E.P. Carrillo E-Stunner Siboney (Prerelease)

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E-Stunner is one cigar that lived up to its name even before anyone had tasted the cigar. Upon announcing the new cigar, many people wondered what the inspiration was and why the family—one of the most respected in the cigar industry—would release such a radically different form of branding.

When Patrick Lagreid broke the news, Ernesto Perez-Carrillo III, son of the living legend Ernesto Perez-Carrillo Jr., explained the company wanted to create a different and strong cigar.

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Ernesto Perez-Carrillo III says the cigar is “very different than anything we currently have.” He says its inspiration came from the energy drink trend, and that the company is striving to create a cigar that serves the same functions as an energy drink. He said it will be “strong, full of flavor, and if you smoke the whole cigar, it will definitely stun you.”

The E-Stunner was the star of the E.P. Carrillo booth when it debuted at the 2013 IPCPR trade show and convention last month, largely due to the mechanical bull the company put in its booth for day one. Here’s a picture of the box of E-Stunner from the trade show:

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Last week, the company sent out additional samples to member of the media. Included were a letter that described the intentions behind the cigar.

Stunning — that’s how Ernesto Perez-Carrillo describes EPC Cigar’s latest launch. The E-Stunner will start shipping late August/early September, and with a first time 50/50 percent Dominican and Nicaraguan tobacco ratio, this cigar is sure to captivate not only seasoned smokers, but a new generation of cigar lovers as well.
Ernesto has traditionally used a 80/20 percent ration (sic) of Dominican and Nicaraguan tobacco, and decided to take a new approach with this blend. The wraper (sic) is grown higher on the plant, which gives the cigar added power; hence the word stunner.
E-Stunner will come in 3 different sizes and one wrapper, the natural Ecuadorian Sumatra. The binder is Nicaraguan and the filler from Nicaragua and Dominican.
Ernesto’s inspiration came from his son and daughter, Ernie and Lissette. They were hoping to add to the Inch endeavor to create not only a phenomenal cigar, but also packaging that is creative and edgy. The bull on the label will speak to that.
Given the inspiration for this blend and the first-time use by us of the 50/50 ratio, we can’t wait to receive your feedback and for this cigar to hit the market.
All the Best,
Lissette

The three sizes are:

E P Carrillo E Stunner

  • E.P. Carrillo E-Stunner Brahman (5 1/2 x 54) — $7.20 (Boxes of 24, $172.80)
  • E.P. Carrillo E-Stunner Siboney (5 x 50) — $6.45 (Boxes of 24, $154.80)
  • E.P. Carrillo E-Stunner Corriente (4 x 46) — $5.50 (Boxes of 24, $132.00)

As of now, the cigar still has not arrived in retailers. 

E P Carrillo E Stunner Siboney 1

  • Cigar Reviewed: E.P. Carrillo E-Stunner Siboney
  • Country of Origin: Dominican Republic
  • Factory: Tabacalera La Alianza S.A.
  • Wrapper: Ecuadoran Sumatra
  • Binder: Nicaragua
  • Filler: Dominican Republic & Nicaragua
  • Size: 5 Inches
  • Ring Gauge: 50
  • Vitola: Robusto
  • MSRP: $6.45 (Boxes of 24, $154.80)
  • Release Date: September 2013
  • Number of Cigars to be Released: Regular Production
  • Number of Cigars Smoked For Review: 3

 

The E-Stunner’s Sumatra wrapper has decent color with a fair bit of reds and average oils. It’s quite gritty to the touch, but honestly, not the best-looking cigar I’ve seen from E.P. Carrillo. There are quite a bit of veins and the roll itself doesn’t look much prettier. Aroma off the Dominican cigar is pungent with notes of cereal, cocoa and sour barnyard from the foot. Cold draw is open with nice cereal notes, a fading pepper and some unpleasant bitterness.

While the first third of the E-Stunner begins sweet, it quickly turns bitter with cereal and cedar being the dominant notes. There’s a bit of spice around the lips, but the rest of the flavor is bitter and sour, particularly on the finish. Smoke is pouring off the front of the Robusto, but there isn’t the abundance in the mouth, although it’s nice. Given the way the cigar has been described, I would have assumed medium-full at least in nicotine, a level that it definitely has not started at. The cedar turns into a more of a cherry wood flavor with some generic woodsiness and cedar notes up front as well. There’s spice in the back of the throat with some cocoa through the nose. On all three of the cigars I smoked for the review there was a slight metallic taste for various amounts of time in the first third and a distinct jalapeño note through the nose.

E P Carrillo E Stunner Siboney 2

A few minutes into the second third, it’s clear the Dominican Robusto is getting stronger. Unfortunately, the flavor has gotten significantly harsher, which is a bit shocking given where things started. The bitterness from the finish is now upfront with some sour notes underneath. On two of the cigars, I have to look down at the cigar to see if there’s any tar developing, because that’s what it tastes like, but there’s none. Construction actually improves from the first third, the burn has corrected itself, smoke production through the mouth has increased and the draw has tightened. The major bright spot? The nasal finish. There’s a beautiful floral note with intense amount of detail. Unfortunately, it’s not able to overcome the rest of the flavors.

E P Carrillo E Stunner Siboney 3

Coffee notes and mundane tobacco notes develop in the second third, but by the final third, it’s overtaken the cigar. There’s also roasted notes and cedar, but there’s still an intense amount of sour and bitter notes, which kill whatever possibility of bright light there might have been. I manage to make it down to about an inch, but eventually it’s just too much. 

E P Carrillo E Stunner Siboney 4

Final Notes:

  • Some people like to pair cigars with energy drinks, it’s not really my thing.
  • I imagine this cigar might do well in Austin, Texas. There’s an orange bull. In other news, Perdomo actually make a cigar for a college, RTR.
  • For those wondering if the samples from the show were somehow tainted, I smoked one from the batch E.P. Carrillo sent to media members a few weeks ago, the same problems persisted.
  • Honestly, if you put some horns on the band, I imagine the University of Texas might have something to say about it.
  • In case you missed this, I didn’t particularly find the flavor of the E-Stunner particularly impressive. At best, it was boring, but most of the time it was a combination of harsh, bitter and sour. I don’t think time will turn the ship around.
  • Some will definitely interpret this release as “gimmicky.” Between the name, energy drink-inspiration, mechanical bull at the trade show and bands—I can see why. I don’t really interpret it as such, but it’s a far cry from what we’ve come to expect from E.P. Carrillo, case-and-point, the company’s other new product they showed off in Vegas, the stunningly-beautiful E.P. Carrillo Edición Limitada 2013.
  • All three cigars I smoked could have looked better, although it’s not a deal breaker. I was kind of shocked at the samples E.P. Carrillo sent out to the media, which is where the picture of all three vitolas above comes from. 
  • The E-Stunner put out an absurd amount of smoke from the front of the cigar, at times it appeared my porch was on fire.
  • E.P. Carrillo deserves credit for continuing to put out cigars that are priced well-below what many of the company’s competitors would.
  • For a cigar that is advertised for its strength, the E-Stunner failed to live up to its name. I’d peg this cigar to be around medium-full, perhaps at times full, but definitely medium through the first third. As far as I’m concerned, Dark Rituals is the strongest cigar under the E.P. Carrillo banner.
  • There have been a lot of questionable and confusing names, I’m honestly not sure why there is so much distaste towards “E-Stunner.” Ogre, Unsmokeable, Pussy Juice, need I continue?
  • We try not to make a huge deal of scores, but if you need a reminder, here’s an explanation. Were the cigars smokeable? Yes. Was the E-Stunner palatable? No.
  • Cigars for this review were given to halfwheel by E.P. Carrillo both at 2013 IPCPR trade show and convention and after the show itself.
  • Final smoking time was one hour and 20 minutes on average.
  • Site sponsors Atlantic CigarFamous Smoke Shop both have the E-Stunner up for pre-order. Best Cigar Prices, Cigar King, Mike’s Cigars, Superior Cigars & Tobacco Grove all carry E.P. Carrillo. 
70 Overall Score

I will avoid the obvious jokes about the name, it takes away from the point. I expect better. It's not just because who is making this cigar, but honestly, I expect better of everyone putting out cigars into the marketplace. The three cigars that I smoked for this review should not survive in today's market, they just weren't good enough. While I have little doubt that time will make this experience better, it's not enough to make up for the E-Stunner in debut form. This was an unpleasant cigar smoking experience, capped off by writing this unpleasant review. Far and away the most disappointing cigar of the trade show and in my opinion, a major miss from one of the most-respected cigarmakers walking the planet.

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Charlie Minato
About the author

I am an editor and co-founder of halfwheel.com/Rueda Media, LLC. I previously co-founded and published TheCigarFeed, one of the two predecessors of halfwheel. I handle the editing of our written content, the majority of the technical aspects of the site and work with the rest of our staff on content management, business development and more. I’ve lived in most corners of the country and now entering my second stint in Dallas, Texas. I enjoy boxing, headphones, the Le Mans 24-hour, wearing sweatshirts year-round and gyros. echte liebe.

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