If you haven’t met him, Ernesto Carrillo is one of our industry’s biggest assets. Hardworking and innovative, Ernesto is a true tobacco man whose cigar and blending knowledge ranks easily side by side with anyone who’s every walked this planet. Additionally, he’s a genuinely great guy who’s building his eponymous family business and brand alongside his son and daughter. In short, this is a company with all the right values, building slowly and steadily, and making some killer handmades along the way.
I often hear people throwing around the term ‘sleeper’ cigars, which basically means a great cigar that hasn’t achieved widespread recognition, or the recognition that it deserves. It’s not fair, but there are plenty of them out there. Great blends that go basically unnoticed. In time, I’d love to plug them all, but let’s just start with the best. The quintessential sleeper cigar, E.P. Carrillo Cardinal Series Maduro. Easily one of my favorites, and in my opinion, among the best on the market today. But sadly, very few others have even tried it. It’s basically just me, the 4 other dudes who posted glowing reviews on our site, and a handful of others. And that’s a damn shame.
E.P. Carrillo Cardinal Series Maduro starts off with a toothy Connecticut Broadleaf maduro wrapper that’s naturally fermented to a perfectly dark hue. Inside, the blend is finished with a Nicaraguan binder and Nicaraguan and Dominican long-fillers. Together, it’s a perfect storm of flavor and balance. I love everything about this cigar, from its rustic appearance and perfect draw to its amazing flavors and brilliant aroma. This stick is an absolute flavor bomb with hearty notes of cream, earth, spice, wood, and sweet cocoa notes. It’s bold, but at the same time silky smooth. Decadent is the word…like a rich dessert. It just hits it all perfectly – flavor, balance, richness, power, complexity…and on and on. If you like maduro cigars, you’ll love EP Carrillo Cardinal Maduro. And all told, it’s fairly affordable too.