Tag Archives: EP Carillo

EP Carillo Classic Series Dusk Solidos Cigar

EPCarillo_Dusk_SolidosYesterday I finally had the chance to revisit the EP Carillo Dusk. I smoked this a year and a half ago and really liked it, and was spending a few hours at the cigar store and this cigar caught my eye.  I’ve been terrible about sampling the EP Carillo range, there have only been a couple I’ve tried, which is weird considering my admiration for Ernesto’s past work (and present, the La Gloria Cubana Coleccion Reserva was one of my most memorable cigars of 2017).  I’m trying to remedy that, and am going to try to remember to pick up something from the EC range when I’m in the shop.  I met up with a couple friends at the local CigarCigars branch to kill some time, and started off with the EP Carillo Classic Series Dusk Solidos , the 6″x 60  offering.  I had previously smokes and enjoyed the “Obscure” double corona, so I figured I’d work my way down. I used my Adorini punch on this one, the 13mm side worked very well to open it up.  I smoked a second one later that I straight cut and I think I liked the punch better for this one.  Why, you ask? Only because there were a couple “flyaway” bits of cap that were a little annoying on the straight cut. This cigar has a Connecticut Broadleaf wrapper (which drew my eye to the cigar in the first place), an Ecuador binder and Nicaraguan fillers. I lit this cigar up around 11 am, and didn’t find it to strong for the time of day, I actually thought it would be stronger. I was not disappointed by this cigar. The burn and draw were spot on, which is a testament to the conditions in the humidor. The first time I visited this shop a few years back the humidor was not great, there were cigars with wrappers coming off, some moldy cigars, ever-all it was off-putting. Over the years they have gotten it under control and it’s now a very nice humidor and shop, I don’t mind visiting there at all, and it’s 2 miles from home. Back to the cigar.  It’s good. Lots of rich espresso notes with some cocoa, just war I like. I ended up smoking the second one on my evening walk because I was talking and trying to get the Flyers game on the lounge TV, which turned out to be no easy feat. They have Dish Network which doesn’t seem to have the channel that the games are broadcast on, but Apple TV provided a workaround. I wanted to give the cigar my full attention.  It’s very good, and I look forward to meandering my way through some other EPC offerings. I think I smoked my first one in 2011, so I have some catching up to do. It was great hanging out with Bruce and Mike for an afternoon!


Tortuga Reserva Maduro No. 500I smoked another Tortuga Reserva Maduro El Coyote Negro, No. 500 yesterday too. The Frazer, PA CigarCigars shop has the better part of a box on a bottom shelf that has been there for some time. I grab a couple every time I go in, and I’m tempted to adopt the whole bunch and give them a good home, but what holds me back is that I really would like others to enjoy these, they just aren’t getting much of a chance down there at floor level. I also want to avoid seeing these on the deep discount table, that makes them look bad, and they are, in my humble opinion, exceptional cigars that deserve a better fate. I’m quite conflicted on this.  It’s not like they wouldn’t be shared if they were in my humidor, that’s for sure.  Maybe I’ll ask Steve, the manager, to throw a number at me…


Finally, here is an interesting infographic from the folks at Smokers Discounts. I imagine there isn’t anything new here for most of you, but there isn’t any bad advice, and the stats at the top are interesting, although I think the numbers probably include all cigars, not just the premium cigar we focus on here. I’d probably add a couple of parentheticals in the “picking the right cigar” part like don’t squeeze it enough to break it, and don’t wipe your nose all over it, especially before you buy it, but that;s just me.


That’s all for today, until the next time,






Filed under Review

An LH Premium Cigar and a La Gloria Cubana Event

LH_LaVidaIslaMonday I smoked a cigar from the IPCPR show that Nick Syris (LH Premium Cigars & Smooth Draws Radio) gave me when I saw him in Island Jim’s booth. He was exhibiting in the same booth because 3R Cigar Distributors in Pittsburgh is distributing LH Premium cigars, as well as 1502, Leaf by Oscar and Island Jim cigars. The cigar Nick gave me is a collaboration between Nick and Island Jim Robinson, which was to be called La Vida Isla, but is moving forward as a “special edition” called the “Nick & Jim P.B.E”, Pre-Banded Edition. I know, the example  smoked had a band, but the band Nick used on the samples is one he uses for his non-US LH brand. The cigar has an Ecuador grown Vuelta Abajo seed wrapper and binder and Nicaraguan & Peruvian fillers an is made in Costa Rica. This was a fantastic cigar, rich and meaty with the nice little spice that the Peruvian tobacco has (and I really like Peruvian tobacco). This is a medium bodied cigar that I could smoke every day.

EPC_LGCLast night I attended an event at the International Tobacco (or is it CigarCigars, I’m not sure they’ve officially rebranded the store since acquiring it last summer) in the King of Prussia Mall. Yes, it’s a cigar shop in a mall that you can smoke in! I’ve talked about it before, let the wife shop in the largest mall in the country and hang out and smoke cigars, it’s a beautiful and dangerous thing! Anyway, they had a ticketed event featuring La Gloria Cubana cigars featuring Ernesto P. Carillo, who founded the La Gloria Cubana brand and sold it to what is now General Cigar Co. in 1999. Of course, Ernesto now owns EPCarillo Cigar Co. I’ve been fortunate to have met a lot of people in the cigar business, but this is only the second time CC_KOPI’ve met Ernesto, and he’s someone I hold in high regard, as I was a huge fan of his La Gloria and El Rico Habano brands in the 90s. There were 30 tickets sold for the event, and there were some of the people from several of the twelve stores in the CigarCigars chain (I think there are 5 or 6 of the stores within a ten mile radius of my home). Included in the ticket price were three La Gloria Cubana cigars, the new Coleccion Reserva in robusto, a Serie R No. 5 Natural and a La Gloria Corona Gorda Maduro from the original line. I lit up the Coleccion Reserva, I’ve smoked and enjoyed some IPCPR samples of this cigar, and in Ernesto’s talk he disclosed that the blend is a hybrid of the old El Rico Habano and the La Gloria Artesanos de Miami. It’s no wonder I like this cigar. It was a great event with hors d’oeuvres and Jim CC_EPCBeam spirits (of which I don’t partake). One of the things Ernesto also talked about was the way the cigar industry cooperates, crediting several people for helping him in the 90s when La Gloria exploded after getting a high rating in Cigar Aficionado, forcing him to open a factory in the Dominican Republic to try to meet the demand.  This was evidenced even now by the fact that he is, once again, collaborating with the company which bought his brand. Great event with a legendary cigar maker and a great bunch of people. Thanks to Tom, Rami, Steve Mike, Tom and the rest of the staff for a good evening.

LaGloriaCubana_Colección Reserva_TorpedoTonight I did something I rarely do and lit up another La Gloria Cubana Coleccion Reserva, this time in the torpedo. I had a Serie R Esteli the other night which is a cigar I have really enjoyed over the last few years, along with its maduro counterpart. Perhaps the Coleccion Reserva is my new favorite in the LGC line. Is it the fact that I now know that it has a connection to the El Ricos of old that I loved? the cigar is perfectly balanced, has a touch of sweetness and spice and is a tasty smoke. Burn was perfect and flavors were awesome. It’s a good thing, because I bought a box and had Ernesto autograph it. I don’t have a lot of autographed boxes, this one joins Jorge Padron, Nick Melillo and Bernie Parent. I continue my 20 year love affair with La Gloria Cubana cigars, and my LGC dedicated humidor is overflowing!

That’s all I have for tonight, until the next time,




Filed under Events, Review

A Bobalu Oscuro, a New Nestor Miranda Cigar and an Oliveros All Stars

Bobalu_Oscuro_GordoAfter the crazy first half of the week, I settled down a bit. I actually took Thursday off as we went up to Bethlehem PA to see the new movie “Eight Days A Week”. It was a very good documentary about The Beatles touring years, you can read my wife’s review on her blog Beatles-Freak’s Reviews . Friday evening’s cigar was another cigar from the selection I picked up from Bobalu Cigars. This cigar was from the Oscuro line which features a Connecticut Broadleaf wrapper,  Nicaraguan Ligero, Honduran Criollo  98 and Dominican Piloto and  Olor.  You can imagine what my expectations were for this one. This is a good example of how expectations can lead to disappointment. I got these in the Gordo size, because they only come in robusto and Gordo and I have too damn many robustos in my humidors.  The cigar was well made, but instead of the heavy, coffee/cocoa flavor I expected, I got more of a medium sour flavor. It was a good cigar, I smoked it for a good two hours, but the sour flavor isn’t one I particularly enjoy. There were plenty of good points, and certainly there are people who appreciate the flavors in that cigar more than I do. I remain amazed that a factory in Austin, Texas is cranking out handmade cigars of excellent quality for a reasonable price. It’s a place I must visit one day when I finally make that Texas visit I need to make. Bobalu is still offering a special deal for my readers, click here to check that out.


Nestor Miranda Collection_Corojo_RobustoYesterday was a three cigar day. I started off in the afternoon, after getting some things done around the house and yard, with a new line extension to the Nestor Miranda Collection, the Corojo in the 4½ x 50 robusto size. In the past I’ve really enjoyed the Nestor Miranda Collection in this size, the Connecticut, Maduro and Habano are all exceptional, and this Corojo is a great addition to the portfolio. I was blown away by the abundance of a cinnamon spice quality throughout the cigar, it was quite delicious. I think the most memorable cigars I’ve smoked from the trade show for me this year have been cigars with unique flavors that I don’t often get in a  cigar, which is what makes them memorable.  There was another one, but I can’t remember it :-). I highly recommend trying the Nestor Miranda Collection, and especially this new Corojo.  One minor complaint: Miami Cigar and Co. desperately needs to update their website!


Oliveros_AllStars_BassoI moved on to another trade show sample, the Oliveros Allstars Small Batch No. 5 Basso. Thankfully, Aging Room Cigar’s website IS up to date, as I had forgotten the story behind this cigar from the show, there was a lot of information given at once and the info on this one slipped through the ever-widening cracks. Oliveros All Stars is a collaboration between Rafael Nodal and Ernesto P. Carillo, it’s got a dark US grown broadleaf wrapper and Dominican fillers. The Basso is a 6″ x 54 toro (remember when Toros were 6″ x 50?) and they also have the Aria at 4½ x 48, the Fugue at  5½ x 52 and the Chord at 6½ x 52 Torpedo. The naming conventions are consistent with Rafael’s Music background. This is the sort of flavors I look for in a broadleaf cigar! It was dark and lush with the heavy espresso flavors I like, with some cocoa sweetness. It was a wonderful smoke. Collaborations are a funny thing in the cigar world, some say that the rarely work, I’ve had pretty good luck smoking collaborative efforts, but I think this one was a “win”. As an old friend came over for a while, I finished off the evening with a Last Call from AJ Fernandez, which seemed appropriate as it was getting late and was the last cigar of the day. Having just finished a fairly powerful cigar, I had low hopes for this cigar, it had some foot damage and looked bad in the humidor, so this was a perfect occasion to get rid of it in a humane way.  About a quarter of the way in I couple really taste the wonderful flavors that this little cigar offers, and I was sad when it became too short to smoke any longer. I can’ wait to try the maduro version, although the Habano is fantastic.


Just Bitching…


Here’s a couple quick gripes about things I hear on podcasts that annoy me, stupid things, but things, and I’m naming names! On the Kiss My Ash podcast, they have a couple of commercials that bug me. First is a Joya de Nicaragua commercial that claims that the Quatro Cinco Reserva has tobacco from the Jalapeño valley, and I don’t know of a Jalapeño Valley in Nicaragua. Another is an ad that mentions what sounds to me like they are saying “Cigar Aprecianado” instead of Aficionado. may that one’s just me, my hearing isn’t great. I still love the KMA folks, it’s one of the podcasts I look forward to all week. The last one for today is from CigarDave‘s show last Saturday, where, in an attempt to be patriotic, he played one of the worst renditions of our nations national anthem I’ve ever heard. Admittedly, I’m a purist when it comes to the National Anthem, I don’t believe it should be embellished or artistically interpreted at all, just performed straight, as written. Nothing annoys me more than a performer adding his or her own spin to our nations anthem. That’s my opinion, I cringe when I hear poorly performed anthems, and that’s just the way it is. I was also in the car driving when I listened to CigarDave, and I didn’t feel like I need to stand, as what I was listening to was  barely the piece of music that represents our nation. CigarDave, I’m deeply disappointed in that selection. Again, my opinion, I’m open to any criticism.


That’s about all I have for today, until the next time,





Filed under Review

A CAO Cigars Event, an EP Carillo and a Padilla IPCPR Release

IMG_3694[1]Thursday we went to G & G Cigars in downtown West Chester, PA to see Ricky Rodriquez at a CAO event.  G & G changed hands in the last couple years, and while the selection in the  humidor changed a bit, it remains a very nice shop managed by Mike, who keeps a clean and inviting lounge.  I picked up a few Flatheads in the 660 size and the Steel Horse Apehanger size and wandered into the lounge and sat down next to Ricky, who was deep in conversation with another patron.  I have known Ricky since probably 2010, having spent some time with him in the Dominican Republic in 2011, and seeing him at the IPCPR show just last month.  My son and I actually hung out with him and Ed McKenna the first night we were in Vegas at the Circle Bar in the Venetian, where he shared the new CAO Consigliere with us (the re-release of the Sopranos).  I sat next to Rick smoking my Flathead 660 for close to ten minutes before he got up and my wife “introduced” us…it was a very IMG_3697[1]amusing moment.  It was fairly quiet in the lounge, so we had a great time talking about the cigar world, and the world in general with Ricky.  He had been at another location about two miles from home that afternoon, but who among us working folks can make a 12-3 event on a Thursday? It worked out well, the Flathead line remains one of my favorites, and the one I smoked was quite satisfying and lasted until the parking meter expired.  Ricky knows his tobacco and is always a treat to hang out with.  If he comes to your area don;t miss the opportunity to hang out with him.


EPCarillo_Dusk_ObscureFriday I opened the IPCPR sample humidor (which, by the way, is a reasonably large Psyko Seven humidor that my wife won on a Best Cigar Prices Facebook Contest, totally legit and above-board, I checked! It’s a pretty darned nice humidor that can be had at a very reasonable price. It’s been working very well with Boveda packs. Enough of the commercial, and there will be more on Psyko Seven in the near future. Please note that nobody asked me to say anything about this) and pulled out an EP Carillo Dusk Obscure, the largest in this new line at 7″ x 54. The Dusk has a US grown wrapper, clearly a Broadleaf, an Ecuador binder and Nicaraguan fillers, made at Ernesto’s factory in the Dominican Republic. Having been a fan of Ernesto P. Carillo’s work over the last 20 years, it was a treat to finally sit down with him and meet him at the trade show. I don’t get starstruck by many in the cigar world anymore, but Ernesto was one of the people who I was nervous about meeting.  The Dusk was a great cigar, and another cigar I will seek out to further sample.  It was sweet and had the dark flavors I prefer.


Padilla_Anniversary_ChurchillSaturday I wound up a busy day with another IPCPR sample. Remember I said there seemed to be a lot more larger sized samples at the show this year? Well, I’ve been selecting the larger cigars as the weather allows, I’ll have plenty of robustos to get through the winter. I selected the Padilla Anniversary in the 7″ x 50 Churchill size. I’m not entirely clear which anniversary this line celebrates, the company has been around for about 14 years, but I don’t suppose it matters as special anniversary releases will be severely limited moving forward thanks to the FDA regulations. The Padilla Anniversary is a  Nicaraguan puro made at Raíces Cubanas in Honduras. It’s got a Habano wrapper, Nicaraguan Corojo binder and fillers from Esteli and Jalapa.  This cigar started out pretty smooth and built in strength, ending up to be quite a powerhouse. The burn and draw were perfect, with a good amount of smoke.  The band is really beautiful, with the Padilla signature lion holding a trident. It’s quite stunning, and the presentation is completed by a cedar sleeve. This will be a regular release, although limited. It was quite a nice smoke for a Saturday evening.


That’s about all for now, until the next time,





Filed under IPCPR, Review

El Centurion, a Couple Cigars at Cigar Brothers and a Viva Republica and a Test

ElCenturian_RobustoI mixed it up a little this week. I had determined that whatever was up with my tasters last week had passed, hence the Bugatti post, so I pushed forward.  My methodology for determining this, not that you asked, was to smoke familiar cigars for a few days. Fairly straight forward, and it also lets me enjoy some favorites, like a Nica Rustica, La Sirena and BCP’s SixZero Robolo. So I grabbed a My Father Cigars El Centurian Robusto, which is 5¾” x 50, which is a bit long for a rubusto, but I’m OK with that. The blend, from what I can tell, is a sungrown Criollo 99 wrapper, with Nicaraguan fillers of four varietals,  Criollo, Corojo Habano, and Sancti Spiritus. I typically don’t care for Criollo 99, there’s just something about it that I don’t get excited about. While I think the El Centurian is a good cigar, it certainly performed well, was well constructed and didn’t have an objectionable flavor, it just isn’t one of the cigars that I might reach for again. Nothing wrong with it, just not in my wheel house, it’s a shame because I really like the presentation and want to like it. I never had the pleasure of smoking the original blend of this cigar.


Yesterday I met up with Mike C., who, along with his daughter, are producing WineadorArt, and we visited Cigar Brothers Cigars in Berwyn, PA.  There’s a couple of things I like about this shop, one of the brother’s who owns the place EPCarillo_NewWaveCTResis named Craig, nothing not to like there, right?  It’s in an old house, with the store on the lower level and the lounge in the upstairs rooms, of which there are two. Hanging out there is basically like being at home and being able to smoke and watch TV, it’s small enough for intimate conversation with out interuptions or distractions. The weakness is the lack of a large space for events, and, my opinion, maintaining proper storage conditions in the store area, which is one large humidified space. We bought some cigars and went upstairs to smoke. I started with an E.P. Carillo New Wave Reserva Connecticut Belicoso D’Oro. This cigar is 5.7″ x 52 with a well-formed torpedo head. It’s got an Ecuador Connecticut wrapper, Connecticut Broadleaf Binder, and Dominican and Nicaraguan fillers. I enjoyed this  cigar, but I was expecting something a little more Connecticut Shade, if that makes sense. The wrapper was darker than I expected, which intrigued me and lead to the purchase. It burned well, and was tasty enough, just fairly un-UC_Torounique to me. It was a great cigar to just sit and smoke during conversation without having to think about it. I bought a couple more which I’ll leave in the humidor for a while and revisit. I then moved on to the Undercrown Shade in a toro size. Cigar Brothers had these very reasonably priced and I like them well enough to want to keep some on hand, so I added to the inventory I had at home. While this cigar smoke fairly well, I got the sense that it was not quite as dry as I prefer, going back to what I mentioned about the challenges of having your store be a humidor. I might have had better luck than Mike since the cigars I chose had thinner wrappers, and his selections for the day had thicker wrappers that suck up more humidity. Picking your spot in the shop to buy cigars you plan to smoke there I think is key, and take the ones in the area closer to the humidifiers home to leave in your humidor for a while. I hate to criticize, because I love everything else about the shop (especially Craig’s dogs, who visit from time to time), but having a over-moist cigar be a disappointment in a great environment is a bummer.


VivaRepublica_Advanced Warefare_PetiteSince I had already smoked two cigars while out, when I got home and took Macha for her walk, I went small, with a Viva Republica Advanced Warefare Petite. This 4″ x  41 little guy packs a punch, it’s a peppy little cigar! It’s made at La Aurora in the Dominican Republic, Ecuador Sumatra wrapper, with Dominican, Nicaraguan and Pennsylvanian leaf in the filler blend. Jason Holly, the brand owner, is a Pennsylvania guy and works for Miami Cigar and Co. as a brand ambassador, among other things. So this was a perfect smoke for the half-hour or so it took Macha and I to make our mile-plus walk. Burn was perfect, it was quite satisfying for a short smoke and it fit the situation well. It’s a great cold weather cigar because it’s loaded with flavor, although it’s tough handling small cigar with gloves.


The folks at Bobalu Cigars in Austin, TX have this clever test on their site. Here’s a link, or you can take it right here if whatever you’re reading on supports the embedded page. I thought it was very challenging and well done. Tell you what, I’ll send a 5-pack to the first person to match my score, take a screenshot of your score and post it in the comments or if you can’t do that be prepared to e-mail it as proof. Deadline for entry is Next Sunday, Feb. 14. Good luck!

Test Your Cigar Knowledge



That’s enough from me for now, until the next time,





Filed under Review, Stores