27 Mar 2017
In March 2009, Ernesto Perez-Carrillo ended his nine-year tenure with General Cigar. The move effectively made the Artesanos de Miami his last blend with La Gloria Cubana, the brand he built from relative obscurity to industry prominence.
Perez-Carrillo parted ways with General 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 is no surprise to anyone. One industry insider described him to StogieGuys.com as the tobacco world’s “mad genius.” Alan Rubin of Alec Bradley is said to have bestowed Perez-Carrillo with another fitting title: “the original rebel.”
Perez-Carrillo evidently appreciated the compliment. Last summer, he debuted a new blend called Original Rebel Maverick (as well as a Broadleaf maduro-wrapped companion line called Original Rebel Rebellious). It sports a pigtail cap, a closed foot, and an oily, clean, medium-brown Ecuadorian wrapper around Nicaraguan binder and filler tobaccos. Three Maverick sizes are available. I recently sampled several in the “52” format (5.5 x 52), a robusto extra that retails for about $9.
Once lit, pre-light notes of sweet hay and dried fruit transition into a toasty introductory profile of oak, butter, and dry cedar spice. Intermittently, those flavors are accented by a delicious taste that I can only describe as a combination of salted caramel and sweet cream. The effect is one of balance and complexity. I find few changes in flavor or strength from light to nub. At times, notes of leather and some black pepper spice waft in and out, but that’s about it. I don’t consider the consistency in taste a defect, mind you, since the billowy, medium-bodied smoke is satisfying and harmonious.
As for construction, the draw is virtually effortless throughout, and the smoke production is above average—a welcome trait since the resting smoke is sweet and aromatic. The ash holds well off the foot. The burn is imperfect though not troublesome; a torch touch-up is necessary here and there to keep the burn line even.
If the E.P. Carrillo Original Rebel Maverick blend has thus far flown under your radar, I would suggest springing for a single to take it for a test drive. Don’t be surprised if you find yourself buying a box of ten shortly thereafter. In my book, this fine cigar is worthy of an admirable rating of four stogies out of five.
[To read more StogieGuys.com cigar reviews, please click here.]
photo credit: Stogie Guys