EP Carrillo Cardinal Natural – Cigar Review

This week’s group cigar review is of the EP Carrillo Cardinal Natural.  Prior to lighting this cigar has a very nice looking wrapper with a pungent tobacco smell.  Once cut, the draw is perfect and it feels very well packed.  Once lit up, it packs a lot of flavor right off the bat.  It tasted very earthy with a peppery spice and also some sweetness.  In the second third the cigar picks up a floral note while the spice strengthens and then fades back unpredictably.  Unfortunately all three of our bands had too much glue applied and a large chunk of the wrapper leaf came off with the band.  In the final third it picks up a charred oak flavor, yet another subtle flavor change.  Overall, this cigar had a bold and unique flavor profile with some complexities.  The hole in the wrapper leaf left by the band was our only real complaint.  This is a cigar that is definitely worth trying!

StraightUpCigars: Rating:
Flavor and Taste: 18/20
Construction: 8/10
Wrapper: 5/5
Price Point: 10/10
Would I buy a Box: 5/5
Total: 46/50

IamDarren: Rating:
Flavor and Taste: 17/20
Construction: 8/10
Wrapper: 5/5
Price Point: 10/10
Would I buy a Box: 5/5
Total: 45/50

Terry1: Rating:
Flavor and Taste: 18/20
Construction: 8/10
Wrapper: 5/5
Price Point: 10/10
Would I buy a Box: 5/5
Total: 46/50

7:34 PM
Terry1: Pet peeve. If you are going to name your cigar put the name on the band!
7:35 PM
IamDarren: WOW, just checked the Famous site and this thing has some excellent reviews…. now im excited!
7:35 PM
Terry1: Yeah I hope it lives up to the hype.
7:35 PM
IamDarren: can you guys pick out the flavor in the cold draw. Its so unique that i can’t make it out. Some kind of spice combo.
7:36 PM
IamDarren: almost a little pungent… in a good way though
7:38 PM
Terry1: Reminds me of fresh pecans. Kind of a dusty, musty but slight sweet note.
7:38 PM
StraightUpCigars: This is the one with the black EP on the band, right?
7:38 PM
IamDarren: mine has a mostly red band
7:39 PM
Terry1: Black EP, red and yellow band.
7:39 PM
StraightUpCigars: Got it. Yeah, they need to label these better.
7:40 PM
IamDarren: construction looks pretty good one mine. No soft spots and the wrapper is nice and tight. Decent draw.
7:40 PM
StraightUpCigars: This does have a very pungent smell to the wrapper. Draw is pretty much perfect after cutting. I like how the cigar looks, just a couple of small veins on the wrappeer.
7:41 PM
Terry1: I’m lighting up.
7:41 PM
IamDarren: same here
7:41 PM
StraightUpCigars: Me three.
7:43 PM
IamDarren: this one is gonna be complex. Lots of flavor up front. Getting that musty/earthy flavor up front with sweetness spice and roasted nuts.
7:45 PM
StraightUpCigars: I’m getting earthy flavor and the pecans that somebody mentioned smelling earlier. Just a little spice and sweetness. Very good.
7:45 PM
IamDarren: also starting to get a white pepper note in the back of my throat
7:45 PM
Terry1: I’m getting a heavy earth note and some pepper. There is a sweetness lingering in the background. Interested to see where this goes.
7:47 PM
IamDarren: not getting a ton of smoke, but there seems to be quite a bit of resting smoke… sorta odd.
7:48 PM
IamDarren: might be burning fast also, probably got a half inch of ash already
7:49 PM
StraightUpCigars: Mine’s burning fast too, mainly because I am having a hard time setting it down.
7:50 PM
IamDarren: it seems to be picking up more flavor that I like. Spice and sweetness are now dominant. Spice is right on the front of my palate now much like a habano.
7:51 PM
StraightUpCigars: It’s odd, this isn’t that spicy of a cigar, but the spice lingers like I just ate a pepper.
7:53 PM
IamDarren: good point. Its a cool spice. As long as the pepper stays down I will like this one a lot.
7:53 PM
Terry1: Burn line is near perfect. My draw has tightened a little. It’s not hampering the smoke but it’s tighter than I like. I’ll agree with the pepper. I notice it more after a few seconds.
7:55 PM
IamDarren: yeah, awesome looking tight ash and burn line. Draw is good on mine.
7:55 PM
StraightUpCigars: Yeah, I just knocked the first ash. Perfectly straight burn.
7:56 PM
IamDarren: still getting little hints of that musty flavor. Its kinda earthy but definitely unique to this cigar. Combined with the other flavors its quite tasty.
7:58 PM
IamDarren: this is one that i enjoy taking long, slow pulls on. The first impression when you start taking a draw is that it is rich and earthy, then when you start to exhale it completely changes to sweet and spicy with a very clean finish.
7:59 PM
IamDarren: so far my favorite EPC smoke.
7:59 PM
Terry1: Your description is perfect. I’ve been trying to figure it out and you nailed it.
8:00 PM
StraightUpCigars: Yeah, that’s a good description. This has been a unique smoke so far.
8:00 PM
IamDarren: lol, thanks Terry. I just noticed that this is also offered in a maduro. Although I wonder if it would ruin the unique finish that this one has. Would still be worth a try.
8:02 PM
Terry1: I struggled with which one to get. The natural seemed to be getting more love.
8:03 PM
IamDarren: regardless it was a good pick Terry. And the price point isn’t all that bad at 7.25.
8:04 PM
StraightUpCigars: No, I’d say that’s a bargain so far.
8:05 PM
IamDarren: finally decided to tap off the ash going into the second third. A+ for construction.
8:06 PM
IamDarren: brb, gotta put my son to bed.
8:07 PM
StraightUpCigars: Mine has mellowed out quite a bit, I’d call it mild to medium body at this point.
8:09 PM
Terry1: I’m around the half way mark. Same here, the pepper faded some but I’m now getting more of the sweetness. It’s almost a floral note.
8:10 PM
StraightUpCigars: It is floral. I used to take a spoonful of these bee pollen granules everyday, that’s what the flavor reminds me of.
8:11 PM
IamDarren: wtf… what were those for?
8:11 PM
IamDarren: allergies?
8:12 PM
StraightUpCigars: I think maybe they did something for that, but they were just supposed to be an energy and focus booster.
8:12 PM
IamDarren: lol, well if it work it works
8:12 PM
StraightUpCigars: I’m not sure it did
8:13 PM
StraightUpCigars: Uh oh, first negative points: way too much glue on the band. It took off some of the wrapper with it.
8:13 PM
Terry1: I’m loving the flavor I’m getting now. Took the band off. The band peeled off without much effort but there must have been a spot of glue underneath. It ripped a small hole in the wrapper.
8:14 PM
IamDarren: when I was on my honeymoon we found a street vendor selling fresh honey. They put a chunk of honeycomb in the jar. Chewing on the honeycomb was the best flavor I have ever tasted.
8:14 PM
IamDarren: i could use some of that every day for sure
8:16 PM
IamDarren: damn, mine did the same thing Matt. Took off a quartet inch piece of wrapper. Wrapper looks very thin.
8:17 PM
StraightUpCigars: Well, they need to fix that issue, it’s obnoxious. It that’s the only negative points then that’s a good thing.
8:17 PM
IamDarren: wow, also just got a blast of white pepper on the tip of my tongue with the last draw. Also burned my lips a little.
8:19 PM
Terry1: I’m getting a little roasted nut flavor. Goes nicely with the sweetness and floral.
8:21 PM
StraightUpCigars: I agree Terry, the nut flavor is coming back along with a little more body. I think the mellow portion is over for me.
8:22 PM
IamDarren: getting something different with each puff now. Once in awhile i get the nutty flavor. Still lots of spice.
8:23 PM
Terry1: I agree Matt. There’s more flavors coming through now. I’m near where the band was and I’m starting to feel the strenth a little.
8:24 PM
IamDarren: yep, im starting to spit more. Spice is lingering longer on the finish. Still quite good though.
8:25 PM
StraightUpCigars: Yeah, this one has a little kick to it. I think I like it more than I did before.
8:25 PM
Terry1: Yeah it’s got I little bit of everything. Good smoke.
8:25 PM
StraightUpCigars: SLC has one of the nest airports. Had a couple of excellent beers and a good lunch from your local brewpub there. One of the last 5 to offer a smoking room, but I didn’t find time for a cigar.
8:26 PM
Terry1: Wow a smoking room! I’m surprised the smoke nazis haven’t closed that down.
8:27 PM
StraightUpCigars: I know, right? There’s actually one in each terminal (I think SLC has 3 terminals?). Kudos on that. Labmbert in STL lost their last year with the St. Louis smoking ban.
8:28 PM
IamDarren: haven’t heard much news on the smoking bans lately
8:28 PM
StraightUpCigars: People have given up. They’re rolling in full force now.
8:29 PM
IamDarren: what a crock. I feel for you guys. Glad I live out here in the country.
8:31 PM
IamDarren: although im not anywhere near a nice pub or cigar lounge so its a tradeoff
8:31 PM
StraightUpCigars: Yeah, it sucks. They’re looking to close the “loopholes” here now. Casinos, cigar shops, and 3am bars. I sent a letter, but I think it’s just a matter of time. It hardly even makes the news now.
8:32 PM
IamDarren: So can they still be outside the city limits? Guess I don’t know how the law works.
8:32 PM
Terry1: Utah has high taxes and a strict indoor smoking ban. Now they are trying to raise the smoking age. Gotta protect the kids. It’s bullshit.
8:33 PM
IamDarren: Just like driving or drinking. The more you try to take it away or raise the age the more they want to do it.
8:34 PM
StraightUpCigars: Yes, they can be outside the county limits. I went to a sweet pinball bar with Susie before the last NM trip thaqt allowed smoking, I’ll definitely be stopping by there more often. You’re right Terry, it’s bullshit. I agree Darren, it only becomes “cooler” when it’s illegal.
8:34 PM
IamDarren: I just wish we had the same backing that the NRA has.
8:35 PM
StraightUpCigars: I used to be more active against it, I’m kind of demoralized at this point. The CRA does its part, but there’s just not as many people passionate about it as there should be.
[Delete]
8:35 PM
IamDarren: Get enough money and people behind a cause and the Government has a really hard time passing laws against it.
8:36 PM
Terry1: Well at least I can smoke pot this year when I go to the cigar festival. Can you say wtf.
8:36 PM
StraightUpCigars: Agreed. The scales will tip back eventually, I’m fairly certain. Legal marijuana may cause a boost against smoking bans.
8:37 PM
IamDarren: I watched a very moving show about a kid that had some kind of mental dissorder. After they tried every drug known to man they finally broke the law and got some kind of special marijuana extract that worked so good that he went back to school and could function normally. Stories like that just piss me off about how our country works.
8:38 PM
StraightUpCigars: That problem is sorting itself out, luckily. I think it will be legal everywhere in the US before you know it.
8:39 PM
IamDarren: Well really its a good thing for everyone including the government if they regulate and tax it.
8:39 PM
Terry1: We were talking about marijuana use today at work and how the insurance companies were going to underwrite it. Could be a real problem going forward.
8:40 PM
StraightUpCigars: It could be, but it seems to be a financial problem with our current system anyways. I’m biased though, I’m of the legalize everything standpoint
8:41 PM
IamDarren: I have about an inch left and am starting to get a little tar buildup I think. If i touch my lips to the slits that my cutter made my lips burn and I get an acidic spice flavor in my mouth.
8:42 PM
StraightUpCigars: I’m getting a bit of a charred cedar flavor now that I was not getting before. I wasn’t expecting any flavor transitions this late, this cigar has impressed me.
8:42 PM
Terry1: I’m getting towards the end. Lots of nice flavors and luckily for me the strength didn’t get any stronger. I’d say it’s in the upper medium range. Construction has been spot on except for the wrapper tear.
8:43 PM
IamDarren: yeah i still enjoy the flavor. Im glad it didn’t get too strong in the last third.
8:45 PM
StraightUpCigars: It’s funny, the glue is such an idiotic mistake, but it really puts the rest of the smoke into perspective when that’s all we have to complain about.
8:46 PM
IamDarren: im a big fan of what AJ did with the Diesel line. Just a simple foot band that you just slip off prior to smoking. I wish more brands would do it.
8:48 PM
Terry1: I hate to do it but I’m going to set this one down. Really enjoyed the Cardinal.
8:48 PM
StraightUpCigars: I dunno, I really like some of the super decorative bands. Even a foot band can have too much glue, but it would be less damaging.
8:48 PM
IamDarren: same here, i just put mine down and moved inside
8:49 PM
IamDarren: btw, i had a pepsi and Woodford Reserve. My new favorite Whiskey.
8:50 PM
StraightUpCigars: Yeah, mines about cashed. OOOH good whiskey stories. I want to try that one, I heard good things. I was a standard Jim/coke tonight.
8:50 PM
Terry1: I’ve had Woodford Reserve. It is good.
8:51 PM
IamDarren: its got a really nice spice note. Paired really well with the spice in the cigar.
8:53 PM
StraightUpCigars: Good to know, I need to branch out on the whiskey more often. I had a Missouri beer aged in whiskey casks… amazing! It picked up a very distinct whiskey smell, but only faintly tasted like whiskey. It felt like you were about to take a shot of whiskey… but then you just got good flavor. So fun.
8:54 PM
IamDarren: thanks again Terry, good find.
8:54 PM
StraightUpCigars: The EPC Cardinal was a real winner. I love the unique pungent earth flavor, but I had to knock two points off for the gaping hole in the wrapper left by the band glue.
8:55 PM
IamDarren: yep, it was nearly a 49/50 without that issue.
8:55 PM
Terry1: Pretty consistent across the samples. I knocked a point off for the glue and one for the tight draw but overall a real treat.
8:55 PM
StraightUpCigars: A must try! Impressive find Terry. Finding unique cigars is like a finding a needle in a haystack these days.


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