Cigar Ratings & Reviews

#NowSmoking: E.P. Carrillo Retro (Short Run) 2021

Reading Time: 4 minutes

#NowSmoking: E.P. Carrillo Retro 2021 Cigar Review (Video)


E.P. Carrillo Retro 2021 – Cigar Details:

Factory: Tabacalera La Alianza S.A.
Size: 5” x 50, Short Play (Robusto)
Strength: Medium-Bodied
Wrapper: Ecuador Habano
Binder: Nicaragua
Filler: Dominican Republic & Nicaragua

Presented in boxes of 24 cigars

cigar advisor #nowsmoking cigar review e.p. carrillo retro 2021 - at famous smoke shop

The E.P. Carrillo Retro 2021 Backstory

After a six-year sabbatical, E.P. Carrillo Short Run is back – with a new name: Retro. Carrillo fans will remember this popular annual line, especially the initial Short Run 2010 (kudos to you if you still have a few stashed away). Back then, the blends were called ‘Short Run’ due to the limited nature of the tobaccos Ernesto Perez-Carrillo selected for each year’s release. He’s keeping that small-batch cigar allure alive with Retro. 2021’s recipe is no exception.

cigar advisor #nowsmoking cigar review e.p. carrillo retro 2021 - setup shot of cigar on a whiskey barrel stave in front of a whiskey glass
I’ll be lighting up the Short Play, a no-nonsense Robusto size. There’s a larger 60-ring, called Long Play, available for those who like ‘em big – both sizes are a nod to Ernesto’s roots as a jazz drummer.

Originally made for brick-and-mortar stores only, this is a rare chance to get these cigars delivered to your door, especially if you live more than a leisurely drive away from your nearest tobacconist. That’s why we’re giving E.P. Carrillo Retro 2021 a proper cigar review, so you can see if it’s got a flavor profile that’s worth your hard-earned money.


The Basics at-a-Glance

Construction: Reddish brown and smooth with a few prominent veins. Perfectly rolled.
Cold Draw: Light spices with a faint citrus twist.
Base flavors: Vanilla, toffee, wood, coffee beans, and moderate spices.
Aroma: Floral with a hint of the same citrus from the cold draw.
Burn & Ash: Sticky ash, straight burner – what more could you ask for?


E.P. Carrillo Retro 2021 Cigar Review – Act I

cigar advisor #nowsmoking cigar review e.p. carrillo retro 2021 - first third

Smoking especially sweet from the start, I’m getting big toffee vibes along with some background spices from the Habano wrapper. I’m already liking this almost as much as the original Short Run from 2010…and that’s big praise. If you know, you know. About an inch further in, and some woodier notes are beginning to emerge. It’s dancing around medium-bodied – sometimes pushing its way toward medium-plus, but never quite getting there.


E.P. Carrillo Retro 2021 Cigar Review – Act II

cigar advisor #nowsmoking cigar review e.p. carrillo retro 2021 - second third

A little more than halfway through Retro 2021, I’m picking up notes of vanilla and coffee bean. The pepper and spices are still there, and the cigar’s doing a great job of keeping its temper consistently medium-bodied. Understated floral and citrus elements bloom out of the retrohale, which complements the flavors nicely. Think of it more like a Sam Adams Summer Ale citrus than Mike’s Hard Lemonade. And the cigar’s a chimney too; all that thick, syrupy smoke is sweet to the nose, and sweeter to the palate.


E.P. Carrillo Retro 2021 Cigar Review – Act III

cigar advisor #nowsmoking cigar review e.p. carrillo retro 2021 - final third

I’m betting you’ll get to the nub faster than you should (it was about 35 minutes for me). That’s because Retro 2021 is a hard cigar to put down. Even at this point, it’s still burning beautifully and pouring out flavor that far exceeds its meager price tag. Not much has changed since the midway point, but that’s fine by me. No complaint. And not to mention…we’re talking less than $7 apiece – all this from the guy who earned Cigar of the Year twice within three years…


 What beverage pairs well with E.P. Carrillo Retro 2021?

cigar advisor #nowsmoking cigar review e.p. carrillo retro 2021 - setup shot of cigar on box with whiskey bottle and glass

I didn’t drink anything besides water with my sample, but I can already tell that this is a great stick to smoke with a cold beer. I’d go with Fat Tire Amber Ale as the herbal qualities to its hops will complement Retro 2021 well.

For additional pairing combinations, check out our Cigar & Spirit pairing guide.


Are E.P. Carrillo Retro 2021 Cigars Worth Smoking?

Big flavor at six and change? Clearly, we’ve got a winner here. But that doesn’t mean everyone’s going to like it. If you’re a full-bodied freak, probably enough here to keep you satiated as a lunch time treat. If you’re new to smoking cigars, it’s not going to bite as much as most of Ernesto’s blends. Anyone can enjoy it – it’s just a matter of whether the flavors I’ve described are the kind you’re looking for.

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Jared Gulick

Jared Gulick

Features Editor, Jared Gulick, is a Certified Tobacconist, nerd of all things science, musician and serial abuser of the Oxford comma. He made his way to the Famous Smoke Shop retail store in 2018 and joined the Advisors when it was discovered that he could locate the shift key. Prior to his work in the cigar industry, he was a recording studio engineer, songwriter, and a journalism major at Northampton Community College.

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