One of the most popular cigars produced by La Gloria Cubana during Ernesto Perez-Carrillo’s tenure was the Serie R maduro. To this day, it’s hard to find a shop that doesn’t carry them, and they continue to sell well. Given his enduring success with those, it was really only a matter of time until he produced an EP Carillo Maduro.
That time is now. As I’m writing this, the new EP Carrillo Maduro is appearing on cigar shop shelves around the country. The Maduro is more than just the Core Line with a darker wrapper. The entire makeup of the cigar is different, right down to the filler, which is much the same as the Core Line, but has been modified slightly to complement the new wrapper and binder. In the blending process, Mr. Perez-Carrillo was tempted by both Mexican and Brazilian wrapper tobaccos, but ultimately decided on a particularly good crop Connecticut Broadleaf.
The new Maduro vitolas mirror the existing Core Line sizes, offering: No. 4 (5 1/2 x 42), Encantos (4 7/8 x 50), Regalias Real (5 5/8 x 46), Club 52 (5 7/8 x 52) Churchill Especial (7 1/8 x 49), Predilectos (6 1/8 x 52), Golosos (6 1/4 x 60) and Monumentos (7 3/8 x 56). Each come 20 to a box, with MSRPs ranging from $5.25 to $9.30 a stick, not including tax.
That covers the bases, let’s get to it.
Size: 4 7/8 x 50
Wrapper: Connecticut Broadleaf
Binder: Ecuadoran Sumatra
Filler: Dominican Republic, Nicaragua
Smoking Time: 1 1/2 hours
Source: Purchased by reviewer
Price: MSRP $6.45
The dark, rustic wrappers on the EP Carrillo Maduro Encantos are pretty striking. They have the coloration of an oil-soaked rag that somebody dropped in the dust and let sit in the sun a while, with the predominantly dark brown wrapper broken up with lighter, drier-looking brown areas. I noticed that these cigars tend to be a little lumpier than other EP Carrillo sticks I’ve had, and in some cases look slightly irregular. Aside from that, and a medium-sized hole in one wrapper, there were no other cosmetic issues. And as rugged as the sticks look close up, the veins were still pretty small.
The uncellophaned sticks had a faint compost wrapper aroma, but a more pronounced rich coffee taste on the cold draw. Additionally, the cigars had a consistent firm feel to them.
The burn properties of the Maduro Encantos were pretty impressive. The darker gray ash isn’t the most attractive you’ll find, but it’s very durable. It’s pretty easy to grow an ash half the cigar’s length with no special treatment. You might just win that long ash contest with this stick. But more importantly, you’re less likely to ash on yourself if you get distracted.
Aside from the ash of steel, the other standard criteria checked out well. Even burn, good draw, and loads of thick smoke.
I approached the EP Carillo Maduro Encantos with no real expectations, but even so, was still surprised at how full the smoke was very early on. Initial puffs were a rich and savory combination of coffee, milk chocolate, earth and a little pepper. As the cigar burned into the first third, it took on more of a dark mocha flavor, with somewhat charry wood.
Smoky wood, pepper, dark chocolate, espresso and a touch of sweet paprika carried through the middle third. Earth made appearances, and the chocolate seemed to lighten a little as the cigar neared the final third.
The pepper seemed a little less pronounced as the cigar drew to a close, with an smoky, herbal wood moving in to take over. Dark chocolate, coffee and some light earth continued right up until the end.
The price for the Encantos is very reasonable.
When I heard that Ernesto Perez-Carrillo opted for Connecticut Broadleaf over a Mexican maduro, I was relieved. As much as I enjoy a cigar with a good Mexican maduro wrapper, We’ve seen a lot of them the past couple of years. After smoking the EP Carrillo Maduro Encantos, it’s clear he made the right call. I can just tell I wouldn’t have liked this blend as much with another wrapper. And I enjoyed it a great deal. In fact, I’d have no problem buying these by the box. It has incredible rich flavor, it burns flawlessly, it has a little power to it, and it carries a very reasonable price tag. And as I discovered, it pairs nicely with a number of beverages, including coffee, higher-gravity beers and bourbon. If you like a good maduro, you need to try this.
Liked It: Box-worthy
Buy It Again: Yes
Recommend It: Yes
Tower of Burn
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