co., Famous Smoke Shop and JR Cigar have them in stock now.
I am not surprised by some of what I experienced with the INCH Edición Limitada 2019, especially when discussing a 6 1/8 x 64 vitola: the amount of time it takes to smoke (a long time), the way it feels in my mouth (too big) and the extremely flaky ash (very annoying.) However, beyond those fairly standard attributes for a cigar this size, there were a number of extremely positive notes: a wonderful profile full of mesquite and salted peanut flavors as well as a persistent raspberry sweetness on the retrohale that only helped the complexity. Having said that, the profile does fall apart in the final third—becoming noticeably more mellow and with less distinct flavors—and there were issues with the burn on each of the samples that needed correcting. With all of that said, there are very few times that I will choose to smoke a cigar of this size that I am not reviewing, but the E.P. Carrillo INCH Edición Limitada 2019 is easily good enough to jump to the top of my very short list.