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Mellow Strength

Richard Carleton Hacker

Even back in the days when he was producing La Gloria Cubana, Ernesto Perez-Carrillowas not known for creating mild cigars. Now that he has established his own company, Perez-Carrillo maintains that reputation with his newest cigar, the E.P. Carrillo Cardinal Series ($7.25/$145–$8.75/$175), packaged by the score in a distinctive “cardinal red” box with a black E.P. Carrillo logo. Available in three sizes (5 × 52, 6 × 54, and 5½ × 56), the Cardinal Series represents the most full-bodied smoke to date in the E.P. Carrillo line. And yet this perfectly rolled cigar, while muscular, does not overwhelm. It is offered in a choice of wrappers: natural Ecuadoran Sumatra or Connecticut Broadleaf maduro. Both are complemented by filler tobaccos from three different Nicaraguan farms. This results in rich, spicy, flavors of cedar and port and a cigar that smokes evenly, right down to its distinctive gold-embossed red-black-and-yellow band. (www.epcarrillo.com)

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