Regardless of which industry you’re talking about, 10 years in business is certainly nothing to overlook and is definitely cause for celebration. In the cigar industry that generally means a new cigar release; in the case of E.P. Carrillo it meant two.
The company was founded in 2009 by Ernesto Perez-Carrillo Jr. along with his daughter, Lissette, and son, Ernesto Perez-Carrillo III. Of course, Perez-Carrillo Jr. has been in the cigar much longer than the 10 years that these cigars celebrate; the number is closer to 40 years when accounting for when he joined his father in producing cigars, including La Gloria Cubana, in Miami’s Little Havana neighborhood at the noted El Credito factory. Following the sale of the brand and factory to General Cigar Co., he joined that company for a number of years before departing and starting up his own eponymously named company.
To celebrate its 10th anniversary it released a pair of 6 1/2 x 56 box-pressed double figurado vitola for two of its lines, the La Historia and Encore, with 10 of each cigar packed into a heavy box that falls just short of being a true humidor. Also of note, the cigars added a ribbon band not found on the other sizes, with each one bearing the printed signature of Perez-Carrillo.
E.P. Carrillo produced 1,000 of these humidors, each priced at $400, meaning that each cigar has an MSRP of $20 if not putting a separate value on the box, something that seems a bit unfair given its craftsmanship.
La Historia uses a Mexican San Andrés wrapper over an Ecuadorian Sumatra binder and fillers from Nicaragua. It debuted back in 2014 as a line released to pay tribute to the men and women that helped his family’s name achieve the prominence that it has in the industry.
The first three sizes paid tribute to specific members of his family; El Senador (5 3/8 x 52) was a tribute to his father, who was also a Cuban senator; Doña Elena (6 1/8 x 50) honored his wife; while E-III (6 7/8 x 54) was named for his son.
In 2015, a new size was added, the Regalias d’Celia, named for his wife’s grandmother. In 2019, the company added another size for the Tobacconists’ Association of America (TAA), a 6 x 56 toro gordo aptly named the Perez-Carrillo La Historia TAA 656.
The line now stands at six sizes:
- La Historia El Senador (5 3/8 x 52)
- La Historia Regalias D’ Celia Piramides (5 7/8 x 58)
- La Historia Doña Elena (6 1/8 x 50)
- La Historia E-III (6 7/8 x 54)
- La Historia TAA 656 (6 x 56)
- La Historia 10th Anniversary (6 1/2 x 56)
- Cigar Reviewed: Perez-Carrillo La Historia 10th Anniversary
- Country of Origin: Dominican Republic
- Factory: Tabacalera La Alianza S.A.
- Wrapper: Mexico (San Andrés)
- Binder: Ecuador (Sumatra)
- Filler: Nicaragua
- Length: 6 1/2 Inches
- Ring Gauge: 56
- Vitola: Perfecto
- MSRP: $20 (Box of 20, $400)
- Release Date: Nov. 26, 2019
- Number of Cigars Released: 1,000 Boxes of 10 Cigars (10,000 Total Cigars)
- Number of Cigars Smoked For Review: 3
There is a lot going on visually with this cigar. If you’re into unique vitolas, this box pressed perfecto will certainly catch your eye; even if you aren’t it should be different enough to have you spend at least a few extra moments with it. Because of the box press, the cigar gets widened out, and in this particular case seems to be a bit wider than normal. The wrapper is a dark and very toothy leaf, with just a bit of mottling that shows the seams and can create some contrast in spots. It’s rolled firmly but still has some give, falling somewhere between that perfectly ideal pillow firmness and being just a bit hard. The foot has aromas of dry, fragrant tree bark and some maple syrup, but both can go up the brightness scale from there. There is no pepper of note, something by which I am a bit surprised. The cold draw is smooth and easy, not open but certainly free of any restrictions, though I feel that this will depend largely on how much of the cap you choose to cut. Flavors are mellow and have a bit more of the sweet wood tone, but not as concentrated as what I found with my nose, with notes of dry chocolate and its related sweetness found as well.
The Perez-Carrillo La Historia 10th Anniversary opens with a hearty, slightly peppery profile, more of the latter coming through the nose than on the palate. There’s a bit of earth and thick brownie chocolate as well, a dangerous combination for my palate as it leads me to want smoke it frequently, something the cigar immediately tells me is not a good idea, turning hot but also like overheated sugar right before it becomes candy. There’s also sharp pepper when I get after it a bit too much, so let’s say I’ve learned my lesson. After the first clump of ash falls off, white pepper fills the nose with its tingling nature, while the flavor gets a bit as well as the chocolate thins from brownie to chocolate milk, bringing in a bit of creaminess. There’s also a bit of woodiness on the profile, surprisingly hearty through the nose while the palate gets a thinner interpretation. The technical performance is very good, with plenty of smoke, an even burn line and without combustion issues.
The second third continues to see the pepper really shine through retrohales, evolving into a slightly heavier expression and one that seems to reach higher into the nostrils than how far the typical pepper climbs. There is some sweet earth around the midpoint, and while the cigar is getting a bit dry, it doesn’t seem to be drying out the mouth. It’s also around this section where the cigar flirts with a bit of an interesting sourness, and one of three samples begins a bit more of an affair with the flavor. There’s still some earth and tree bark, but pepper has largely moved exclusively to retrohales. The cigar makes its way into its second half without much fanfare; the flavor dries out a bit and reminds me of a warm, very dry cola, though the sweetness is minimal. Pepper begins to very subtly return to the profile, with a bit of dry white pepper hitting the front half of the tongue. The tail end of this section brings on a bit of harshness by way of a red chili pepper burn in the back of the throat, a sudden arrival that I hope departs even faster as the final third gets underway. There’s still nothing to complain about with the draw, burn or smoke production; as long as you maintain a steady puffing rate, the Perez-Carrillo La Historia 10th Anniversary will respond well.
Thankfully the irritation is gone, replaced by a lighter earth note that is rich with chalk and minerals, and while it induces a bit of a cough, it is very light in the palate, almost calling out for a sweeter Champagne—something I would definitely not have expected from the Perez-Carrillo La Historia 10th Anniversary. While the smoke started to pick up a drier texture in the second third, it now embraces it, with the result being a good bit different from where things started. It doesn’t completely give up on its lusher notes, as I still get a bit of earth and the spongy parts of a store-bought brownie, and mixed pepper returns with a bit more vigor. Rather suddenly, the flavor shifts towards an Altoids-like peppermint, both in flavor and texture. While good in small doses, it becomes a bit much in extended exposure, with the lingering tingle on the front and sides of my tongue becoming an annoyance rather than a byproduct of enjoyment. There are points where it seems I feel the very tip of my tongue-tingling and after a while, it’s just a bit too sharp of a sensation to sustain. Other than one cigar that was a bit more prone to going out than the others, the technical performance has been very good, and overall I find myself putting down each sample feeling generally satisfied by what they had to offer.
- The cap on one of the cigars was a bit loose, though it didn’t cause any problems once I cut it. I’d be intrigued to know how and where that happened, and if the box press had anything to do with it.
- One cigar also had a prominent bump underneath the wrapper, almost a cyst of tobacco if I had to call it something.
- The E.P. Carrillo 10th Anniversary took the #7 spot on halfwheel’s 2019 Packaging Awards, a well-deserved honor given the engineering needed to make the central raised logo work as well as the overall craftsmanship of the box.
- There is a bit of nicotine strength to be found in the Perez-Carrillo La Historia 10th Anniversary; not enough to be a full gut punch, but enough to have me feeling it not long after I put the cigar down.
- The cigars for this review were purchased by halfwheel.
- Final smoking time was two hours and 15 minutes on average.
- Site sponsors Atlantic Cigar Co., Corona Cigar Co., and JR Cigar carries the Perez-Carrillo La Historia 10th Anniversary.
The Perez-Carrillo La Historia 10th Anniversary gets off to a very good start, consistently scoring high marks in the first third of each sample. From there though, the cigar finds itself struggling to keep up the pace set in those first inches, and while it doesn't completely nosedive, it can't find its way back to that successful introduction, which is strangely the same thing that Charlie Minato noted when he smoked the Regalias d'Celia vitola back in 2015. The technical performance is very good if not great, and the sum of everything is still very good, so much so that I wouldn't turn down another one of these, nor did I feel let down by what was offered. If anything, it's just a bit frustrating to see a cigar that starts so well fall short of keeping it up all the way through, as I believe that if I could sew the first third of the three samples together into one cigar, it would certainly be a cigar high up on the leaderboard for best cigars I've smoked this year.