Just before the 2022 Premium Cigar Association (PCA) Trade Show, E.P. Carrillo announced the fourth installment to its Perez-Carrillo line, the Allegiance. The Allegiance is a cigar that Ernesto Perez-Carrillo blended, but it is being produced from Oliva’s TABOLISA factory in Estelí, Nicaragua. It was the second project by E.P. Carrillo being produced outside its Tabacalera La Alianza factory, as a few weeks earlier, E.P. Carrillo announced its Inch Nicaragua line would be made at Plasencia. Today, we take a closer look at the E.P. Carrillo Allegiance in the “Sidekick” (Robusto) size.
The E.P. Carrillo Allegiance was one of two projects between E.P. Carrillo and Oliva. A few weeks earlier, Oliva had announced its revamped Cuba Aliados project, the Cuba Aliados by Ernesto Perez-Carrillo. This was also a cigar that Ernesto Perez-Carillo blended, but this one was produced at Tabacalera La Alianza for Oliva.
As mentioned, the E.P. Carrillo Allegiance became the fourth installment of the Perez-Carrillo line. This is E.P. Carrillo’s most premium and arguably most successful brand in the portfolio. The cigars under the Perez-Carrillo pay homage to the Perez-Carrillo family. In this way, Allegiance pays homage to the many partnerships and alliances the Perez-Carrillo family has forged over the years. Below is a list of the four installments (and the year released) of the Perez-Carrillo brand.
Let’s break down the E.P. Carrillo Allegiance Sidekick without further ado and see what this cigar brings to the table.
Blend and Origin
The E.P. Carrillo Allegiance features an Ecuadorian Sumatra wrapper over all Nicaraguan tobaccos. This is the first installment of the Perez-Carrillo series to use a Sumatra wrapper. While this leaf is new to the Perez-Carrillo series, it is not new to Ernesto Perez-Carrillo and Oliva, as both parties have developed successful cigars with that wrapper.
Wrapper: Ecuadorian Sumatra
Country of Origin: Nicaragua
The E.P. Carrillo Allegiance is offered in four sizes. Each is presented in 20-count boxes. Each of the vitola names ties into the theme of “allegiance” as it specifies a type of ally.
Sidekick: 5 x 50
Confidant: 6 x 52
Wingman: 6 7/8 x 54
Chaperone: 6 1/4 x 58
The Ecuadorian Sumatra wrapper of the E.P. Carrillo Allegiance Sidekick falls into the category of a “dark Sumatra” wrapper. This is a wrapper that has the color of a roasted coffee bean. The wrapper had a light coating of oil and a slight amount of toothiness on the surface. There wasn’t much in the way of visible veins. Most of the wrapper seams were well hidden. The box-press was a Cuban-style soft-press.
A straight cut was used to remove the E.P. Carrillo Allegiance Sidekick cap. Once the cap was removed, it was time to commence the pre-light draw experience. The cold draw was largely earthy, but it also had fruit and baker’s spice notes. This made for a solid and satisfying pre-light draw. With the pre-light draw completed, it was time to remove the footer ribbon from the E.P. Carrillo Allegiance Sidekick, toast up the cigar, and move on to the smoking phase.
The E.P. Carrillo Allegiance Sidekick started out with a mix of white pepper, fruit, a slightly dank wood, and earth. As the cigar progressed through the first third, the wood notes moved to the forefront, with the fruit, pepper, and earth notes settling in the background. The wood notes lost their dankness and became more of a classic wood varietal. The fruit notes joined the wood in the forefront just past the midway point of the first third. Meanwhile, there was an additional layer of wood notes on the retro-hale.
The wood notes remained in the forefront during the second third of the E.P. Carrillo Allegiance Sidekick. The fruit notes diminished, and by the midway point, these notes receded into the background. Gradually, there was a slight increase in the earth notes. Meanwhile, the pepper notes remained relatively constant in the background, and a small amount was mixed into the retro-hale.
The final third saw the earth notes join the wood notes in the forefront. There still were some notes of pepper and fruit in the background. This is the way the E.P. Carrillo Allegiance Sidekick came to a close. The resulting nub was firm to the touch and cool in temperature.
While there was a slight amount of jaggedness on the burn line occasionally, the E.P. Carrillo Allegiance Sidekick was a cigar that maintained a straight burn path. There wasn’t an excessive amount of touch-ups needed. The resulting ash was light to medium gray. This wasn’t an overly firm ash, but it wasn’t loose or flaky. As for the burn rate and burn temperature, both maintained ideal levels.
For a box press, the E.P. Carrillo Allegiance Sidekick had an ideal draw. This included a touch of resistance to the draw – which is something that I like. This was a low-maintenance cigar to derive flavor from.
Strength and Body
The E.P. Carrillo Allegiance Sidekick starts out as a medium-strength, medium-bodied cigar. There was a nominal increase in the intensity of both attributes. While the strength remained in the medium range of the spectrum, by the second half, the flavors were now medium to full-bodied.
The body maintained an edge throughout the smoking experience in terms of strength versus body.
BANDING AND PACKAGING NOTES
Once upon a time, blue and green colored bands were considered taboo in the cigar industry. Over the last five years, we have seen blue bands go from taboo to trendy – and now, over the past couple of years, green bands are also moving from taboo to trendy. In Perez-Carrillo, we have seen blue bands used in both La Historia and Pledge. Now we see Allegiance introduce the green bands. E.P. Carrillo has done a great job at integrating the green color scheme. The cigars look very nice as well. It’s also aesthetically pleasing that the cigars also come packaged in green-colored boxes.
While it wasn’t the most overly complex cigar, the E.P. Carrillo Allegiance Sidekick delivered excellent flavor from start to finish. What impressed me with this cigar is now the flavors still performed exceptionally well in the final third. I took the cigar down to a small nub on each of the samples I smoked. Dark Sumatra blends have been hit or miss for me, but the Allegiance Sidekick delivered an excellent cigar experience. It’s a cigar I would recommend to any cigar enthusiast. It’s a cigar I certainly would smoke again and buy multiples to keep in my humidor. Coming in at 90 points, this cigar earns the Cigar Coop Standard of Excellence.
Key Flavors: Wood, Earth, Fruit, Pepper
Complexity: Medium Minus
Body: Medium (1st Half), Medium to Full (2nd Half)
Value: Buy Multiples
Cigar Coop Standard of Excellence
Photo Credits: Cigar Coop
Originally posted on October 9, 2023 @ 4:17 pm