Ernesto Perez-Carrillo has become an icon for some of the best cigars in the industry. A Cuban émigré, himself, he learned the fine craft of cigar making from his father, Ernesto Sr., while working in their El Credito factory in Miami's "Little Havana" district. After his father passed in 1980, the 29-year-old Ernesto Jr. took over the reigns. So impressed was he with the flavor profile of the Cuban Davidoff cigars, Ernesto set out to reproduce it, and in 1992, his new brand, La Gloria Cubana cigars took the industry by storm after receiving four "90" or higher scores in Cigar Aficionado magazine. Shortly after that, La Gloria became one of the most eagerly sought-after cigar brands in the world. One could also say that La Gloria Cubana were the first true boutique cigars.
Up until 2009, Ernesto had been working for Swedish Match/General Cigar who purchased El Credito in 1999. Eager to see their father return to the tobacco fields, Ernesto's children convinced him that he had at least one more great cigar in him. So, dedicating himself to perfecting a family-run boutique brand with his son, Ernesto III and daughter, Lissette, the EPC Cigar Co. was born.
Based in The Dominican Republic, the company has released one new blend a year, beginning with the E.P. Carrillo CORE cigars. Launched in 2010, the medium-bodied CORE line is blended with Nicaraguan and Dominican long-fillers, Nicaraguan binder, and rolled in a natural Ecuador Sumatra wrapper or Connecticut broadleaf maduro, with the latter using a Sumatra binder. The natural is creamy, yet spicy with perfect balance, offering flavors of earth, cedar, and black cherry sweetness, while the maduro is complex with flavors of chocolate, coffee on a long and spicy finish. To fully appreciate EPC Cigars, it's best to start here.
For cigar smokers who prefer something a little milder and straightforward the E.P. Carrillo New Wave Connecticut cigars are a satisfying selection that can be enjoyed any time of day. Using his trademark Nicaraguan-Dominican long-filler core, a Nicaraguan binder adds an extra shot of spice, while a buttery Ecuadorian Connecticut wrapper completes the mix for a creamy-smooth smoke that imparts a rich array of spicy, sweet, and nutty flavors.
If you're a full-flavor lover, E.P. Carrillo Cardinal cigars get their impressive depth and body with a blend of Nicaraguan longfillers and binders grown on three different farms, a savory Ecuadorian Sumatra wrapper, and wider ring sizes. These cigars' lush draw imparts abundant earthy flavors of wood underscored by a spicy backbone of red and black pepper with a leathery aroma. Maduro fans will appreciate the Connecticut broadleaf Cardinal blend with its bold, dark and woody base laced with earthy coffee flavors and just the right amount of pepper.
With extra-wide ring cigars now a popular trend, E.P. Carrillo INCH cigars take it to the limit with some of the biggest cigars on the planet. Medium to full in body, the sizes range from 60 to 70 ring. Offered in three wrappers, Ecuadorian Sumatra, Connecticut broadleaf maduro, and Dominican Corojo '06, the smoke is rich and complex, as sweet woody flavors are balanced with spices, earth and some nuttiness. The only difference among the three is that the INCH Short Run selection has the Dominican Corojo '06 wrapper, a Nicaraguan Corojo '99 binder, and are made in very limited edition for a more robust and complex journey.
If you like big, bold taste, E.P. Carrillo E Stunner cigars do for full-bodied, strong cigars what INCH did for wide-body cigars. This daring addition to the E.P. Carrillo Cigars portfolio, uses the familiar Nicaraguan-Dominican core, but with a high-priming Sumatra wrapper, giving the blend added power in this rich, and literally, stunning smoke.
For the ultimate E. P. Carrillo cigar, Ernesto created E.P. Carrillo La Historia cigars which signify the progression from the family's days in Cuba to today's EPC Cigar Co. Box-pressed in a dark, savory Mexican San Andrés wrapper and adorned with an opulent, eye-catching band, the smoke is full-flavored, well-balanced, and complex. The passion that went into making this cigar was rewarded when La Historia took the #2 slot in Cigar Aficionado's "Top 25 Cigars of the Year 2014" list.