Team Cigar Review: E.P. Carrillo Pledge Prequel

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Cigar Details: E.P. Carrillo Pledge Prequel

  • Vitola: Robusto
  • Length: 5″
  • Ring Gauge: 50
  • Country of Origin: Dominican Republic
  • Wrapper: Connecticut Havana-Seed
  • Binder: Ecuador
  • Filler: Nicaragua
  • Factory: Tabacalera La Alianza
  • Blender: Ernesto Perez-Carrillo
  • Price: $10.75
  • Release Date: September 2020
  • Source: Developing Palates via Lake Country Cigars

Aaron-Loomis

 Aaron Loomis

Seth Geise

 Seth Geise

 John McTavish

Jiunn-Liu

 Jiunn Liu

Pre-light Experience

The E.P. Carrillo Pledge Prequel has an oval press to it with a marbled dark brown wrapper. There are a couple of thick, lightly raised veins present, smooth seams and a well applied set of caps. Initially, most of the cigar is covered as there are three bands. The primary is various shades of blue and gold and designates the company and line. The secondary band is the same color combination and carries the last name of the blender. The foot band is a gold ribbon. The aroma from the wrapper is wood, sweet hay and earth while the foot brings cedar and stone fruit sweetness. The pre-light draw brings a combination of cedar and cocoa along with a mild spiciness on my lips.

Pre-light Experience

Lovely press, a soft press, the E.P. Carrillo Pledge Prequel is finished with a lovely Colorado-Maduro wrapper. It has this dark raisin quality with some tooth and small to medium sized veins throughout. The aroma is that of rich earth, stone fruit, spices and leather.

Pre-light Experience

The E.P. Carrillo Pledge Prequel pulls out all the stops for presentation. Doubled banded, box pressed and a copper foot band. Sure, you could add some sort of cap complication at this point, but that would just be showing off. Aromas from the cigar included a slight barnyard, hay and aged wood. I couldn’t pick out anything separate from that list examining the foot.

Pre-light Experience

The E.P. Carrillo Pledge Prequel has a very oily and shiny dark leather shoe colored wrapper. Veins are well pressed, seams tight, bunch and roll even and firm and head well wrapped. Aromas from the wrapper give sweet hay and slight barnyard. Aromas from the foot tell a punch of black pepper and trailing cedar. Cold draw gives the same notes as the foot aromas.

First Third

The cigar begins with some detailed dark wood, light mustiness and then a finish of light cinnamon. At a half inch in, both the dark wood and mustiness become fuller while the cinnamon finish has now become a light black pepper. The retrohale is dark wood and mustiness. At an inch in, some earth has joined the profile while it, the dark wood and mustiness are all even and the black pepper is just a bit behind. The strength in this third was slightly above medium.

First Third

The first third opens up by delivering a rich earth profile that has some fruit cake notes present as well. I am picking up some sweet spice notes and with that is dark earth and damp wood. I would classify the cigar as medium-full, and that is for strength and body.

First Third

My first few puffs bring a combination of cocoa, baking spices and cedar. Leather and cedar start developing on the finish almost immediately. By the 10 minute mark, chocolate is coming through. By the 20 minute mark, earth settles into the middle of the profile. I would describe the first third as pleasant, but the overall complexity doesn’t grab my attention.

First Third

The first third opens with roasted sweet chestnuts and black coffee. Baking spices and cedar soon join the profile. When retrohaling, the baking spices and sweetness of roasted chestnuts really pop. The finish has baking spices far back on the rear palate, nuts and a faint charred wood and construction paper combination. Strength and body is medium.

Second Third

As the second third begins, the dark wood and earth are even with the mustiness right behind and the black pepper a little further behind. At three quarters of an inch in, some meatiness joins the profile. The retrohale is musty wood and earth. As the third wraps up, the dark wood, earth and mustiness are even with the black pepper and meatiness in the background. The strength remains at slightly above medium.

Second Third

The second third shows a continuation of flavors from the first third. I am getting some stone fruit notes with rich earth and damp wood. There are some spice notes present as well, and I am picking up black and red pepper notes. Like before, medium-full in strength and body.

Second Third

Sweet baking spices taking the flavor profile into the second third. Leather lingers on the post draw, and settles between each puff. Cedar comes through at the end of the draw, as a soft flavor once the cigar settles in. By the halfway point, chocolate is coming through.

Second Third

The second third transforms to a flavor profile leaning towards baking spices, charred wood and construction paper. The roasted chestnuts and black coffee are still there but more so as secondary flavors. Strength and body are still medium.

Final Third

The final third is a continuation of the second third. The retrohale is now just musty wood. At three quarters of an inch in, some char joins the wood. As the cigar comes to a close, the lightly charred wood, earth and mustiness remain even while the black pepper and meatiness are light in the background. The strength remains at slightly above medium.

Final Third

The final third delivers a flavor profile of rich earth, dark cocoa, stone fruit and damp wood. There are some sweet spice notes present as well, and touches of black pepper as well. Like it has from the start, the cigar is smoking at a medium-full level.

Final Third

Baking spices, graham cracker, wood and a finish of medium strength baking spices into the post draw. The post draw gains earth as the cigar settles in and it almost immediately takes on a toasted quality. Cocoa joins the retrohale by the 10 minute mark. Reading these flavor descriptors you might wonder why the last third only achieved an average score, but none of the flavors came together harmoniously.

Final Third

The final third has no changes. Still full of baking spices, charred wood and construction paper. The finish especially weighs heavy on the construction paper note. Strength and body finishes medium.

Burn

The burn was a bit wavy throughout and required two touch-ups to keep everything burning in unison. The ash held on in inch and a quarter increments.

Burn

The cigar has a nice burn line from start to finish. Well constructed cigar that presented no problems.

Burn

The burn was offset almost immediately, but self corrected. It became uneven again through the first third, requiring a touch-up. No other maintenance was was necessary through the review.

Burn

Burn performance was just shy of perfection. A couple touch-ups were needed to get the burn back on track. Other than that, solid ash marks, cool burning and good smoke production.

Draw

The draw was slightly tighter than I prefer, but didn’t cause any issues with the smoking experience.

Overall

The cigar had a core profile around dark wood, earth and mustiness with some black pepper. There wasn’t much in the way of transitions, so overall it was pretty linear. The E.P. Carrillo Pledge Prequel was pretty average in its enjoyment level for me. I know that this line is something that the company was really excited about releasing, but it was a bit of a miss for me. While I do find that the cigars from the company tend to do better with about 6 months of age, I am a bit interested to revisit this to see if time does improve the profile a bit, so I now have that on my to do list. I think it’s worth a try to see what you think and if you’re a fan of dark and earthy profiles, you’ll find something you like here.

Draw

Draw was very good from beginning to end. Well constructed cigar.

Overall

The E.P. Carrillo Pledge Prequel is a decent cigar. I believe it needs some time to improve, but overall the blend is lacking in some areas that would help with the complexity and transitioning throughout. There is a nice core flavor profile, but it never makes it beyond that. Other than that, nice construction and solid body and strength.

Draw

The draw was right in the ideal zone of resistant and open.

Overall

The E.P. Carrillo Pledge Prequel was an overall pleasant experience, with some of the best flavor combinations delivering in the second third. The presentation was fantastic, as was the construction. Overall, the profile failed to grab my attention and hold it, although I would be willing to try it in the Sojourn size to see how the blend compared. My total smoking time was 1 hour and 27 minutes.

Draw

The draw was also just shy of perfection. Slightly snug but not a major issue.

Overall

I was so stoked to smoke this cigar. EPC is not typically a company that has a history of releasing many new cigars, so when I heard about this, the interest was sky high. But after smoking it, I’m sad to say the E.P. Carrillo Pledge Prequel was an overall mediocre cigar. Full of baking spices, charred wood and construction paper, it’s a pretty lopsided flavor profile. Glad I got to try it though.

Aaron
Seth
John
Jiunn
Very GoodPre
Light
Very GoodPre
Light
Very GoodPre
Light
Good
AverageFirst
Third
GoodFirst
Third
AverageFirst
Third
Good
AverageSecond
Third
AverageSecond
Third
GoodSecond
Third
Average
AverageFinal
Third
AverageFinal
Third
AverageFinal
Third
Average
AverageBurnVery GoodBurnVery GoodBurnVery Good
Very GoodDrawVery GoodDrawAmazingDrawVery Good
AverageOverallAverageOverallAverageOverallAverage

Aaron Loomis

SCORE

5.30

Cost/Point

$2.03

Scoring System

Seth Geise

SCORE

5.85

Cost/Point

$1.84

Scoring System

John McTavish

SCORE

6.00

Cost/Point

$1.79

Scoring System

Jiunn Liu

SCORE

5.85

Cost/Point

$1.84

Scoring System

Team Cigar Review: E.P. Carrillo Pledge Prequel
John McTavishTeam Cigar Review: E.P. Carrillo Pledge Prequel

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1 comment

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  • James Huxley - January 14, 2021 reply

    Have been a big fan of E.P. Carrillo The Pledge Prequel out here in Maryland — looong before the Cigar Aficionado 2020 Cigar of the Year Announcement. Guess that means my palate is officially “developed” now!

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