Ernesto Perez-Carrillo is no stranger to readers of this column – three of his cigars have already been reviewed, two earning four-star ratings and the third picking up three stars. To say the bar has been set fairly high for his latest release would be an understatement.
Carrillo graciously provided several vitolas of his new Core Line maduro, with the Club 52, a 5 7/8” x 52 vitola, being used for this review. The cigar was officially unveiled at the 2011 IPCPR trade show, and is the latest installment in the 2011 IPCPR cigar review series.
The pre-light aroma has a rich but not overpowering syrupy sweetness with a hint of bread, while the cold draw is a bit tight – it seems the tobacco at the head of the cigar is very well packed, though a bit of rolling in the fingers loosened that up and improved air flow. Not many flavors came off the cold draw, so it’s time to torch it up.
The first puffs have that same rich tobacco taste that the original Core Line did, something that earned the cigar high marks in its review. Any sweetness from the maduro wrapper is in the background early on, though it is certainly part of the equation.
One of the things that was a concern before smoking this cigar was the wrapper. The thinness of some of his wrappers, particularly the New Wave Connecticut, caused them to split or burst much easier in the dry heat of Phoenix. It was mentioned in the review of his New Wave Connecticut, and when it was mentioned to him at the IPCPR trade show, Carrillo seemed to be aware of it. When asked how much difference there was between the New Wave Connecticut wrapper and the one used on the Core Line maduro, it’s a matter of six pounds per 1,000 leaves for the Connecticut, and 20 pounds per 1,000 leaves for the Core Line. Quite a difference to say the least – over three times the weight, which means a thicker leaf that should be able to hold up to the Phoenix heat a bit better for this review.
Incidentally, this cigar was smoked outside in the shade, with the temperature (according to Google) at 103 degrees and 17% humidity. There was an evaporative cooler blowing as well, which helped to cool things off a bit and add a touch more humidity, though a hygrometer would be needed to get an accurate reading.
With the first inch of the cigar burned off, the air flow really picks up and delivers an abundance of smoke with a delayed but lingering finish of wood and toffee. Again, it’s not overly sweet, but it’s there in small doses. Coming up the halfway point, it’s hard to see this as much of an improvement on the original Core Line, which remains a highly recommended and go-to cigar. That is by no means to say it is a bad cigar – the notes of leather, a bit of chocolate and a complementary sweetness is very enjoyable.
The cigar holds that pattern past the band, when a change occurs in the final two inches. A slight twinge of bitter espresso crossed the tongue, with the smoke heating up and the back of the throat getting tingled.
The Core Line maduro burned beautifully and didn’t need a single touch-up, with the wrapper maintaining its beauty the whole way through.
The Core Line maduro will be available in the same eight sizes as the original Core Line, with prices ranging from just over $5 for the 5 1/8” x 42 “No. 4” to just over $9 for the 7 3/8” x 56 “Monumentos.” While it didn’t seem to be a full step better than the original Core Line, it’s another outstanding cigar from Ernesto Perez-Carrillo worth trying.
Read reviews of more cigars by clicking here, including cigars from the 2011 IPCPR Trade Show.
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