Cigar Review: E.P. Carrillo Edición Limitada 2011 (Dark Rituals)

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E.P. Carrillo Dark Ritual

E.P. Carrillo is a name that needs no introduction in the cigar industry, and since 2009 he has been releasing cigars that have been amazing. To me everything he has released has been great, and I consider him to be one of the best manufacturers currently. I have every one of his lines in my humidor, and most of the limited edition and short run smokes as well. He has already teamed up with the team at Crowned Heads, and I imagine it will not be long before he is working closely with other manufacturers as well to produce their cigar. At his factory in the Dominican Republic he is making  cigars in the old Cuban style, and has been utilizing great tobacco from several regions and nations. Besides his three/four main lines he releases two special edition lines each year. One of them is called a Short Run, and the other is that years annual limited edition smoke. I have enjoyed every years limited edition smoke, and this year was the first maduro limited edition. Along with announcing that the cigar would be very rich, complex, and full bodied the Perez-Carrillo Family decided to keep this blend fairly secret and not announce the location of the dark wrapper. With that being said I begin my review of the E.P. Carrillo Edición Limitada 2011 “Dark Rituals.”

Limited to 2,000 boxes the new limited edition smoke by E.P. Carrillo is a massive cigar. Dark Rituals is by far their biggest cigar yet released of theirs, and measures 6.5″ with a 56 ring gauge. The size is bigger then your everyday toro, and I would say is similar to that of a Cuban Sublime. Like all of their cigars, it is rolled in the entubar style, has two binders, and is finished with a beautiful triple cap. This cigar differs from most of their other cigars in the fact that the filler is entirely Nicaraguan. Typically they have fillers from the Dominican Republic and Nicaragua, but with this cigar I believe they were aiming to capture stronger and richer flavors that the country of Nicaragua can offer. It is draped with a flavorful Ecuadorian Sumatra binder, which is a great addition, and then finished with an oscuro maduro wrapper. They do not say where the wrapper originates from, but the name Dark Rituals comes from how dark the wrapper is.

Every one of the cigar I have held is absolutely beautiful, and some a little unique. I have found that in a box there are a couple that are very toothy, while some are merely smooth. Each cigar is very oily, and the wrappers are a dark marbled color. A combination of dark chocolate and milk chocolate in coloring, it is easily Oscuro Maduro in coloring. The cigars are very firm to touch and have a beautiful triple cap to finish it off. Holding the wrapper and foot of the cigar to my nose I am gifted with wonderful aromas of stone fruit, cocoa, coffee and barnyard. The wrappers really remind me of the wrapper that is present on La Flor Dominicana Ligero Cigars which is Connecticut Broadleaf.

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Nice dark and marbled wrappers

Upon lighting the cigar I am greeted with tons of flavors. It is a heavy cigar, and the flavors it is giving off are plenty. I am getting tons of smoke from the cigar, and with each draw there is a huge amount of smoke released. When I am a little ways into the first third I begin looking for the flavors it is giving off. There are tons of coffee notes right away with the cigar, and it is accompanied by notes of leather and cocoa. Along with those flavors I am picking up some wood and stone fruit notes. It is almost a combination of cherries, plums and figs. The cigar has a nice finish and it is a sweet spice showing bits of anise, cinnamon, cloves and pepper.  It is definitely full in terms of strength, but with all the flavors it doesn’t hit you with it. The ash on this cigar was very dark, nearly black in parts, and the name really feeds off of this cigar. The burn was somewhat wavy with the smoke so far, but with all the flavors it is giving I really do not mind. When I get into the second third of the cigar the flavors are still so powerful. This cigar is very complex, and it is fairly difficult to pick out all the flavors it has to offer. I am still getting those stone fruit and leather notes, but the spice level has really increased in this third. I am definitely picking up bits of paprika and cayenne in this third, and it pairs wonderfully with those sweet spices from earlier. The cigar still shows those rich characteristics of earth, cocoa and coffee and wood, and finishes wonderfully. Like the first third this cigar is very heavy, and remains full body throughout. The burn improved in this third and a little wavy, but nothing to major.  The ash is still incredibly dark and somewhat flaky in this third, but it is still holding on to the cigar. The smoke the cigar is producing is very thick and dark, perfect for smoke rings. In the final third this cigar continues to rock my world. The strength is still remaining steady at full, and the smoke it is producing is very thick. I am beginning to notice some meaty qualities to the cigar paired with herbal notes when I get into the final third, and it is accompanied by those wonderful qualities of leather, coffee, cocoa, toast and wood. The cigar still possesses the flavors of stone fruit and sweet spice on the finish, and I am even getting an emergence of raisins with it. The final third of the cigar has become more intense in solid core flavors and less sweet and spicy though. I smoke the cigar down to the nub, and the ash remains almost black all the way to the end. It is a firm ash and when I put the cigar down it is still smoking as cool as it was when I first lit up the cigar and it has a long finish after I am done smoking.   What a complex cigar! I know I have said that there are certain cigars made for certain degrees of smokers, and this cigar is not made for the novice or relatively young cigar smoker. I know everyone who smokes this cigar will find it overly complex, and the flavors very hard to pick up. While remaining full bodied in terms of strength, the strength was overpowered by the flavors this cigar possessed. This is a beast of a cigar that is incredible now, and I believe will be even better in months and years to come. Right now I would give this cigar a 94, and I imagine in a year that it will be even higher than that. I have found my new favorite maduro for the 2011 year, and this is one of the best maduro smokes I own. I have been asked if I prefer this cigar over the Limited Edition smoke of theirs from 2010, and it is hard to say. Both are very different and very similar at the same time. I would say both are incredibly flavorful, complex and strong, but in terms of an everyday cigar I would go with the 2010. This is definitely the last cigar of the day, and will make your palate be shot when you are done smoking. (that is a good thing) If you haven’t had the opportunity to smoke this yet, buy two boxes! Smoke five now, and rest the other fifteen. When you come back to this smoke in 6 months to a year, it will be phenomenal! A Thanksgiving Day smoke! *I will say, I recommend cutting and not punching this cigar so as to get all the tobacco flavors from the filler very well, and have a big draw. In my opinion this is a cigar where you don’t want a tight draw but a looser draw than usual. **On a side note, I have heard that in 2012 E.P. Carrillo will be launching the maduro version to the ever popular Elencos Series. Delicious!

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Edición Limitada 2011

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