El Primer Mundo Epifania | Cigar Review

Wrapper: Ecuadorian
Binder: Nicaraguan
Filler: Dominican, Nicaraguan
Size: 6 x 52 “Toro”
Body: Medium/Full
Price: $9.20 MSRP

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Today we take a look at an oldie but goodie: El Primer Mundo Epifania
I got a killer deal on a 5 pack sampler from CI in their Clearance section. More on that later.

BACKGROUND:
From the El Primer Mundo web site:
“Originally rolled in Little Havana this cigar delivers a full body profile. With a beautiful Ecuadorian wrapper the Epifania is balanced with a terrific blend of tobaccos from Nicaragua and the Dominican Republic. The Epifania offers nice spice, subtle notes of caramel, and rich complexity.

“Started purely as a passion project by Founder and President Sean Williams in 2006, El Primer Mundo Cigars has become one of the premium cigar market’s classic small-batch boutique brands. With lauded lines such as; La Hermandad, Epifania, Liga Miami, and EPM Black Label, El Primer Mundo has consistently garnered strong ratings and reviews ranking amongst the top cigars on the market. EPM’s line of cigars are sold to brick & mortar retailers throughout the country.”
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EPM came out with their Little Havana Series a few years ago. This is the second release in 2011. The first release was Liga Miami released in 2010.
Initially, EPM used El Titan de Bronze to produce their cigars. Starting in 2013, they signed a contract with PDR cigars to produce and distribute their cigars.
And of course, as of late, Sean Williams has teamed up with Eddie Ortega on Ortega’s project: Larceny. (Reviewed here).

DESCRIPTION:
The El Primer Mundo Epifania is a rock solid cigar. An oily russet brown color with a hint of reddish hue. Seams are invisible and veins are minimal. The wrapper is smooth as silk.
The cigar has a double band with silver and black (Raider’s colors) on top of a dark purple background.
The secondary cigar band is black lettering on top of a silver band. Epifania means “Epiphany.” Something that rarely happens to me.
The cigar is rolled the Cuban Entubado style.

SIZES AND PRICING:
Presidente 6.5 x 52 $9.60
Robusto 5 x 50 $8.30
Toro 6 x 54 $9.20

Primer Mundo Toro Taster Sampler $14.99 at CI. Or $3.00 per cigar including:
1 – Primer Mundo Red Label (6” x 52)
1 – Primer Mundo Blue Label (6” x 52)
1 – Primer Mundo Black Label (6” x 52)
1 – Primer Mundo La Hermandad (6” x 52)
1 – Primer Mundo Epifania (6” x 54)

AROMAS AND COLD DRAW NOTES:
The shaft smells of sweet elements, floral notes, cedar, spice, and lemon citrus.
The clipped cap and foot smell of all the above plus a deep and rich earthiness.
The cold draw says “Ditto.”

FIRST THIRD:
It is raining so hard here this morning that it looks like midnight outside. I hope it is OK where you are.
First notes are sweet, woody, and full of spice. The draw is tad bit tight. There seems to be a small plug near the cap. Out comes the cigar awl.
It proves to be a lot bigger plug than I thought as I used a lot of strength to rotate the awl nearly down to the foot. A lot of resistance but no cracking of the wrapper as far as I can tell.
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Creaminess and caramel are up next. Big dollops of it. A nice surprise is up next: Floral notes and orange citrus. Sweet and tart, but not bitter.

I must be honest; I haven’t smoked a lot of EPM cigars. And the reason I am smoking this one is due to the 5 pack sampler I bought from CI.

The El Primer Mundo Epifania is turning into a very nice cigar indeed.
The draw is still a bit tight but much better than before surgery with my cigar awl, construction is good, and the char line is gravy. It smokes exceedingly slow.
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The cream has a slightly sour buttermilk element now. I never could understand why people drink that stuff. I watched my father pouring a glass for himself when I was a little guy. I saw glops of something pouring out with the milky liquid. No thanks. I don’t drink milk products that already come with phlegm in the carton. I tried it in my early 20’s at the weekly Friday night weed, dinner, weed, dessert, weed, listen to records, and weed party with all of my friends. I remember licking a Brillo pad to get the taste of the buttermilk out.

Another nice surprise: Milk chocolate.
Strength is solid medium body.

The ash has the look of being welded in place. Or at least brazed.
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I’m digging this cigar because of the constant transitions. Lots of flavors but no complexity yet. Balance is not where I want it yet but it does have a long finish derived from the sweet components of the flavor profile.

I probably should have passed on reviewing a cigar today. Because my photos are so integral to what I do, I feel bad that I can’t get what I want to present. One main issue is that the double cigar bands are highly reflective to my lighting set up so I have to ricochet the light which darkens the cigar’s look but allows you to see as much of the cigar bands as possible.

Whew. There was a bunch of horse shit you could have lived without knowing.

Here they are: Creaminess, spice, caramel, wood, orange citrus, sweetness, chocolate, buttermilk, and floral notes.
This is an extremely long first third. The cigar is so packed, I expect it to be a two hour smoke so I will be back soon.

SECOND THIRD:
Once again, I must state how much I like the El Primer Mundo Epifania.
This whole EPM line must be very popular. Lots of out of stock comments on the sale pages. Plus I check Cbid and they only have three blends and are going cheap. But, alas, not the El Primer Mundo Epifania. Maybe one day it will return as a Daily Deal.
6third

From what I read, Williams only puts out a finite amount of boxes out each year. The number varies.
The earthiness of the tobacco shines. More flavors are added as I do believe I’ve hit Sweet Spot 1.0: Cinnamon graham cracker, vanilla, black walnuts, and maple syrup. Now we’re talkin’.

The draw is perfect. The char line is dead nuts. The El Primer Mundo Epifania finds its complexity. The balance is spot on and the finish is long and chewy.

I’m gulping sips of water like a mad man. Each sip washes those wonderful flavors across my palate and they just explode with joy.

I can’t believe I haven’t smoked this cigar before today. I mean, for chrissakes, it’s been out for almost 4 years. Where was I?
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The El Primer Mundo Epifania has an extraordinary amount of sweet factors. And then a savory note appears. Something nice and meaty. Like me.

I can taste hickory and meat on a spit along with some mesquite BBQ sauce. Now I’m hungry.

One thing you have to understand. This is the first cigar of the day and hence; nothing in the way of a fresh palate. Not even a bowl of cereal shall pass these lips. Only water. That’s why I taste so many flavors that other reviewers may not taste. That, and the fact I’ve been smoking cigars longer than 99% of the reviewers have been alive.

The big guys put out reviews and news like crazy men all day long. That would drive me nuts. I enjoy my single review but that’s it. No more. I’m done. Stick a fork in me. If I reviewed this cigar after a day of cigar smoking, I wouldn’t taste 75% of what I taste first thing in the morning. My detractors don’t get it. Plus they don’t have highly developed palates like I do. I’m not patting myself on the back; just stating the facts. Name another reviewer you read that isn’t half my age.
Uh oh. During my doctoral dissertation, the char line goes way off point and needs a major tune up.

HALFWAY POINT:
Strength makes a quantum leap to medium/full+. Yow. Like a light switch being flipped.
Complexity is extremely rich and deep now. The flavor profile hasn’t a single straggler: Creaminess, spice, caramel, chocolate, orange citrus, cinnamon graham cracker, maple syrup, savory notes, floral notes, walnuts, and buttermilk. Whew. Now that’s a kitchen sink list.
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I’d love to get a box but not at the retail price. More on that later.

A new flavor has emerged: Yeasty, fresh, French bread.

The El Primer Mundo Epifania is an amazing cigar. Much better than Williams’ Larceny.

I still have 2 of the 5 pack sampler left for review. I smoked the mild bodied Blue Label because I knew I wouldn’t enjoy reviewing. I was right. Not my style. But I still have the Black and Red Labels. I’ve already reviewed the marvelous Primer Mundo La Hermandad back in March of 2014. I’m down to just a few cigars left to review and then it’s Hiatus Time.

We have reached Sweet Spot 2.0.
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I didn’t do a review yesterday because I was ill. Something is off kilter with my sense of balance. Either it’s an inner ear thing or a brain tumor. I’m also very dizzy. Went back to using my cane to get around. (It’s not a “Too-Muh.” Arnold from “Kindergarten Cop.) I’m trying to get into the doctor but I’m waiting for a call back. I don’t want to go to the ER because they will drain my wallet dry.
I’m still pretty goofed out. I’m surprised I can make sentences.

The El Primer Mundo Epifania is marvelous. I wish I had more. But the 5 pack is too good to be true. Fingers crossed that I really like the Red and Black blends. If I do, I just might buy a bunch of those samplers. I will give the Blue label to my mooch son-in-law to be.

Except for that one panicky burn issue, the construction has been perfect.
So has the flavor profile. The spiciness has not retreated this whole time. It has maintained an even keel the whole time.
The sun has come out. Huzzah! But still raining.
Smoke time has been over 90 minutes.

LAST THIRD:
The El Primer Mundo Epifania moves to full body and brings with it some nicotine.
The El Primer Mundo Epifania is a first rate cigar experience.
Flavors never waver or dissipate. A swig of water and they are emboldened.
The nicotine is minimal.
10third

As I close in on the end of the cigar, smoke time has been 2 hours. And not a boring moment.
Doctor’s office just called back and they will squeeze me in tomorrow morning.
I always bring a 5 pack of cigars when I visit Dr. Seno. He is a couple years older than me but a big robust man with a killer sense of humor. And he loves cigars. So now I have to find 5 cigars worthy of gifting.
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No harshness. Cool. And no bitterness.
My suggestion is to keep an eye on Cbid where I’m sure you can snag these cigars for at least half the retail price.

PRICE POINT:
These aren’t cheap cigars. But compared to most boutique brands/blends, it is worth it. I take the Primer Mundo La Hermandad over the $15 La Aroma de Cuba Noblesse anytime. And I’m a big Pepin Garcia fan.
The Primer Mundo La Hermandad definitely makes the grade for going into “The Katman’s Best 174 Boutique Brands/Blends in the $6-$9.50+ Range.” I need to update the list. Even I use the list when my cigar budget rolls around each month. This list and “The Katman’s List of 135 Great Cigars in the $5.00-$6.50 Range.” More updates needed there as well.

SUMMATION:
I love this cigar. I highly recommend it. The experienced palate will taste everything I tasted.
Not so much for newbies because of the strength.
Sean Williams did a superb job of masterfully blending the El Primer Mundo Epifania. And shame on me for not trying it before now.
Snag the Primer Mundo Toro Taster Sampler. You can’t go wrong and you get to choose your favorite. I will be reviewing the Black and Red Labels this week.
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And now for something completely different:
This is a story I’ve published before but not for a very long time.
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Hall of Fame drummer, Hal Blaine, was not only a mentor during my recording studio ownership days, but more like my favorite uncle. He was going through his third divorce and forced (strange adjective) to live on his yacht docked in Marina Del Rey, CA.

He liked to throw lunches and brunches for a few folks. And they were always catered. I met some real giants of the music industry this way. Everyone knew Hal and everyone hired him to play drums. This man has a list of gold records a mile high.

On this day, he planned the soirée around me. He invited my heroes from the days of the L.A. Wrecking Crew’s most prolific era. Bassist, Carol Kaye. Keyboard player, Larry Knechtel (who went on to be a permanent player in the group “Bread.” But I never held that against him). And bassist, Joe Osborn.
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Notice that Joe is playing a Lakland 4 string bass. I never learned to play a 5 string. I remember the lesson I learned when I went from a short scale bass (Gibson EB-O) to a long scale bass (Fender Precision). I have small hands and learning how to play a completely new bass in the middle of touring and recording was downright stupid.

So adding a 5 or 6 string bass to my collection made no sense. I did just fine with a 4 string. By the way, the 5th string is the deepest string above the E string. It is a B string allowing you to play certain deeper notes that a 4 string won’t allow. I spent 20 years playing an electric upright..4 string…and I had all the deep notes I could hope for. It wasn’t unusual for a bar manager to ask me to turn down. Once, I shook the bar so hard that the sprayed on ceiling was flaking and falling pieces were floating into peoples’ drinks.
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I would sit for hours, as a teen, listening to my records and reading the album covers. I would be mesmerized by Simon and Garfunkel, Beach Boys, Mamas & Papas, and dozens more records that this group of fine musicians played on. It was a known fact that Hal played on a few Beatles songs but I could never pry which ones out of him.

If you look at Ringo’s early set of drums and it is an exact copy of Hal’s early drums. Ringo wasn’t so dumb.

As the 5 of us sat on the deck of Hals’ yacht, munching away and drinking Bloody Marys, more people came to join the small party.

It turned out that Neil Diamond was a very good friend of Hal’s. And there he was, towering above me. (I would meet Diamond one more time.) Hal introduced me as, “This is Phil Kohn. One of the best bassists I’ve ever played with.”

I was stunned. Yeah, I was a good player but the accolade seemed undeserved; yet very kind. Diamond’s eyes widened and shook my hand vigorously. And then Hal told him he should consider me for his next album. I was shitting my pants. Diamond, who took Hal seriously, nodded.

Hal got me all kinds of session gigs in Hollywood. I knew how to read music back then. I’ve since forgotten how since playing in blues bands doesn’t require it.
Hal and me at my recording studio:

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All the sessions Hal got me were big corporate TV commercial sound tracks. It was very simple and of course, the tune was never long than a couple minutes. It allowed the editors to use any part of it for a 10, 30, or 60 second commercial. It paid well. Although, I got scale. Hal made a fortune as he was always asked for. Hal insisted that I played bass. The powers that be listened to Hal. What a pal!
I was beginning to make a name for myself in that world when the Eddie Munster project collapsed under my feet and the next thing I knew was that I was homeless.

We didn’t have cell phones back in 1983, just pagers and an answering service. I continued to get some calls but I was broke and driving from my home in Long Beach to Hollywood sometimes was a problem because of gas.

You see, your check for playing a session didn’t come right away. On average it took 1-3 months. It had to go through the Musician’s Union first where they took their blood money; and then they cut you a check. And sent it to you when they felt like it; or so it seemed.

Hal’s circle of friends was mostly Jewish musicians. But on this day, of the 6 of us, there was only Hal, me and Diamond who were members of the Tribe.

Hal is old school Jewish. Not orthodox, but liked to go to temple and always celebrated the holidays. This particular lunch took place around Purim. So he had the famous Jewish deli in West L.A., Canter’s, cater it with a potpourri of Jewish delicacies. Including the Purim cookie called Hamantaschen. I was in hog heaven (Pardon the pun).
hamantashen

We sat in the sunny, and warm, California sun with a nice breeze coming off the bay. I was having the time of my life. Everyone told stories about their musical careers. I always loved to listen to other musician’s stories. Especially, the ones that could drop names like it was nothing. So I heard stories about Brian Wilson, Sinatra, Elvis, etc.

As the sun set, everyone said they had to be going. It was a delightful 4 or 5 hours. I was on Cloud 9. Diamond never called me for a gig even though I gave him my card. He was just being polite. But a recommendation from the most famous session drummer in the business had to give him pause.
I would have loved to make music my career but the ups and downs and rejections came so often it was impossible to stay financially afloat.

The bottom line was that I didn’t have the stamina to be part of Hal’s clique and run my recording studio which was just about a 24/7 ordeal.

In retrospect, I should have dumped the studio. It caused nothing but aggravation and did nothing to further my musical career.

But when the studio went belly up due to my embezzling partner, my aspirations were crushed. I took on the management of a local band. I was cut in as a 5th member. Even so, I only made around $400-$500 a week.

The band left for its home port in South Lake Tahoe. It was a fun adventure and allowed me to decompress. This lasted from April, 1984- October, 1984.

I met Charlotte there and when I tired of the band, I made a beeline home to Long Beach with Charlotte in tow.

We got a studio apartment and I went to work for my dad as a project manager in his structural steel fab shop. Charlotte and I got married in February, 1985. Two months later, she got pregnant and my hopes of every going back into the music biz came to an abrupt end.

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Categories: CIGAR REVIEWS

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2 replies

  1. Just snagged 2 samplers on CBid free fall for 13.09/ea don’t think i can beat that. There are a few more on auction right now. BTW nice story.