E.P. Carrillo Inch Natural
One of the biggest trends in cigars over the past few years has been the introduction of ring gauges (the width of a cigar) of 60+. I can't say I'm the biggest fan of this trend, I'm much more likely to enjoy a lancero than a cigar with a bigger ring size. I really enjoy the character that a wrapper gives a cigar, and, with less filler, I find that flavor comes out more clearly in a thinner cigar. But, I'm definitely in the minority as the 6x60 size is one of the most popular cigar sizes at the moment. So I decided to step out of my comfort zone and review the E.P. Carrillo Inch Natural 62, which is a 5x62 cigar...
The Inch features a dark, oily Ecuadorian wrapper, Nicaraguan binder, and a filler that combines Nicaraguan and Dominican tobaccos. The Nicaraguan character of this cigar comes out clearly from the first light, with earthy undertones and just a hint of spice. I was expecting a bit more strength from the blend, but was pleased with the balanced flavors and slightly nutty finish. The flavor remained consistent throughout, though toward the end there were some bitter notes mixed in.
The inch had a very easy draw, but did not produce the volume of smoke I was expecting from a cigar of its size. What smoke it did produce, however, was rich and heavy.
The construction was mostly consistent. The cigar burned somewhat unevenly, though I think that had to do more with my preferred lighting method than the construction. Typically, I like to toast the foot of a cigar with a torch, and then finish the light with a match or soft flame. This works well on cigars with a smaller ring gauge, but with larger cigars can lead to an uneven initial light. For larger cigars, using the torch throughout may be a better option. After I cleaned up the burn, it improved and remained mostly even throughout the smoke.
One of the most common questions we get at the shop is, "So what do you have here that's like a Cuban?" This is a tremendously difficult question to answer. We have lots of cigars that come from Cuban seed, or are blended in a Cuban style, but without the Cuban wrapper the character of Cuban cigars is very difficult to fully replicate. One of the most distinctive and appealing things about Cuban cigars to me is the fullness and richness of the flavor, combined with a finish that doesn't remain long after you're done smoking. In contrast to some of my favorite Nicaraguan cigars, which I sometimes wake up tasting the next morning, the flavor of a Cuban cigar lingers only briefly, and a few hours later is just a pleasant memory. The Inch offers a very similar character, with a soft finish that doesn't linger on your palate, making it a great first cigar that will allow you to appreciate the flavor of whatever you're smoking next.
The Inch is following in the tradition of the Nub in that the ash is designed to hold for a long time, though you will be hard pressed to smoke the entire thing without ashing as you can with the Nubs. My ash held for just over half the cigar, but was showing some cracks early on.
The E.P Carrillo Inch is available in Natural and Maduro with ring gauges of 60, 62, and 64 and is in the $8-$10 range.
I don't think the Inch will be entering my regular rotation of smokes, but it is definitely worth trying if you're a fan of larger ring gauge cigars and enjoy a well balanced cigar with a short, pleasant finish.
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