The Nintendo Entertainment System (NES) and it's follow up SNES are a couple of the first game consoles that captured people's hearts & imagination. I do considerably less gaming now than I did as a kid, but the nostalgia is still very much alive. The franchises of Mario, Zelda, Final Fantasy, and Metroid will always hold a special place. A common factor in all of those games is that there is a hero or heroes that have a strong allegiance to something. Mario is pledged to Princess Peach and always on a mission to save her. Final Fantasy is filled with do-gooders that hold a strong allegiance to protect the realm. Then of course there is Link from Zelda, my favorite hero. His dedication to the princess and Hyrule Castle is admiral. Thinking of the Zelda games is where my nerdy brain goes when I look at the new E.P. Carrillo line, Allegiance. The ornate band of green & gold has a must-have-it enchantment about it. The line's name and the color theme send me down Zelda Lane. I love the games and I love E.P.C. blends. Let's fire this new one up and see if I love Allegiance.
Cigar: E.P. Carrillo Allegiance Chaperone
Origin: Estelí, Nicaragua
Factory: Tabacalera Oliva de Nicaragua (TABOLISA)
Size: 6.25 x 58
Wrapper: Ecuadorian Sumatra seed
First glance tells me this is a hot cigar. The green & gold bands are thick, shiny, elegant, and jump right out at ya. The wrapper has a soft-tooth feel with the cigar having excellent uniformity. Although after closer inspection things go south. There is a dominant vein that is a major snag location on an otherwise very nice seam line. The wrapper has a couple sloppy wrinkles near the cap, even though it will make zero difference in the smoking experience. Flipping the cigar over I can see that there is tape used on the foot band. It's common, many companies do it, but as I've mentioned before, I hate it. Tape on a cigar is cheap looking. It's just how I roll. The bigger issue is when I removed the foot band. The wrapper had more blemishes hidden behind it. Hey, somebody at Oliva clearly saw that and said screw it, I'm putting the band on it anyway.....I don't recall the same vitola I had a few months ago being this bad, but this is the one I'm reviewing.
Considering the foot was indicating a light bunching, along with the semi-soft feel of the cigar, I used a very small straight cut. Perhaps a punch was better, because it started out almost wide open. Things did snug up a tiny bit come last third, but with the additional heat and low smoke output, I can't say I enjoyed the draw too much.
The pictures are worse than it actually was, but it wasn't awesome either. Ash held together for the most part, while doing it in an ugly fashion. It fell off only when told to, but at times would make me nervous. Burn line was for sure wavy, but responded alright with some corrections.
1/3 - Puffs start out pretty dry. Notes of clean hay, tall green grass, and a little bit of butter while not being creamy. Retro has a general woody note with white pepper. Hints of milk chocolate are present and the profile has an overall bright feel.
2/3 - Pulling into the 2nd third I pick up traces of minerals and bitters. We're still pretty grassy and similar to the 1st third. The cigar seems to struggle to find body and has a very short finish. Trailing out the section is lemon zest and new leather.
3/3 - Another small transition for the final third with white pepper grass and lemon chocolate pulling forward. Retro is all white pepper now. A bright cedar note gets stronger with a light char surface. The bitters had left for a short while, but have returned with a funky attitude for the last handful of puffs.
I know. That's not what I would expect either. EPC puts out some great blends, even the budget cigars. Pledge, La Historia, and Encore are excellent smokes and I was really anticipating Allegiance to be as tasty. For me, it just wasn't. I didn't pay as much attention when I first smoked the Chaperone vitola, but I can remember thinking that I wasn't impressed and somewhat disappointed. I was hoping this experience would be better, yet it wasn't. Oliva is a great cigar company and I like a lot of the smokes coming from them, but I'm not sure the collaboration with them resulted in a homerun. Have you tried it yet? What'd you think? Let me know in the comments below.
**Number of cigars smoked for the review: 1