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Encore! Encore!

CigarWeekly CigarReview - The Encore by E.P.Carrillo

I'd sat down and taken a bunch of pictures of this cigar when we received it from the goodEPC Encore 02 folks at E.P. Carrillo cigars - care of their great marketing team.  The shipping box, and the presentation of the rocks glass, whisky cubes, cutter and cigar were definately eye catching. And so was the cigar!  A beautiful rich brown wrapper, reminicent of a very rich milk chocolate, or the crema on top of a perfect cup of espresso.

I'm often telling people that in 2016, on one of my many trips to Naples Florida to help my mother care for my father with cancer, that I was sitting one night in a cigar bar (Vincente of London, to be precise) and I'd taken notice of the La Historia - which was, then, a new cigar.  Selecting a La Historia (The don elena, I think, a box press toro) and a pint of guiness I sat down to smoke.  Note, this is not a review of that cigar - though I should pen one, because the point of all this is that when I finished my FIRST La Historia, the bartender asked if I wanted another cigar.  I hesitated briefly, pondering over my (2nd) guiness) and said - "Yes, you know, I'll have another one of those!".  I VERY rarely smoke the same cigar, twice in a row.  But the flavors were captivating. And as best as I can recall - the ONLY cigar I smoked two of, back to back, in 2016.

The oportunity to review the aptly named Encore (featuring the same style band as the La Historia, and a similar presentation, but with a cream-white foot band as well) was eagerly anticipated.  Unfortunately, last march was a crazy time for me and - after taking pictures of the cigar I was unable to get it back into the cello.  I placed it gingerly in my Herf-a-dor, but it did not survive the trip, alone in that box.  The profile of the box-press robusto at roughly an estimated 50 ring (but flat, you know?) just lent itself to allowing the cigar - now completely unprotected by the cellophane - to bounce around in the Herf-a-dor like the last peanut in the jar...

One would think the intrepid reviewers story ends there, right?  I mean, this could just be a "Dang, sorry!" story.  But no, wait.... There's more!  In the last month, my local shop - Maxwell's Cigar bar in Woodstock, Georgia - started carrying not only the La Historia (often sold out!) but the Encore as well.  So, I grabbed an Encore from the shelf, paid my due, and off to smoke it I went.  No traveling this time, unless you count the yard and a half walk from the humidor to the bar.  I did not have my EPC cutter (as seen in the picture) with me - so a standard punch would have to do.

First third - After toasting the foot and getting the cigar properly lit, I settled in for a few good puffs.  Save for the spots where my torch scorched the wrapper, the burn line was perfect.  A few more puffs and the flavors of the cigar started to bloom - earthier than the La Historia, and a little bolder with the power.  Not an overly peppery power you get from some cigars, just a firm presence and depth.

Second third - Always my favorite part of a cigar, as a smoker the 2nd third should present as the main course.  And this one truly did.  Flavors of leather and earth, aromas of toasted herbs, a light pepper note carry through this part of the cigar. Not really herbacious, but more like toasting seeds and nuts.  A nice complexity to this cigar, I feel.

Final third - Like the third out in baseball, this is a cigars last chance to redeem itself, or damn itself.  Maybe not quite like baseball, because, of course, the third out always comes and never takes away from the home run before it... so maybe scratch that analogy and lets just get on with it.  The final third was sublime as well.  Tapering off without losing complexity, it kept me at the table to the very end.  Unlike the La Historia, I didn't get sweet notes in this cigar.  But like a good bourbon, woodyness and richness carried the day.

All in all I find that "Encore" is a truely appropriate name.  Not a clone or copy of the La Historia, but rather that anthemic song your favorite band whips out at the end of the show.  Certainly one for the books - and I encourage all our readers to give this gem a go.

Rating

Pre-light: 9.2 (Beautiful stick, tasty pre-light draw)
Light: 9.5 (Great first third)
Draw: 10 (Perfect)
Construction: 9.5 (Never touched it up!)
Flavor: 9.0 (Deep and rich)
Power: 8.0 (Mid-range – not included in the average)
Average: 9.44(WHOA!)