In 1959, Ernesto Perez-Carrillo Sr. decided to flee from Cuba to Miami until political tensions settled. With little money, he took what jobs he could before realizing that he should continue what he does best – making cigars. Close to a decade later, he managed to buy a small cigar factory, El Credito, and began producing cigars with his son. When Ernesto Sr. died in 1980, the financial responsibilities almost seemed too daunting for Ernesto Jr., but his friends in the cigar trade continued to encourage him to do what his family did best, and that was to make cigars. Over the next several years, Ernesto Jr. experimented with several blends and created the now famed La Gloria Cubana. At the time, this cigar remained local to Miami, but once the fairly recently-founded Cigar Aficionado rated four of his blends with a score of 90 or higher, La Gloria Cubana was one of the most sought after cigars in the world. After selling El Credito in 1999, Ernesto Jr. continued to work with the new owners until 2009 when he launched E.P. Carrillo Cigar Company.
La Historia by E.P. Carrillo is a special smoke; in fact, it has been said that Ernesto worked on this cigar for more than two years, and it shows. In 2014, Cigar Aficionado not only gave it a 95 rating, but it also gave it the number 2 spot in its annual Top 25. Enough with the accolades, let’s take a look at this bad boy. On the outside sits a stunning Mexican San Andrés Maduro wrapper which hugs an Ecuadorian Sumatra binder and a dual country blend of Nicaraguan and Dominican long-fillers. Medium to full in body, expect notes of roasted nuts, espresso, black pepper, and dark chocolate that are rich and chewy with hints of sweetness in the finish. Balanced, complex, luxurious, and darn tasty. Pair this smoke with your favorite dark rum and a cool spring afternoon or your favorite single malt scotch.
Though tobacco is indigenous to Hispaniola, the tobacco industry in the Dominican Republic existed in the shadow of Cuba’s dominance through the 1960s. When the exodus of Cuban cigar makers began in the wake of the revolution, many decided the Dominican Republic would be ideal for the resumption of their livelihoods. Unrest in Nicaragua in the 1980s fueled the Dominican cigar industry further. The country now makes more than half of the premium cigars imported into the U.S.
The Cibao Valley and the nearby city of Santiago are the center of cigar production in the Dominican Republic. Three main varieties are grown here: the mild and native Olor Dominicano; the intense Piloto Cubano, brought from the Vuelta Abajo of Cuba; and San Vicente, a milder and more acidic Piloto hybrid. Dominican puros were once unheard of as it was widely thought impossible to grow quality wrapper leaf on the island, but new growing techniques are now allowing some exceptional puros to be produced.
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