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E.P. Carrillo New Wave Connecticut Reserva - Toro Review
By GC
11/20/2014 12:39:00 PM  

E.P. Carrillo New Wave Reserva Connecticut Toro (6 x 52) - Cigar Review

Background / Blend Info:

Originally revealed at the Inter-Tabac Cigar Show in Dortmund, Germany, the E.P. Carrillo New Wave Reserva is a new cigar from EPC Cigar Co. initially produced for the European market and now being distributed to the U.S. The cigar was introduced in tandem with the new E.P. Carrillo Cabinet. 

EPC Cigar Co. has released various blends with an Ecuadorian Connecticut wrapper, including limited edition cigars such as the EPC NWC Short Run 2012 and EPC Medalla D'Oro, as well as the regular production E.P. Carrillo New Wave Connecticut. Ernesto Perez-Carrillo is noted as saying that the leaf used for the wrapper on this particular cigar is darker in color due to it being a higher priming on the plant. The binder used in the blend is a Connecticut Broadleaf and the fillers a mix of Nicaraguan and Dominican tobaccos. 

Initial Thoughts: 

I've personally always been a huge fan of Ernesto Carrillo's blending prowess, the man truly is a top notch cigar maker. His ability to pack an enormous amount of flavor into a medium "body" cigar is an attribute not matched by many. As stated by Carrillo the wrapper on the New Wave Reserva Connecticut is very dark by Connecticut standards, if I was given this cigar blind, I would have guessed another leaf was used. The wrapper is smooth to the touch and overall the construction of the cigar is very solid. Let's fire this baby up!

First Half:

The cold draw gives some sweet tobacco and hay flavors. Toasting the foot gave off a nice aroma of roasted nuts. My initial few draws were met with a really enjoyable sweetness, very similar to the pre-light draw. I would describe the flavor as honey and nuts, some leather up front with a light creamy body so far. I tend to smoke Connecticut wrapped cigars very slow as to not get a bitter taste and to try to enjoy the nuance of a milder smoke. I'm taking the same approach with this cigar, as Carrillo's blending really needs to be paid attention to sometimes to really appreciate it. The draw is on the looser side, but not too much so, and so far the burn line has been fairly straight with some touch ups here and there.. I'm not sure if it's from the Broadleaf binder or the Nicaraguan tobacco, but there is a faint enjoyable spice creeping in that's especially noticeable when I retrohale. 



Second Half:

The ash was very solid and actually held on for at least a few inches before falling off in a solid chunk. As the cigar transitioned to the 2nd half the body started to build to more medium than mild, as well as a new woodsy flavor entering into the mix. The sweetness is still on the forefront and is playing a major role in the overall flavor. I would describe it as an earthy sweet, not an artificial sugary taste, but more like a honey or vanilla. It's very nice and contributing to a very enjoyable aroma. I would say to this point the cigar is probably a bit heavier and more aggressive than most milder Connecticut wrapped cigars, and for me that's a huge plus. I generally enjoy a fuller bodied cigar but could definitely see myself smoking this in the morning or as a first cigar of the day. For smokers who stick to Connecticut and milder cigars, this might be a great change of pace if you're looking for something with a bit more kick, but not overly strong. The cigar finished with more of the same flavors, with some gaining some intensity as well as the spice through the nose becoming more pronounced. 

Final Thoughts.. 

Overall after smoking this EPC blend, I can easily see this cigar slotting excellently into their catalog. It's a great gatekeeper between the New Wave Connecticut and the Core Line or Cardinal blends. If you're already a fan of the complex blending of Carrillo, and you're looking for something a bit more complex and fuller than the New Wave Connecticut, then the NWC Reserva is a perfect match. I found the cigar to be very enjoyable, easy going yet offers a lot by way of flavor and complexity.. I can't see any aficionado smoking this new EPC and not being entertained and satisfied. Keep your eye's peeled as we'll have the EP Carrillo New Wave Connecticut Reserva up on the website any day, available in 4 sizes:

Robusto: 5 x 50

Toro: 6 x 52

Supremo: 5 1/8 x 56

Immensos: 6 x 60





Enjoy!!

~GC


Currently rated 2.7 by 3 people

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Nat Sherman Epoca Perfectos Review
By GC
7/29/2014 5:05:00 PM  

Cigar Review:

The Nat Sherman Epoca is Available Now - Click Here to Purchase

Nat Sherman Epoca Perfecto (5 3/4 x 52)

Nat Sherman has resurrected one of their oldest brands, actually the first they offered on the premium market, called the Epoca, to commemorate their long standing history in the cigar industry. The Epoca uses the same packaging artwork from the original release, which was a "clear" Havana, meaning it contained Cuban tobacco, but was sold in the States prior to the embargo. Released at IPCPR 2014, the Nat Sherman Epoca was produced by the Quesada's in the Dominican Republic. It uses a golden brown Ecuadorian Connecticut wrapper with Nicaraguan and Dominican fillers.

Nat Sherman Epoca Perfectos

Appearance:

The Nat Sherman Epoca, especially the Perfecto has a very retro look to it. The packaging is an absolute throwback and does what the brand sets out to do, harken back to the clear Havana pre-embargo blend that it was. A super smooth, golden brown Ecuadorian Connecticut wrapper shines in the light, seamlessly encasing the cigar. Overall a very appealing looking cigar.

Burn / Draw / Construction:

The burn and draw on the Nat Sherman Epoca was nothing short of perfection. Once again, the cigar mimics a Cuban with a white, flakey ash, but unlike the forbidden fruit, this cigars burn line was like a laser. The draw had just the right amount of resistance, offering the ability to "sip" or pull big plumes of smoke. The construction was good also, firm but not too much so.

Nat Sherman Epoca Perfectos

Flavor:

Pre-light draw consists of an sweet tobacco and hay like flavor. The Epoca starts off fairly mild and creamy with a light, nutty sweetness and an enjoyable aroma that's similar to some Cuban cigars. Also similar to some Havana's is the medium body, yet medium to full amount of flavor that the cigar exudes. As the Epoca burns past the halfway point, the sweet creaminess remains in the forefront with a nice amount of spice through the nose with a retrohale. The final third approached a hair over medium in body and introduced some nice cocoa flavor, along with more natural nutty and leather notes. The aroma continues to be fantastic, it smells of vanilla and some coconut. A very smooth and enjoyable mix of flavors. Definitely complex enough to keep you guessing, but completely enjoyable and approachable to someone who isn't super experienced.

Nat Sherman Epoca Perfectos


Overall Thoughts:

I thought the Nat Sherman Epoca was a fantastic cigar. If the companies aim was to manufacture a cigar with retro styling and milder "Cubanesque" flavor and body then they nailed it. I'm very interested to try some of the other sizes, particularly the smaller ring gauges, which may produce a little more strength. The Quesada's have been blending excellent medium body cigars for many years and recently with brands like the Espana and the Jalapa, they've shown they can create a milder cigar that's packed with nuance and interesting flavor. I usually reach for a milder cigar early on in the day, this Epoca would be a perfect cigar to enjoy with coffee in the morning. For fans of Nat Sherman cigars, or the Quesada Family's blending, this cigar is a must try. Also if you're looking for a mild to medium cigar with true characteristics of a Cuban, add this one to your short list.

Nat Sherman Epoca Perfectos

The Nat Sherman Epoca is Available Now - Click Here to Purchase

Keep your eye's peeled, we will be releasing many other new releases from the 2014 IPCPR for the next month or so, hopefully weekly. Subscribe to our emails here if you don't already and also check back to this blog for more news and reviews.

The Nat Sherman Epoca is Available Now - Click Here to Purchase


Currently rated 0 by 0 people

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La Flor Dominicana Factory Press Limitado Cigar Review
By J. Wood
1/16/2014 4:15:00 PM  

La Flor Dominicana Factory Press Limitado Cigar Review

Wrapper: Ecuadorian Sumatra

Binder: Nicaragua

Filler: Dominican Republic

Size: 6 ¼ x 60



La Flor Dominicana’s Factory Presses have been some of the most well-regarded cigars for quite some time. The Factory Press idea came to Litto Gomez as a way to show his customers how the factory pressing process worked. He ended up releases large boxes that were filled with box pressing trays to give his customers a closer look at how the sharp pressing on the cigars is achieved.


The first Factory Press was released in 2005, with subsequent releases almost each year. At the 2013 IPCPR Trade Show in Las Vegas, La Flor Dominicana showcased the release for 2013-2014, the Factory Press Limitado. This cigar is quite large, measuring in at 6 ¼ x 60.




While many, if not most, of the Factory Press releases were shipped in cases that contained individual pressing trays, this release is being sold in 12-count boxes, that are more like the individual trays.


This particular Factory Press is being characterized by LFD as the second release of the Factory Press Limitado, and does not have an accompanying Roman Numeral, like the other Factory Presses. The cigar’s band carries a simple F.P.L. to designate which cigar this is.


For this release, Litto Gomez sought out the darkest Ecuadorian Sumatran wrappers he could find. This specially aged wrapper is combined with Nicaraguan binders and Dominican long fillers.

Atlantic Cigar still has a decent amount of inventory on the LFD Factory Press Limitado. If you are interested, you can check it out here. This is a limited release, so once the cigars are sold, that's it.



Appearance:


The Factory Press Limitado carries a smooth wrapper that has a mottled dark brown color. The veins are hardly visible. For a cigar that is a “gordo” size, it feels very manageable due to the box-pressing. The cap is well applied. Overall, this is a very attractive looking cigar.


Tasting:


Before lighting the cigar, there are smells of mild and sweet tobacco accompanied by fruit rind and hard candy. The cold draw has flavors of hard candy, raisins and cedar.



1st Third:


There was a mild pepper spice at light, joined by flavors of cedar and an initial sweetness. The draw offered slight resistance, which produced good amounts of smoke. The cigar started medium-bodied. Flavors of apple peel lingered on the palate and was later joined by some woodiness, which developed into molasses and hickory.




2nd Third:


The smoke on the Factory Press Limitado is remarkably cool. The cigar stayed steady throughout the middle, with the hickory and molasses sticking around. Some citrus notes develop in the background. The hickory presented occasionally more as a cedar note. the smoke is remarkably cool, stiff ash, hickory and molasses stick around. The cigar remained medium-bodied. The ash was nice and stiff, hanging on for over an inch.


Final Third:


The spice returned in some measure at the end of the cigar, but instead of a peppery spice, it presented more along the lines of nutmeg and cinnamon. The sweetness hung around and was accompanied by licorice, sweet hicko
ry, molasses and some saltiness. The cigar stayed medium-bodied until the end, though the nicotine content was a bit sneaky.




Overall:


The La Flor Dominicana Factory Press Limitado was much sweeter and more medium-bodied than I expected considering a lot of other LFD releases. The sweetness was balanced nicely with some interesting fruit, wood and mild spice, so that it never became overwhelming. The box-pressing goes a long way to making the sheer size of the cigar much more manageable. The Factory Press releases have always been a favorite of mine and this cigar fits into that trend nicely.


Estimated smoking time: 1 and ½ to 2 hours


Atlantic Cigar still has a decent amount of inventory on the LFD Factory Press Limitado. If you are interested, you can check it out here. This is a limited release, so once the cigars are sold, that's it.

Currently rated 3.5 by 4 people

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Estella by Espinosa Cigar Review
By J. Wood
1/14/2014 2:29:00 PM  

Estella by Espinosa Cigar Review

Wrapper: Nicaragua

Binder: Nicaragua

Filler: Nicaragua

Size: Robusto Extra, 5 ½ x 52

Factory: La Zona, Esteli, Nicaragua




Erik Espinosa began working in the cigar industry in 1997. During the early 2000s, he teamed up with Eddie Ortega to create EO Brands, which produced Murcielago, 601, and Cubao cigars. In 2012, he went out on his own and opened up his La Zona factory, where he continues to make outstanding cigars using some of the best premium aged tobaccos, such as La Zona, La Jugada, and 601.


In 2013, the guys at Atlantic Cigar began working with Espinosa to develop a small-batch cigar that adhered to the quality and blending style that has made Espinosa such a star in the industry. The final result, which has now been released in early 2014, is Estella by Espinosa, a medium to full-bodied Nicaraguan puro.





The Estella by Espinosa is made at the La Zona factory in Esteli, Nicaragua. Estella is produced in small batches twice a year. It has been released in 3 sizes: a Robusto Extra, a Grand Toro and a Grand Corona. The cigar are available in 10-count boxes or 25-count bundles.


I tried the Robusto Extra for this review.

If you are interested in trying the Estella by Espinosa, you can check it out here.




Appearance:


The Estella by Espinosa has a slightly oily wrapper that has a medium brown color. The texture is consistent and silky with a slight grain and minimal veins. The cigar is finished with a triple seam cap and feels well-packed with only a slight give when squeezed. The Robusto Extra size is good for those looking for a slightly larger robusto, but still want to enjoy a thicker and shorter smoke.


Tasting:


The unlit cigar offers aromas of barnyard, leather and dried fruit. Once cut, the cigar’s cold draw has mild sweet tobacco flavors with caramel, raisins and cedar.





1st Third:


There was very little spice on the light, with woody flavors upfront. The spice built and provided flavors of cinnamon and pepper. There was a hickory aftertaste with layers of sweetness. The draw was easy and provided good amounts of smoke. The strength began around medium-bodied.