There are few people held by their peers in higher regard than Ernesto Perez-Carrillo Jr. The cigar maker, now in arguably his third chapter in the business, learned the trade from his father, Ernesto Sr., after trying to make it professional as a drummer. He took over the El Credito factory in Little Havana, famous for its La Gloria Cubana brand, after his father passed away in 1980. Almost two decades later, the younger Perez-Carrillo sold the company to Swedish Match, where he stayed on for another decade at General Cigar Co., before going out on his own again in 2009, this time with his own kids and the E.P. Carrillo brands. — Charlie Minato.

Ernesto Perez-Carrillo Jr.

This portrait was taken during Serious Cigar’s Texas Cigar Festival in Houston, Texas using a Canon 5D Mark III and a 50mm f/1.2 lens set at f/1.8. The shutter speed was 1/80 second at ISO 1250. There was only one source of light: ambient light coming from incandescent lights to the top left. The photograph was then converted from RAW and color corrected in Adobe Lightroom before being adjusted for color, contrast and sharpness using custom actions in Photoshop CC.

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.