Review: E.P. Carrillo Edición Limitada 2011 “Dark Rituals” (Prerelease)
For those of you that don’t know…
If you are not familiar with Ernesto Perez-Carrillo Jr., he is the man behind El Credito Cigar Company and most importantly La Gloria Cuban cigars. La Gloria Cubana has experienced many years at the top of the cigar world. Ernesto has always been known for putting out remarkable cigars. Despite that a few years ago Ernesto, together with his business partner, his daughter Lissette McPhillips, sold the cigar business to Swedish Match. However Ernesto was still involved in the production and management of La Gloria Cubana thanks to a ten year contract and non-compete.
In early 2009 Ernesto decided to depart from Swedish Match/General Cigar Co. to start his own company once again, so with his daughter, Lissette McPhillips Perez-Carrillo, and his son, Ernesto III, and EPC Cigar Company LLC was created. The company certainly hit the ground running with the release of their first cigar, the Edición Inaugural 2009. The cigar was a major hit and really captured what Ernesto has always been about, beautiful presentation, great construction and full of flavor. The cigar was made in small batch production only and sold out very quickly.
Soon to follow were other small batch production cigars, the Short Run and the Edición Limitada 2010. They were made in limited quantities and they did not stray from their tobaccos of choice using tobaccos from Ecuador, Nicaragua and the Dominican Republic.
We have known for some time that E.P. Carrillo was releasing a Edición Limitada for 2011, as they have for the last 2 years, but little was known about the blend or size until the IPCPR show in Las Vegas…
Officially dubbed the “Dark Rituals,” the new Edición Limitada is a 6 1/2 x56 monster that is wrapped in an extremely dark and oily Oscuro Maduro wrapper. The “Dark Rituals” will come in boxes of 10, with an MSRP of $15 each. There will only be 2,000 boxes released, so 20,000 cigars total.
Here is a photo comparing the three Edición Limitada releases so far (from top to bottom):
And here is what the boxes for the E.P Carrillo E.L. 2011 “Dark Rituals” look like (photos taken at the IPCPR show in Las Vegas):
But enough of that, let’s get down to business, shall we?
- Cigar Reviewed: E.P Carrillo Edición Limitada 2011 “Dark Rituals”
- Country of Origin: Dominican Republic
- Factory: Tabacalera La Alianza S.A.
- Wrapper: Oscuro Maduro
- Binder: Ecuadorian Sumatra
- Filler: Nicaraguan
- Size: 6 1/2 Inches
- Ring Gauge: 56
- Vitola: Toro Grande
- MSRP: $15.00 (Boxes of 10, $150.00)
- Date Released: October 2011
- Number of Cigars Released: 2,000 Boxes of 10 Cigars (20,000 Total Cigars)
- Number of Cigars Smoked for Review: 1
The first thing you notice about the “Dark Rituals” is the almost jet black wrapper that adorns it. The color is not uniform, what I would call “mottled,” but it is still quite dark. It is a very large cigar when held in your hand, and it is quite firm when squeezed. The wrapper has a bit of oil on it, and smells strongly of sweet wood, leather, dark chocolate and coffee.
The First Third starts out immediately with an intense bitter espresso and dark chocolate notes, along with just a touch of leather. There is small amount of spice on the lips as well. I can taste some sweetness on the fringes, but at this point in the cigar, I can’t put on finger on what flavor(s) it is.
The Second Third starts out the same as the first third, but then starts to shift a bit to more of a mellow profile. I taste a stronger sweetness then the first third, almost like rum, intertwined with some raisins. The spice from the first third has almost totally disappeared by the end of the half, although it does pop up every now and again), but the chocolate and the leather note is also gone. Dark and mellow espresso is still the forefront note. I can feel the cigar getting stronger, but it is still only a solid medium at this point.
The Final Third seems to combine all of the former notes that were present, albeit in different amounts. The sweetness is still there (in the background) and the dark chocolate and espresso as well. It did get a bit hot and harsh at the very end, but I probably smoked it past where it should have.
- Apparently, this is the first cigar that Lissette McPhillips Perez-Carrillo has officially named. The name “Dark Rituals” is presumably in reference to the dark wrapper that the cigar is covered with.
- Retailers who purchased a certain number of boxes of the “Dark Rituals” will also be getting a box of a prerelease stick, an Elencos blend with a Maduro wrapper that will be released in full production at some point next year.
- From the first puff, there was so much smoke coming off of this cigar that my wife saw the smoke through the window and thought my back yard was fire, we have a huge drought here a the moment. If you like a lot of smoke in your cigars, this is the stick for you. It is thick and blueish white smoke, with a strong woodish scent to it.
- I am always worried about the blend being too mellow in cigars of this size and RG, but I am happy to report that the flavors were quite distinct and rich.
- This cigar started at a solid medium minus in strength, but got progressively stronger as the smoke went on, and ended a medium-plus by the end.
- The EPC EL 2011 has a VERY dry profile.
- The Draw was a bit loose at the start of the smoke, but seemed to tighten up around the start of the second third or so. The burn was not bad, but was far from even — I touched it up twice, but that was mostly my OCD, not because I had too.
- The ash is not what I would call “attractive” — flaky and mottled, it looks more like what is left after a campfire burns out.
- The Final Smoking Time was just under 2 Hours.
The Bottom Line: The first thing I wanted to know about this cigar (other than how it tastes) is: Is it better than the other Edición Limitadas? Well, as you may or may not know, I loved the Inaugural 2009 when it came out, it has since lost quite a bit of the profile that I loved, and the Edición Limitada 2010 as well, but with the Oscuro Maduro wrapper the Edición Limitada 2011 is (obviously) a whole different animal, both in profile and strength. This was a very dark, rich profile. To me, this is a cigar you buy to smoke on special occasions, when you want that almost two hour smoke after a great meal. A great cigar that will only get better with age…
Final Score: 92