E.P. Carrillo Selección Oscuro

After tonight, I'll have smoked my way through the first sic of Cigar Aficionado's Top 25 Cigars of 2016. Here, we have the #4 cigar, the E.P. Carrillo Selección Oscuro Piramides Royal. This puts me that much farther along in my “Quest For The 25.” One of them, anyway. Still have some work to do on the Cigar Snob Top 25 list.

Cigar: E.P. Carrillo Selección Oscuro

Vitola: Piramides Royal (6” x 52)

Price: $8.00

Origin: Dominican Republic

Wrapper: Mexican San Andres
Binder: Ecuadorian
Filler: Nicaraguan
Body: Medium

Rating (out of 10): 9.2

This is a gorgeous stick, with a nice, rich brown oscuro wrapper (duh, that's why it's called “Selección Oscuro”), with some light veins and a decent amount of oil to it. It features a very neatly pointed cap and invisible seams, and a gold band accented with red and black. It's pretty. It's very pretty. I've been holding onto it for a few days now, wanting to smoke and review it, but every time I reach for it, I just want to look at it. Well, the time's come. Sorry, love. But you're gonna burn.

Very nice construction on this. I can't find a thing wrong. It's nicely rolled, perfect amount of give under the fingers, and almost begging me to stop typing and light it up already.

There's a soft scent along the barrel that I think I'd describe as woody and nutty, like wood and nuts, and almost a chocolate aroma at the foot.

First Third:
Perfect cut with the scissor cutter, allowing a nice, open draw that tastes of cocoa and wood, with a subtle undertone of cashews, and an even fainter hint of coffee.

This is the point where I stood up to retrieve my lighter from across the room, and accidentally stepped in my computer's power cable, disconnecting it and causing my computer to power off. Thank the gods for document recovery.

Oh, yes. So much cocoa on the draw. And a slight hint of spice on the finish. Primarily, definitely cocoa, followed by undertones of nuts and cream, with a faint hint of coffee, and a soft, chili pepper finish.

There's a nice, solid white ash column forming, and a steady and even burn. It's a steady and medium body in flavor, but probably closer to full in terms of strength (by which I mean, there's a pronounced 'nicotine buzz' even early on).

Second Third:
Progressing into the second third, I'm starting to pick up some notes of dried fruits and berries.

Aaannnddd... off drops the ash, right onto my leg. Thankfully I'm home in Boston, so I'm in long jeans. If I were back in Hawaii right now, that'd probably be a hot column of ash right on my bare leg below where my shorts end...

The burn is slightly less even now, after the ash dropping off unexpectedly, and I had to give it a very quick touchup.
There's a bit more of a raisin undertone here near the middle, while the cocoa profile remains consistent. The spiciness of the chili finish, which was already fairly mild to begin with, has diminished a bit, too.

Final Third:
That spice is picking back up moving into the back third, and a woodier tone is taking the secondary position to the cocoa on the profile.

Another slight burn correction is needed here, too. Not long after the touchup, the wrapper cracks just the tiniest bit at the burn line. Shouldn't be a big deal, though.

The aroma of the smoke is a bit... unusual. I don't want to say it's bad or it's good, it's just... strange. It's pretty hard to describe.

Closing Thoughts:
I'm impressed. I mean, I'm not surprised that I enjoyed this one so much; it is, after all, the #4 cigar of 2016, according to Cigar Aficionado. As with many of the cigars I've smoked, it may not me the one I reach for first in the future, because there are so many absolutely fantastic sticks to choose from, but it is definitely one that needs to be tried at least once by anyone who enjoys a good smoke.