Posts Tagged With: E.P. Carrillo

Headley Grange Drumstick

When STG bought the independent brand CAO and incorporated it into the General Cigars portfolio one of the things that changed was the base of operations. CAO was always based in Nashville, Tennessee but after the take-over the brand had to move to the General Cigars offices in Virginia. A few of CAO executives, including Jon Huber and Gary Hyams, decided against the move and promised to take care of the Tennessee employees, thus they started a new company, Crowned Heads.


Their first release was named after a Kings of Leon song that they would make a reference to their second release as well, calling it Headley Grange, a famous music studio where a lot of great artists recorded. And they took one of those songs, when the levee breaks by Led Zeppelin as inspiration, especially the pounding drum in the intro. So in 2012 they released this cigar, made at the La Alianza factory of E.P. Carrillo with an Ecuadorian Sumatra wrapper and Nicaraguan filler and binder and the line up included this limited edition lancero aka drumstick.


The wrapper is quite rustic, it has a nice, deep brown without being very dark. It’s almost like a piece of cinnamon. The simple ring is stylish, black with golden outlines and clear white letter saying the brand name and smaller, golden, letters Republica Dominicana. The printing quality is good too. The construction feels great, the head of the cigar is amazing, a slightly raised tip yet not enough to speak of a torpedo shape head. The aroma is mild and reminds me of milk chocolate.


I cut the cigar, the cold draw is a little tight. The cold draw taste is quite spicy and peppery. The flavor I get after lighting is a strong and peppery coffee. After a few puffs I taste a sweet cinnamon instead of the peppery coffee. Then the flavors change to herbal flavors with a citrus acidity. And before the first third is over the flavors change again to dry cedar with lime. After a third I taste a milky chocolate with lemon. After this the cigar mellows out, cedar with herbs, spices and sweetness with subtle changes in strength. Ever few puffs I taste some pepper too. In the final third I also taste some nuts.


The draw is good. The ash is white. The smoke is ok, not thick, not thin, volume just enough. The burn is straight. The cigar is medium bodied and medium flavored. The smoke time is two hours.

Would I buy this cigar again? I liked it.

Score: 90
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Categories: 90, Dominican cigars, Headley Grange, Tabacalera La Alianza | Tags: , , , , ,

E.P. Carrillo La Historia Regalias d’Celia

When the news broke that legendary cigar maker Ernesto Perez Carrillo ended his 10 years contract at Swedish Match, a contract he signed as part of the sale of his La Gloria Cuban and El Credito brands to General Cigars, to start his own company again the cigar geek in me was enthousiastic, I mean, a legend starting up a new company? That could only be good news right? But then I smoked the so highly anticipated Inaugural and for me that was a let down. Not that it was a bad cigar, but it just didn’t do anything for me. And I smoked more cigars that were just middle of the road to me, not bad but not my kind of cigar.


A few years later my then employer, the biggest independent cigar importer & distributer of The Netherlands, said he had reached an agreement with Ernesto do distribute his cigars in the country so we carried a few lines and especially the inch sold, but that didn’t make up for the stupid international sales president Carrillo had at the time that completely destroyed the relationship and resulted into my boss dropping Carrillo. So the brand fell a bit of my radar, I noticed that the La Historia got a lot of praise but that’s it. But smoking the Viking earlier this year made me want to try this cigar and the German distributor helped me out.


So I got this 5⅞x58 cigar made from Dominican and Nicaraguan filler, Sumatra from Ecuador as a binder with a Mexican San Andres wrapper. The cigar looks huge, even bigger than it is because its box pressed with a dark, little marbles wrapper that looks intimidating. The aroma is quite strong and reminds me of manure and urine drenched staw. The construction feels good but the wrapper had a weird wrinkle at the head of the cigar. The rings are beautiful though, first there is a bright blue cloth ring to protect the foot of the cigar, then a small red ring with decorative golden linings and golden letters Perez Carrillo and to top it off there is a big ring with the same golden lining, a red square on a golden throne that says Perez Carrillo la historia and the blue returns as the sky. Beautiful design and great print quality.


Due to the size I had to cut the cigar with my guillotine cutter. The cold draw is great and I taste a little toast with some pepper on my lips. As usual I lit the cigar with a soft flame. I taste spicy coffee with leather. After a centimeter I taste cocoa powder with spices. After a third it’s more of nutmeg with toast and pepper. Slowly the pepper picks up and after two thirds i taste wood with a little lime and pepper. Near the end I taste some nuts too.


The smoke is medium plus thick and medium in volume. The draw is fantastic. The burn is a little off. The gray ash is firm. The cigar is medium bodied and medium flavored. The smoke time is an hour and forty minutes.

Would I buy this cigar again? Not this vitola but I’d like to try a smaller ring version.

Score: 87
87

Categories: 87, Dominican cigars, E.P. Carrillo, Tabacalera La Alianza | Tags: , , ,

Cigar of the month July

July was a month of 21 published reviews, here’s the list from best to worst, with a surprising winner

The cigar with the highest rating last month is:

Gurkha Havana Blend Toro with a 93 score

Now as for the complete list of cigars I published:

1) Gurkha Havana Blend Toro (Nicaragua) 93 points
2) Don Pepin Garcia series JJ Toro (Nicaragua) 93 points
3) Espinosa Maduro Corona Gorda (Nicaragua) 93 points
4) Joya de Nicaragua Cuatro Cinco OR Toro (Nicaragua) 92 points
5) El Centurion Toro (Nicaragua) 92 points
6) Bucanero Z Toro (Nicaragua) 92 points
7) Jaime Garcia Reserva Especial Toro (Nicaragua) 91 points
8) Quesada Reserva Privada Oscuro Toro (Dominican Republic) 91 points
9) Wilson Adams Mr. Wilson Lancero (Nicaragua) 91 points
10) Mbombay Vintage Reserve Salomon (Costa Rica) 91 points
11) Bucanero Z Churchill (Nicaragua) 91 points
12) El Criolito Half Corona (Dominican Republic) 91 points
13) Don Pepin Garcia Blue Toro (Nicaragua) 90 points
14) La Antiguedad Toro (Nicaragua) 90 points
15) Punch LE 2013 (Cuba) 90 points
16) Alec Bradley Tempus Naturel Robusto (Honduras) 90 points
17) Don Payo El Baron Toro (Nicaragua) 89 points
18) E.P. Carrillo Encore Robusto (Dominican Republic) 89 points
19) Royal Danish Havana Blend Robusto (Nicaragua) 88 points
20) Vegas de Santiago Gran Reserva Gordo (Costa Rica) 84 points
21) Navarre Petit Robusto (France) 82 points

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E.P. Carrillo Encore Majestic

I have met Ernesto Perez Carrillo a few times, both at the Intertabac trade show in Dortmund and once in Nicaragua where we ran into him at the A.J. Fernandez factory while interviewing A.J. and taking pictures for the Cigaragua book. Ernesto came walking in with Gilberto Oliva, so there was a lot of tobacco knowledge on a few square meters there. And last september at the Intertabac trade show I walked passed the booth, Ernesto called me in and said “I would like you to try this cigar” and handed me this Encore.


Now when I see that the encore is a Nicaraguan puro, even though its made on the Dominican Republic, I think “maybe I ran into him when he was buying tobacco for this line”, I mean, he was with Gilberto Oliva, Angel from ASP and came to visit A.J. Fernandez and those are three tobacco growers. But I could be wrong. The cigar comes in four vitolas and I smoked the 5 3/8×52 Majestic.


The cigar comes wrapped in cellophane and has a cloth band to protect the foot of the cigar. When I release the cigar from the cellophane I notice that it’s slightly box pressed. The cigar has a double ring, a secondary ring in brown with copper colored, dry detailed outlines and white letters saying Perez Carrillo and then a main ring in the same brown with the same copper detailed outlines, different shades of brown and white to detail the ring and the Perez Carrillo logo in the center with encore in white letters. The ring fits perfect with the dark, little rough but oily wapper. The cigar feels evenly packed, the shape is good, the cap is good. And the aroma is great, freshly baked whole grain bread and bell peppers, with a little manure.


I cut the cigar for a very loose cold draw, which tastes mild spicy. After lighting I taste a dry and strong espresso, bitter in a positive way. After a third I taste cedar with a faint cocoa, slightly bitter and harsh. The flavors don’t change after, except for a little pepper at the end.


The smoke is amazing, thick, white, full and a lot of it. The draw is a little loose. The ash is light gray with black stripes. The burn is straight. The evolution lacks a little. I would call it medium bodied and medium flavored.

Would I buy this cigar again? I would like to try one with a draw that is less loose, I expect that the flavors are more refined then due to a lower combustion temperature and it will also lead to a longer smoke duration.

Score: 89
number89

Categories: 89, Dominican cigars, E.P. Carrillo, Tabacalera La Alianza | Tags: , , , ,

Cigar of the month June

In June I published 16 reviews and this is the the list, ranking from best to worst.

The cigar with the highest rating last month is:

Jas Sum Kral Red Knight Soloman with a 95 score

Now as for the complete list of cigars I published:

1) Jas Sum Kral Red Knight Soloman (Nicaragua) 95 points
2) Xiphos NR Habano Robusto (Nicaragua) 94 points
3) Reserva Miraflor Corona (Nicaragua) 92 points
4) Don Payo El Baron Toro (Nicaragua) 92 points
5) Don Lino 1898 Robusto (unknown) 92 points
6) MUWAT Baitfish Gary (Nicaragua) 92 points
7) Cornelius & Anthony Meridian Robusto (Nicaragua) 92 points
8) Viking Viking Churchill (Dominican Republic) 91 points
9) Joya de Nicaragua Antaño 1970 Lancero (Nicaragua) 91 points
10) Herrera Esteli Corona Gorda (Nicaragua) 90 points
11) El Baton Toro (Nicaragua) 90 points
12) Desconocido Robusto (Nicaragua) 90 points
13) H. Upmann Magnum 54 (Cuba) 89 points
14) Quesada Reserva Privada Toro (Dominican Republic) 89 points
15) Casa de Alegria Criollo Corona (Nicaragua) 87 points
16) Gomez Sanchez Leyenda Figurado (Nicaragua) 85 points

 

 

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Viking Viking Churchill

Last year I reviewed the Viking Robusto, a Dominican made cigar for a Norwegian cigar aficionado and I loved it, it scored high with a 93 final score. It was a huge step up from the cigars Hawk used to have made by Cabreras, those never scored so high and it was also the best rated E.P. Carrillo cigar for me up to that date, so a double win.


Last september I talked with Hawk and his business partner Arnt and they handed me a few more cigars to review including this 7×54 Churchill. The Viking Viking blend consists of a Connecticut Broadleaf wrapper from the USA, a Sumatra binder from Ecuador and aged Habano filler from three different Nicaraguan regions, Condega, Esteli and Jalapa.


The dark wrapper is rough and looks intimidating, like a real viking should and the tin cigar ring with the viking logo enhances that intimidating look, I love it. The construction feels good, the cigar is well shaped. The aroma is deep and dark, fitting with the look, like old manure on an open piece deep inside a dark and scary forest.


I punched the cigar. The cold draw is good, I taste some herbs and sultanas. After lighting I taste sugar with some coffee. After an inch I taste a sweet floral flavor with herbs and wood. After a third I taste wood, herbs, vanilla and chocolate. There is a mild pepper in the aftertaste. The final third starts dry, with dry wood, a little hint of vanilla and pepper. The pepper is getting stronger. Near the end I taste pepper, some mild floral flavors and meaty wood.


The draw is great. The white ash is white and dense. The light and thin smoke is low in volume. The burn is good. This cigar is medium bodied and medium flavored. The smoke time is two hours and ten minutes.

Would I buy this cigar again? Yes, simply yes.

Score: 91
number91

Categories: 91, Dominican cigars, Tabacalera La Alianza, Viking | Tags: , , , ,

Cigar of the month March

Last month I reviewed 15 cigars and this is the the list, ranking from best to worst, and the worst was really terrible. One of the lowest ranking cigars on my blog ever!

The cigar with the highest rating last month is:

Don Lino Africa Kifaro with a 94 score

Now as for the complete list of cigars I published:

1) Don Lino Africa Kifaro (Nicaragua) 94 points
2) Cornelius & Anthony Aerial Robusto (Nicaragua) 92 points
3) Casa Fernandez Lancero (Honduras) 92 points
4) La Aurora Para Japon Sumo (Dominican Republic) 91 points
5) Liga Privada #9 Torpedo (Nicaragua) 91 points
6) Montecristo Half Corona (cuba) 90 points
7) C.A.O. Anaconda (Honduras) 90 points
8) Viking Horseman Toro (Dominican Republic) 90 points
9) Don Lino Africa Gorilla Knuckle (Nicaragua) 89 points
10) Quesada 70th Anniversary Toro (Dominican Republic) 89 points
11) Alec Bradley Filthy Hooligan (Honduras) 86 points
12) Micallef Gomez Sanchez Herencia (Nicaragua) 80 points
13) Avo XO Intermezzo (Dominican Republic) 79 points
14) Avo Dominant 13th Toro (Dominican Republic) 79 points
15) Di Grisogno For Women Only Corona (Dominican Republic) 73 points

 


 

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Viking Norseman Toro

I have reviewed two of the three Viking blends, the Viking and the Nordic Warrior and both ended up in my top 25 of 2017 so my expectations for the third blend are high, yet on the other hand, it is a Connecticut shade wrapper so that might be the downside of smoking this cigar. The cigar is made with Ecuadorian Connecticut, Nicaraguan Habano and Dominican Piloto as filler, a Connecticut Broadleaf from the USA as binder and an Ecuadorian Connecticut Shade as wrapper.

 


Ernesto Perez Carrillo and his La Allianzia factory are responsible for the production of this Norwegian owned brand, that honors the sea dwelling Vikings with this Norseman blend. The seas were a dangerous place with the small Viking ships so these Norseman had to be extremely brave.

 


I love the ring on any of the viking cigars, metal rings, a tin alloy and this one is black & golden with a norseman face. The cigar itself looks great too, a medium brown wrapper with a shaggy  foot that shows off the broadleaf binder. The contrast between the Connecticut Shade and the Broadleaf is huge and it makes the cigar look even tastier. The shape is flawless, the head perfectly round. This cigar is well made. The aroma is strong and reminds me of wood and vegetable stock.

 


I cut the cigar. The cold draw is a little open. I taste pepper on my lips. After lighting I taste coffee with some sweetness and a nice citrus acidity to balance it all out. After half and inch I taste spicy and peppery dry cedar. Then I taste a growing white pepper flavor. There is a very mild Connecticut Shade mustiness but much minder than other Connecticut Shade wrapped cigars. Halfway I taste sweet and slightly musty cedar with white pepper in the aftertaste.

 


The draw is a bit loose, the ash quite dark and frayed. The smoke is thick, white and full. The burn is straight. The cigar is medium bodied and flavored with a smoke time of an hour and forty minutes.

Would I buy this cigar again? I liked the other Viking cigars better because of the wrapper.

Score: 90
number90

 

Categories: 90, Dominican cigars, Tabacalera La Alianza, Viking | Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

Cigarguideblog Top 25 cigars of 2017

On January first of 2017 I switched from the rating system I had been using for 10 years to a 100 point scoring system for three main reasons:

– I could compare scores for myself
– The companies I reviewed cigars from could use the scores to promote their cigars, and that would make my number of visitors grow too
– I could make a top 25 at the end of the year.

The old system I’d been using for so long came from an old (I think it was Hungarian) website, an online humidor, that is no longer online and now that I’ve been using a 100 point score system for a year I no longer want to go back to my old system. How I come to my 100 point score is explained here (insert link)

The last few years I also updated my blog very irregularly due to my work, as part of the industry and the strict Dutch laws it could be considered advertising and I didn’t want to take any risk, even though my reviews are in English and I reviewed a lot of cigars that I didn’t represented. I just did a few reviews to keep the site alive but since parting ways with my then employer in June of 2016 I did a weekly review until the end of the year. To make a new start on the blog I decided to change a few things, like the set up of the review to make it a bit more personal, the 100 point score and a review every Wednesday and Sunday. As a lancero lover I also decided to write a lancero review every 15th of the month, even if the 15th wasn’t a Wednesday or Sunday and to top it off I also wrote a few special reviews on special dates or a series of reviews.

Out of the 156 cigars I reviewed, here’s my top 25 cigars of 2017:

1) Jas Sum Kral Kralot Pre-release Toro (Nicaragua) with a score of 95
2) Balmoral Anejo XO FT127 Lancero (Dominican Republic) with a score of 95
3) Jas Sum Kral Red Knight Toro (Nicaragua) with a score of 95
4) Warped Little Havana Toro (USA) with a score of 95
5) Undercrown Manifesto (Nicaragua) with a score of 94
6) Oliva Masterblend 1 Churchill (Nicaragua) with a score of 94
6) Don Fernando Corona (Nicaragua) with a score of 94
8) Kilo Toro (Nicaragua) with a score of 94
9) Oliva Masterblend 2 Robusto (Nicaragua) with a score of 94
10) Cornelius & Anthony Cornelius Toro (USA) with a score of 94
11) Jas Sum Kral Da Cebak A (Nicaragua) with a score of 94
11) Mi Querida Churchill (Nicaragua) with a score of 94
11) My Father 911 Commemorate Robusto (Nicaragua) with a score of 94
14) La Sagrada Familia Robusto (Nicaragua) with a score of 94
14) Ilja VIII A by My Father (Nicaragua) with a score of 94
14) 601 La Bomba Napalm (Nicaragua) with a score of 94
17) Alec Bradley Tempus Nicaragua Robusto (Honduras) with a score of 93
17) Joya Red Half Corona (Nicaragua) with a score of 93
19) Tatuaje RC233 Figurado (USA) with a score of 93
20) Plasencia Alma Fuerte Figurado (Nicaragua) with a score of 93
21) Oliva Classic Natural Churchill (Nicaragua) with a score of 93
22) RomaCraft Wunderlust Robusto (Nicaragua) with a score of 93
23) Viking Viking Robusto (Dominican Republic) with a score of 93
23) Viking Nordic Warrior Churchill (Dominican Republic) with a score of 93
25) Jas Sum Kral CRNA NOK Toro (Nicaragua) with a score of 93
25) Puros de Hostos Commendador Lancero (Dominican Republic) with a score of 93
25) Long Live the King my style is jalapeño Lancero (Dominican Republic) with a score of 93

Now you might think “hey, that’s 27 cigars” and you’re right but the Jas Sum Kral CRNA Nok, the Puros de Hostos Commendador and the Long Live the King scored exactly the same rating on my 1000 point system so they share the 25th spot, just like the Oliva Masterblend 1 and the Don Fernando share the 6th spot, the Jas Sum Kral Da Cebak, Mi Querida and the My Father 911 commemorate cigar share spot 11, La Sagrada Familia, Ilja VIII and 601 share spot 14, Alec Bradley Tempus Nicaragua and Joya Red share spot 17 and both Viking cigars share the 23rd spot brotherly. Maybe for the next year I need to come up with a divider, if you have suggestions, please let me know.

The breakdown

So I scored 156 cigars in 2017 and the average score is 88,6 so 89 but to end up in the top 25 you had to score at least 92,8 and the average of the top 25 is 93.7

Now looking at the countries, Nicaragua rules the top 27 with 19 entries, the Dominican Republic scores 5, then a surprising number three with 2 entries from the USA and 1 Honduran cigar. That means no Cuban, Costa Rican, Panamanian, Mexican, Peruvian and Dutch cigars made the cut.

Cigars smoked: 156
Highest score: 95
Lowest score: 73
Average score: 89

Now broken down per country:
Flag USA
America:
Cigars smoked: 5
Highest score: 95
Lowest score: 73
Average score: 89

 

flag costa rica
Costa Rica:
Cigars smoked: 3
Highest score: 91
Lowest score: 90
Average score: 90

flag cuba
Cuba:
Cigars smoked: 12
Highest score: 92
Lowest score: 84
Average score: 88

flag dominican
Dominican Republic:
Cigars smoked: 38
Highest score: 95
Lowest score: 72
Average score: 82

 

Flag honduras
Honduras:
Cigars smoked: 15
Highest score: 93
Lowest score: 79
Average score: 90

 

Flag Mexico
Mexico:
Cigars smoked: 7
Highest score: 86
Lowest score: 73
Average score: 90

 

flag nicaragua
Nicaragua:
Cigars smoked: 73
Highest score: 95
Lowest score: 77
Average score: 91

 

flag netherlands
Netherlands:
Cigars smoked: 1
Highest score: 89
Lowest score: 89
Average score: 89

 

flag panama
Panama:
Cigars smoked: 1
Highest score: 89
Lowest score: 89
Average score: 89

 

flag peru
Peru:
Cigars smoked: 1
Highest score: 82
Lowest score: 82
Average score: 82

Now what do these numbers say? It is too simple to say that the average per country is which country I like best because I haven’t smoked an equal amount of cigars per country. But it is safe to say that my preferences are more met by Nicaraguan and Honduran cigars then by any other country.

If you look at the average scores between the Dominican Republic and Cuba you might say I prefer Cuba over the Dominican but I reviewed a lot of Dominican budget cigars and only premium cigars from Cuba so if I cut those budget cigars out, the average of the Dominican Republic shoots back to 90, all those budget cigars definitely effected the average for the Dominican Republic.

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Cigar of the month December

The final month of 2017 so the final ‘cigar of the month’, tomorrow I’ll be posting my top 25 but for now I focus on what December 2017 brought me.

The cigar with the highest rating last month is:

Plasencia Alma Fuerte Generacion V with a 93 score

Now as for the complete list of cigars I published:

1) Plasencia Alma Fuerte Generacion V Figurado (Nicaragua) 93 points
2) Viking Nordic Warrior Churchill (Dominican Republic) 93 points
3) C.A.O. Amazon Basin Toro (Nicaragua) 92 points
4) Cornelius & Anthony Señor Esugars (Nicaragua) 92 points
4) Bespoke Tradicional Cottontail (Dominican Republic) 91 points
6) Punch Platino Double Corona (Cuba) 90 points
7) Xiphos Habano Lonsdale (Costa Rica) 90 points
8) Colon Lancero (Panama) 89 points
9) C.A.O. Angry Santa Toro (Nicaragua) 89 points
10) Manowar Virtue Toro (Nicaragua) 89 points
11) C.A.O. Evil Snowman (Nicaragua) 87 points

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