Today we take a look at the Epicurean Carnavale Petite Corona.
The cigar was released in September, 2014. And is just hitting stores now.
This is an extremely limited production cigar with only 1000 boxes being released.
From the Epicurean Cigars web site:
“Epicurean Cigars was created under the careful eye of Steven Ysidron with its focus on handcrafted small batch salon cigars. Steven started making cigars in the late 1980’s with his father and the Fuente family in the Dominican Republic. His passion for the long forgotten art of making hand-rolled cigars stems from four generations of his Cuban cigar making heritage that has been reborn in the Epicurean brand.
“Steven knows what it takes to blend and create a premium cigar and proudly offers 3 distinct boutique blends culminating his 24 years of industry experience: ” AG” Armando Guiterrez Vintage 2007, named after his Cuban grandfather who inspired the brand, Gonzo Vintage 2007 and AG Azul 2008 Vintage. Only 700 boxes are produced per size per vintage.
“All tobaccos have been aged for 4 years after rolled to blend and marinate to perfection. Steven believes you cannot rush true quality and that this process is the only way to successfully deliver the very best in tobacco flavor.”
Carnavale is produced at Plasencia Cigars S.A. in Esteli, Nicaragua and is distributed by House of Emilio.
The Carnavale has a nice box press. Military corners on the bottom and sloppy Gomer Pyle corners on top. The wrapper is an oily beautiful mottled dark coffee bean color. Seams are visible but tight. Lots of small veins on the back of the cigar. The triple cap is nicely done. The wrapper is smooth in some places and very toothy in others.
To top it off, the festive cigar band certainly brings the smoker to Carnavale.
I clip the cap and find aromas of earthiness, spice, coffee, cocoa, dried fruit, wood, and a dash of pumpkin spice. Sniffing the foot vigorously makes me sneeze three times in quick succession.
And yes, I will try to convey an “honest” review as requested by a certain online store that had thoughts of working with me. Since I’ve been lying to you this whole time, it will be rough, but I will do anything possible to write an honest review for these folks. This will be tough.
Time to light up.
Right behind the dark chocolate comes a rich earthiness and notes of wood. The burn starts off wavy but no touch ups needed quite yet.
About ¼” in, my palate gets slammed by a combo of both black and red pepper. I love my spicy meat-a-ball.
Just like being in line for a Beyoncé concert, the next flavor exposes itself: A lovely, but subtle, sweetness. Next in line is another combination: Toffee and caramel at once. I can taste the milk and I can taste the sugar.
Stepping up to the plate is a carafe of creaminess.
The strength is classic medium body.
Lots of smoke pours from the tiny foot.
Here are the flavors of the Epicurean Carnavale Petite Corona: Chocolate, creaminess, spice, sweetness, dried fruit, caramel (It makes its choice), strong coffee, cinnamon, wood, a dash of leather, and a lush, rich earthiness.
The stick is burning very slowly. You spend $10 on a cigar and you don’t want it to be done and over within 30-40 minutes.
I’ve burned 1-1/2”. While the flavors are very good, so far it is not flavor bomb material.
Point of argument. Mediocre and old school blends need a ton of humidor time. Beautifully blended cigars go through a fresh rolled stage after removing them from the cello or packaging. For several days, you get a glimpse of what a couple months of humidor time will bring. I’ve been lucky to nab that fresh rolled glutton of flavors with these boutique cigars; for the most part. And generally speaking, they don’t need more than 4-5 weeks to become the blender’s intent.
I will generally buy a couple boutique cigars so I can test the first one out to be sure it’s ready and if so, I know I can review it. If not ready, plopped back into the humidor for a month. Plus, I can’t afford more than two at a time singles of most boutique blends.
Bam! Flavor explosion. Like turning a light switch on. The Bold and the Beautiful.
Now we’re talking. Every flavor has come forth and is shoving with their elbows to get to the head of the line. Absolutely delicious cigar.
This ain’t no $6.00 cigar.
I’m sure with four weeks on it, this would have happened in the first 1/8”.
Smoke is taking all the air space in the room and I turn the fan on high to push it outdoors.
The Epicurean Carnavale Petite Corona is so flavorful that I don’t know where to begin on describing what is occurring.
The sweetness which contains dried fruit, caramel, chocolate, sweet tea, and the fancy Medjool dates are astounding.
The creaminess is outstanding. The wood and leather are potent and nuanced around the edges. That made sense in my head when I wrote it. But that’s what is exciting about tasting a great new cigar for the first time. It’s all too much. One struggles to take it all in. It is overwhelming. What better cigar experience could you ask for?
The Epicurean Carnavale Petite Corona keeps on chooglin’. The balance is terrific. The long and chewy finish is wonderful.
The price point.
The four sizes (5.5 x 48, 6 x 52, 7 x 38, and 5 x 56) run from $10-$11 each at box price. Are they worth it? Not really. It is a superb cigar but I would be happier if they were in the proper price range of around $8.00.
Strength is still at medium body.
I’ve reviewed so many cigars that are just as good as the Epicurean Carnavale Petite Corona in the $7-$8 range. Trust me, I understand that some boutique brands have larger costs than the bigger boutique brands. So it gives me a choice. If I think a cigar is worth $15, really worth it, I might purchase it. But like most of you, I’m looking for a cigar I can afford; or at least buy a 5 pack. And this cigar is 99.9% available through B & M’s only. So who knows what this cigar costs from state to state? Taxes are a bitch.
The Epicurean Carnavale Petite Corona has settled down a bit. It is more complex but the potent, bold flavors are subdued now. The spiciness has moved to the middle of the list. Leather, wood, creaminess, and chocolate are the primary flavors now. Sort of like chewing on a good leather belt dunked in a chocolate fondue pot.
And as is usually the course, while I am typing the above paragraph, the red pepper comes back with both barrels blasting.
A bit of salty pretzel enters. Sweet tea becomes more pungent. It could use a sprig of mint.
Our first snow has appeared overnight. But it is sunny outside. And my second bout of the flu seems to have dissipated overnight as well. I feel much better. Milwaukee got slammed with the flu this season. Everyone we know is sick. And they all got flu shots.
The Epicurean Carnavale Petite Corona is a very nice treat. But I really doubt I will be buying another.
I check the list of retailers on the Epicurean Cigars web site. They are placed in a lot of stores. And there is a B & M in my neck of the woods that carries them. Considering what a desert isle Milwaukee is for good cigar stores, this surprises me.
The last third begins.
I’ve now invested over 40 minutes in smoke time.
I’ve reviewed the other Epicurean cigars: Epicurean Armando Gutierrez “Azul” Vintage 2008, Epicurean AG Armando Gutierrez Vintage 2007, and Epicurean Gonzo Vintage 2007. I liked the second and third blends but not so much for the Epicurean Armando Gutierrez “Azul” Vintage 2008. All three were in the $9.25 range. And I think I bitched about the pricing on those as well.
The flavors are very subdued now. The boldness is gone. Same thing happened with the Epicurean Armando Gutierrez “Azul” Vintage 2008. It was terrific until just past the halfway point and then it pooped out.
Epicurean Cigars has 6 blends. I’ve now smoked four of them. The only ones I haven’t smoked are the Gonzo Santeria and the Santeria Mojo.
If the price doesn’t bother you, I recommend trying any of the 6 blends. If you can find a B & M on the Epicurean Retailer’s Map, you should buy a sampler.
Nicotine enters with less than 1-1/2” to go.
The strength is medium/full now.
And the flavors have floundered. They are still pleasant; just not exciting any longer.
The Epicurean Carnavale Petite Corona finishes a little hot. But not bitter.
This is the second day I’ve used my new lighting set up. It helps quite a bit but what I really need is a new camera. I am counting the days til my birthday when I buy a good camera and then the lighting set up will really kick into motion.
Categories: CIGAR REVIEWS