Most of us know that bigger isn’t always better, but that has never stopped folks from trying to produce the biggest and best new thing. Ernesto Perez-Carrillo is perhaps Exhibit A of that phenomenon in the cigar world. The master blender with an extensive resume has seen the 60-ring gauge set, and raised them, coming out this summer with his EPC INCH line. The collection starts at 60 and works its way up to 64, a full inch in diameter (hence the name). In short, get ready to unhinge your jaw to enjoy this one.
Cigar Stats: The INCH is offered in a choice of two wrappers – Natural (Ecuador Sumatra) and Maduro (Connecticut Broadleaf Maduro). The binder for both is Nicaraguan, and the filler is a mix of Piloto Cubano, Corojo and Criollo from the Dominican Republic. It comes in three sizes, none for the meek of heart – No. 60 (5 7/8 x 60), No. 62 (5 x 62), and No. 64 (6 1/8 x 64). The MSRP ranges from $9-11. We sampled the No. 64 Maduro.
Appearance: It’s easy to get distracted by the trivia, but we’ll say right at the top that the INCH’s band might be the coolest we’ve ever seen. In keeping with the size theme, it’s a very faithful reproduction of an old-school folding ruler, with plenty of gold and antique yellow. Gorgeous.
The Smoke: The better news is that the smoke measures up to the visuals. You may not be able to find another stick that serves up the rich aroma that the Inch does when lit, and the taste is a remarkably smooth mix of wood and earth. It’s a full-bodied experience, but very tasty and never overpowering. The draw is on the easy side, and the smoke produces a white ash that holds together well and a near-perfect burn line.
Verdict: Ernesto Perez-Carrillo has crafted another quality smoke from start to finish. We have two pieces of advice: Try one of these, and give yourself plenty of time and a relaxing atmosphere to savor it. For more information about the INCH or the entire line of E.P. Carrillo cigars, visit www.epcarrillo.com.