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A Glorified Smoke: Ernesto Carrillo and El Credito Cigars

James Suckling
From the Print Edition:
Groucho Marx, Spring 93

(continued from page 3)

"My cigars are some of the closest cigars to Cuban ones," says Carillo, now smoking his La Gloria Cubana Medaille d'Or No. 1, a long, corona-sized cigar. He smokes about five or six cigars a day and constantly experiments with blends and wrappers. It may take five or six years before he is satisfied with a blend for a new cigar. "Some people may not agree, but when you make cigars, you have to like it yourself. If I don't like something, I don't sell it."

There is still something magical about anything Cuban for Carillo, despite his disappointment with the politics of his former homeland. "I want to one day open another factory but in another country," he says, smiling to himself. "I don't want to say, but it is about 90 miles south of here."

Cuba often enters Carillo's conversation, and at times he looks like a starry-eyed child who recently spent time with his grandparents. "My father used to take me into the tobacco fields when I was young in Cuba," he says. "I remember when I was about five years old, I tore up part of a tent on one of the wrapper plantations. My father was furious. He told me that tobacco fields were sacred and made me promise to never do something like that again."

He paused for a moment, deep in thought about Cuba's famous Vuelta Abajo. "My father said that tobacco fields were so sacred that workers would rather cut off their arms than break the leaf of a tobacco plant," he says. "There are some things that you never forget your country is your country and in your heart, you want to go back some day."

Until then, Carillo will continue to do the best he can in Miami. Little Havana may not be Havana and El Credito's La Gloria Cubana may not be Cuba's La Gloria Cubana, but they are the next best thing for Carillo--and for many cigar lovers. The Many Wonders of La Gloria Cubana Cigars

Glorias: A big, slightly one-dimensional smoke, this cigar is beautifully crafted and similar in shape and texture to the Montecristo No. 3 Cabinet Selection from Cuba. It has opulent spicy aromas and flavors with an easy draw. A heady cigar for a long afternoon. 84
Ring Gauge: 43
Length: 5 1/2"
Price $1.35

Corona Gorda: This is a gorgeous cigar to look at. It is medium brown with a shiny wrapper, firm and perfectly rolled. The aromas and flavors verge on fresh cream with hints of espresso. It smokes smoothly and slowly. 89
Ring gauge: 52
Length: 6"
Price: 1.65

Gloria Extra: Rightly named, this cigar gives you an extra zap of tobacco flavor. It is extremely well-crafted with a gorgeous dark-brown wrapper. With an even and medium draw, this cigar is rich and powerful with distinctive earth and coffee aromas and flavors. Try it after a hearty meal. 88
Ring gauge: 46
Length: 6 1/4"
Price: $1.60

Medaille D'Or No. 1: This is a very cool and mellow smoke. It is elegantly constructed with a refined and easy draw; fascinating aromas and flavors of spearmint and herbs tickle the palate. A fun cigar to smoke. 86
Ring gauge: 43
Length: 6 3/4"
Price: $1.55

Charlemagne: Truly a cigar fit for an emperor. This is a magnificent smoke, massive in size and shape yet it retains a wonderful amount of delicacy on the palate while smoking. The flavors are well-focused with lovely spicy character and soft, round mouth-feel. A wonderful cigar to spend a Sunday afternoon with. 91
Ring gauge: 54
Length: 7 1/4"
Price: $2.10

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