E.P. Carrillo 5 Year Anniversary | Cigar Review

Wrapper: Ecuadorian Sumatra
Binder: Ecuadorian Corojo ’99
Filler: Nicaragua (Estelí, Condega & Jalapa)
Size: 6.5 x 54 “Toro”
Body: Full
Price: $8.50 MSRP


Today we take a look at the brand new E.P. Carrillo 5 Year Anniversary. It only comes in the Toro size and in boxes of 10. It was released in August of this year.

Only 3000 boxes were released. This has been called the strongest cigar to come from the Carrillo factory.

The cigar isn’t quite jam packed. There are a couple of small soft spots near the foot.

Halle-fucking-leujah! I woke up early to a very sunny morning here in the heartland. Clear! Once more nurse…Clear!

The stick is rustic in that is multi colored with all shades of brown possible. Lots of veins. Some very large. Invisible seams. And a near perfect triple cap. There is a nice oiliness on the wrapper. And it feels very toothy.

I clip the cap and find aromas of dark chocolate, spice, wood, barnyard, and floral notes.
Time to light up.

First puffs fill the room with billows of smoke. And instantaneously, my plate is assaulted by a huge wallop of red pepper ala Garcia type. Off to a good start.

Other flavors follow: chocolate, espresso, a very woody profile, and lots of earthiness and sweetness.

I lost interest in Carrillo when either he got lazy or had other things on his plate. I can’t stand the Inch project. Carrillo’s version of the Nub. And it only seems he has released four of five blends in his 5 years on his own. Not exactly prolific.

Right of the bat, the cigar tries to canoe. I torch a large portion of the foot to stop it. I smoked two prior to review and there were no canoe issues. Go figure. This is why I try to get it through some sponsor’s heads that I need several cigars in order to give the cigar a fair chance.

Neither of the first two were ready for review. I’ve had the sticks a couple weeks or so. Maybe a bit longer.
I let them dry box for 72 hours just because of their sheer size. Big ‘uns. A cigar this size can take forever to age especially if it is blended old school size which Carrillo teeters on that fence.

Meanwhile, back at the ranch, the cigar is turning out to be very flavorful. The spiciness is still slamming home runs Sammy Sosa style with the juice.

I can remember four or five years ago when Carrillo cigars were the cat’s pajamas. Everyone wanted them…not mostly…people just bitch about them. Carrillo, if he wants to stay in the game needs to get current.

The burn issues continue to plague the cigar and is beginning to piss me off. The man chooses this blend to celebrate his 5 years of being on his own and the fucking stick ain’t worth a damn every third cigar. I have to give him his props on the price point though. I believe his sticks, early on, were more expensive than his 5 Anniversary is.

I quickly check a couple of A List reviews to see if they had construction issues. And lo and behold; there are some bitches about the burn line but seems to straighten itself out by the halfway point. Which probably, at this rate, takes 7 minutes. I’m a firm believer that constantly torching the cigar to stop the forward progress of a canoe affects the flavor. It burns it. So to speak.

With 1-1/2” burned, the E.P. Carrillo 5 Year Anniversary becomes a flavor bomb.

Here are the flavors: Spice, creaminess, cocoa, coffee, wood, earthiness, sweetness, and some leather.

Pretty much the standard these days. You just cannot have a good cigar without those 8 flavors.

The strength starts out medium bodied but quickly assumes the mantle of medium/full now.

For an Anniversary cigar, I expected more. This blend is supposed to hail the chief in his exploits of being able to stay in business that long. And instead, we get an everyday good premium.

After 2” burned, the E.P. Carrillo 5 Year Anniversary finds its stride. The char line is dead nuts. The cigar is doing its job nicely. The flavors exude potency and character.

At nearly the start of the second third, the cigar is all right.

But I offer this once again….for a celebratory cigar, it falls short of excellence. If this were a blind taste test, I’d say this is a $7 cigar…at the most. Maybe more humidor time will fix that perception.

I would like to thank my benefactor for gifting me these cigars but the gentleman has asked to not be called out and prefers his anonymous status. A mensch.

The coffee and cocoa and creaminess call for an egg cream experience so I grab my Diet Coke. I’ve only been to a Starbucks a handful times in my life and my favorite drink is the sugar free iced coffee. They make a dandy coffee blend without all that foo foo shit in it. Charlotte is a caramel macchiato person. But since I hate going to the mall, this happens maybe once a year.

Back to the cigar at hand. As I pass the second third mark, the E.P. Carrillo 5 Year Anniversary becomes an easy going blend. Nice flavors. But no wood.

The char line continues without any trouble. Still, it shouldn’t have happened at all.

I believe that the E.P. Carrillo 5 Year Anniversary pretty much serves up the status of Carrillo’s cigar making career. Nothing special. Nice, but no cigar…pardon the pun.

The flavor profile seems to be stagnating now. No changes. It even slumps on the flavor bomb status. It reverts to the flavor profile just before I announced that it had made the grade.

Shit. $8.50 a stick. Ha.

I fully expect the last third to explode with flavor. I hope. This must be another example of old school blending at its best. 3 weeks is insufficient. But then the A List reviewers certainly did not go overboard in describing this blend.

While I don’t go along with giving a cigar a numbered rating, Halfwheel gives the cigar an 85. That is not what I call a rave review. So it’s not just me. It is a lame cigar. Not worthy of the Anniversary title or the price point.

I am at the halfway point. I remove the secondary band. Too much glue. It’s a struggle.

Damn. I read some of the A List reviews. It amazes me how they manage to get so much gobbledy-gook into a paragraph. Meandering.

Of course, I shouldn’t point the finger the way I write. They basically stretch out what could have been said in three sentences into three long paragraphs. Maybe it’s my age…but I cannot stand to read reviews where there are no breaks between sentences. To me, it looks like on run on sentence. It hypnotizes me and makes me sleepy. These guys might be cigar aficionados but clearly they did not do well in their English classes at school. But then I was a writer long before I was a reviewer. See, I can pat myself on the back.

A major touch up of the char line is required. This is more and more becoming a Torano cigar. I can’t stand their cigars. They are the kings of the $6 cigar. And the E.P. Carrillo 5 Year Anniversary would fit in nicely.
This blend would be serviced better in a smaller size. A double corona would be nice. (5.75 x 48)

I refuse to touch up the char line anymore. The photos will tell the truth. If I had any balls, I’d send this review to the Carrillo folks. But by now, I’m sure they are realizing that the experienced smoker has not opened his arms and welcomed this blend.

I’ve got 2-3/4” to go. The strength is a solid medium/full now. The flavors are gently trying to push through the mess and have ½” to go before I call this cigar a total disaster.

Thanks to a few generous folks that are my readers and friends, I have been blessed with a lot of cigars. Of course, to me..anything over 40 cigars in my humidor is a lot of cigars. If I had just grabbed this to smoke and all these negative experiences had happened, I would have tossed the stick by the halfway point.

But the Reviewer’s Union declares I must finish a review..no matter what. Or I will be punished by being forced to smoke nothing but Gurkha the rest of my life.

So I push on…

The last third begins with a blah start.

And then the Holy Grail smiles down from up high near the Cosmic Muffin. Flavors begin to form. One by one, they make a comeback. Just as I predicted. But too little, too late.

The cigar never becomes complex. The balance of flavors is mediocre. And no long finish on the horizon.

A sour element is very strong.

Do I really need to go on? I don’t rate cigars with numbers. But I know a dog turd when I smoke one.
Don’t bother. Don’t waste your money. And you, Senor Carrillo, get a grip.

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3 replies

  1. I feel Carrillo is in a real rut! It seems like all his cigars are just a rehash of his old stock. Or he has just gotten full of himself and just doesn’t take enough interest in what he’s doing.

  2. Word on the street is that EPC is being bought by General Cigar – you have ESP, Katmensch! General just bought Torano, and is apparently on an expansion/acquisition campaign.

  3. I think general cigar is on a mission to corner the market and be responsible for controlling cigar prices.