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Cigar Review: E.P. Carrillo Selección Oscuro Especial No. 6

3 Jul 2017

In March 2009, Ernesto Perez-Carrillo ended his nine-year tenure with General Cigar to establish his own family-owned boutique. He wasted no time in that endeavor. With a factory in Santiago and a work-in-progress website, the EPC Cigar Co. was up and running in time to debut its first blend at the IPCPR Trade Show that August.

Few in the industry doubted he would be successful in his new venture. That Perez-Carrillo has done well on his own over the past eight years is no surprise to anyone. One industry insider described him to as the tobacco world’s “mad genius.” And Alan Rubin of Alec Bradley calls him “the original rebel.”

Say what you will about Cigar Aficionado and its annual Top 25 list, but it must have been incredibly gratifying for Carrillo to see his Selección Oscuro Piramides Royal (6 x 52) capture the number four spot in 2016. I’m sure the publicity didn’t hurt sales, either.

In addition to Piramides Royal, there are three other vitolas in the line: Robusto Gordo (5 x 54), Small Churchill (5.5 x 50), and Especial No. 6 (6 x 52). All are made at the Tabacalera La Alianza factory in the Dominican Republic with a Mexican San Andrés wrapper, an Ecuadorian binder, and loosely packed filler tobaccos from Nicaragua.

I recently picked up a 5-pack in the Especial No. 6 size for $41.50, which comes to $8.30 per cigar. Out of the cellophane, this cigar oozes pungent pre-light notes of cocoa and dried fruit, especially at the foot. The exterior is toothy and oily with only a few noticeable veins across its lumpy, rustic surface. The ornate, regal band of red, gold, and black is a nice improvement upon the design from the 2015 launch (you can see an example of the old band here; some of these are likely still on the market).

At the outset, the Especial No. 6 exhibits dry wood, black pepper spice, cayenne heat, and plenty of Nicaraguan zing. It’s full-bodied and zesty with a leathery texture from the get-go. Then, after about half an inch, the profile mellows considerably—now it’s decidedly medium-bodied—and the flavor transitions to milk chocolate, cherry, raisin, marshmallow, and coffee. This is how the cigar remains until the end, with no increase in intensity at the finale.

Across the five samples I smoked for this review, four had near-perfect burn lines and one required a touch-up or two along the way to stay even. All had smooth draws and abundant smoke production. The resting smoke has loads of mouth-watering sweetness.

The Selección Oscuro Especial No. 6 is a solid addition to the impressive E.P. Carrillo portfolio. Aside from the first half-inch, this toro boasts less strength than you might expect and instead rewards you with balance, subtlety, cool smoke, and a delightful interplay between gentle spice and sweetness. For that, it earns four stogies out of five.

[To read more cigar reviews, please click here.]

Patrick A

photo credit: Stogie Guys

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