Ernesto Perez-Carrillo is regarded as the “Godfather of Boutique Cigars” from his time spent overseeing La Gloria Cubana. So when he left LGC to begin his new venture with his son and daughter, there was a great buzz throughout the industry. Ernesto has a phenomenal palate and access to some of the best tobacco in the world; the anticipation for his first release was extremely high. His initial release to the public was a limited edition he dubbed Short Run, a product he continues to mold and shape each year using new tobacco. While that was the first release, the every-day release came shortly after, aptly called Core Line. Core line comes in both a natural and maduro wrapper in various sizes and you can see our review of the Core Line Maduro here. The Core Line Natural is a blend of various tobacco’s used to create a medium strength, medium-full flavored treat that is good at any time of the day. Featuring an Ecuadorian wrapper over Nicaraguan and Dominican filler tobacco, Ernesto branched out to try to create a unique and complex smoking experience people have come to expect from him. Let’s see how it turned out.
Size: Encanto 5 x 50
Filler: Nicaraguan and Dominican
Price: $6.50/stick or $115.95/box of 20
Appearance: The EPC Core Natural has a light brown wrapper almost caramel in appearance. Its golden hue has almost no veining though it is slightly rough to the touch. There is a noticeable lack of oil on the wrapper, giving it a bit of a dry look, though the cigar is spongy when squeezed. Feeling the cigar from top to bottom there are no soft spots to be found. The triple cap is neatly applied and the seams are quite difficult to pin-point, a good sign of the quality construction to expect from an EPC product. The band uses a red, light yellow, and black motif for the most part, with EP in gold script over a red box and Carrillo in white over a black background beneath that.
Pre-Light Aroma: Before the cigar is lit, the EPC Core Line Natural has a sweet lemongrass like scent on the foot. There is also a slight hint of sweet baking cocoa though it is tough to pickup. The wrapper has a simple hay like scent, very light in it’s presentation. The pre-light draw brings a slight earthy sweetness to the palate with a hint of spice at the back of the tongue. The draw itself is slightly tight, pretty close to how I prefer it. The lips are left with a grassy taste, a little sweet and not overly pronounced.
Lighting the EPC Core Line Natural brings a great bouquet of flavors to the palate as well as a nice aroma in the resting smoke. The palate will pick up a sweet bread like taste with some spice at the back of the tongue and through the nose. Strength sits at the solid medium bodied point right off the bat. The ash is slightly flaky but holds for near an inch before I tap it off while the burn line is even and straight through the entirety of the first third. The first third ends with a nutty flavor joining the mix and carrying the cigar into the 2nd third.
The middle third of the EPC Core Line Natural takes the nuttiness that began at the end of the first third and brings it front and center on the palate. The sweetness fades into the background, an afterthought that comes into play sparingly in this third. The spice remains at the back of the tongue and becomes more prevalent through the nose. The burn line continues to burn evenly without any touch up while the ash is solid up to an inch once again. The smoke up to this point has been a bit thin and wispy though it continues to deliver plenty of flavor on each puff.
The finish of the EPC Core Line Natural brings an thick earthiness to the palate that really shines at the end. The nuttiness moves to the back of the palate, still hanging around, though not as pronounced as it was previously. The spice continues to hang around at the back of the throat and through the nose, creating a nice complexity to the end of the cigar. The ash held the entire final third until I let the cigar go with just under an inch left and the burn line stayed straight throughout. While this may not be the most complex cigar on the market, it delivers a depth of flavor and balance that many cigars only wish they could. It is easily something one could smoke every day, providing enough flavor and strength to keep you interested on a regular basis. If you would like to order the EPC Core Line Natural you can call us at 800-669-7167 or click here.