Cigar Review: EP Carrillo Encore

  • Encore_straightVitola: Majestic (Robusto)
  • 5.375” x 52 ring gauge 
  • $12.49
  • Purchased at Burns Tobacconist

Background

Ernesto Perez-Carrillo and company debuted the Encore line at the 2016 IPCPR show, but it didn’t end up shipping for nearly two years. Call it a testament to Perez-Carrillo’s dedication to releasing cigars when they are “right”…not when the accountants say to or according to some arbitrary release date. Basically he knew he was onto something with this cigar, but after showing it off at the trade show, he felt it could benefit from additional fermentation time on the wrapper.

The Encore is made entirely from Nicaraguan leaf, the wrapper containing tobaccos from Estelí, Condega and Jalapa; the binder is from Estelí; and the wrapper is from Jalapa. It is the second release in the “Perez-Carrillo Series,” a series of cigars, “created from generations’ worth of knowledge, poured into unique blends, and which culminate as the creations of Ernesto Perez-Carrillo himself.” The Encore is available in four different vitolas, each of which comes in 10-count boxes. Some information for this background came from a Cigar Aficionado article.

I have smoked a few samples of the Encore before firing up this review sample, which I purchased at Burns Tobacconist.

You can buy Encore at Leaf Enthusiast sponsors, Cigar and Pipes and Small Batch Cigar.

Encore_bandPrelight

Being as this is the second installment in the Perez-Carrillo Series, it’s worth noting that the first release in this series was La Historia, one of the highest-rated EPC sticks of all time. This blend’s bands are reminiscent of those on La Historia, though the color scheme is vastly different, to a point where it hardly looks the same. Here you have brown, bronze and gold. It’s also worth noting that to make the series consistent, La Historia boxes have been changed to a more upscale look that is close to what you see for Encore, as well.

The wrapper leaf of Encore is a medium brown peanut butter color with a smooth, slightly oily feel to it. It smelled of earth and cedar, with a touch of a floral aroma in the mix, too. The foot of the cigar was more earthy, with a slight bell pepper and wood note.

After clipping, the cold draw was excellent, tasting of roasted nuts, cedar, earth and sweet hay.

Flavor

The Encore came to life with tons of sweet hay and cedar notes, followed on closely by floral and earthy notes, along with a bit of pepper spice. The first few puffs were rich and complex in a way that befits the slightly elevated price tag…a price point that puts into nearly direct competition with the Padron 1964 Anniversary Series, really. It held up to that kind of standard very nicely in the early going, with flavors of roasted peanuts coming through on the palate and retrohale, and a ton of pepper making its presence known on the nose, as well. As the first third continued to burn along, I got sweet nuttiness, floral notes, and a little pepper, making for a very nice mix.

In the second third, floral notes grew more prominent and cedar moved way up in the mix. The sweetness continued just behind with a nice balancing pepper heat.

The Encore wrapped up with sweet natural tobacco, cedar, and floral flavors, along with just the right amount of pepper spice.

Encore_band2Construction

I had a great draw, very even burn line and solid ash.

Value

The experience is great and the price tag is just slightly into the “premium” category. I would pay full price for this one.

Encore_boxConclusions

The Encore is probably the best thing I’ve ever had with an EP Carrillo label on it. As for blends from the man, the only thing I can remember rating higher was the Four Kicks that he made for Crowned Heads. This is simply a fantastic cigar with a great flavor profile. It hits almost all the right buttons on my palate and I think it is better than the Padron 1964 Natural that I mentioned earlier. Yeah…I went there.

By-The-Numbers

Prelight: 2/2
Construction: 2/2
Flavor: 4.5/5
Value: 1/1
Total: 9.5/10

David Jones

David has been smoking premium cigars since 2001. He is co-founder and editor-in-chief of Leaf Enthusiast. He is a full-time retail tobacconist, working for Burns Tobacconist in Chattanooga, where he has also organized the Chattanooga Tweet-Up for the last four years. He is also an independent graphic designer and typesetter. Twitter: @dmjones1009

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