Some people can't get enough golf. Others sit and stare when they see a rare car. For Ernesto Perez-Carrillo, his obsession is tobacco.
While this is a fondness found with many in the cigar industry, Perez-Carrillo has a particularly hard time saying "No" when he sees a bale of tobacco leaf he likes, even if it doesn't make sense for his production at Tabacalera La Alianza S.A. in Santiago, Dominican Republic.
Having accumulated a fair number of bales that he can't use in his lineup of cigar blends, Perez-Carrillo has rolled up a few thousand cigars that he is releasing as part of a commemorative humidor project called Ernesto's Humidor No. 1.
The humidor will contain 30 cigars with three different blends, 10 of each. Colorado will be made with an Ecuador Sumatra wrapper, Nicaraguan binder and Nicaraguan filler. Connecticut will have an Ecuador Connecticut wrapper, Nicaraguan binder and a blend of Dominican and Nicaraguan filler. The Maduro will have Connecticut broadleaf as the wrapper, with Ecuador Sumatra binder and Dominican and Nicaraguan filler.
"It's three different blends that I've made over the years that I've enjoyed, but basically haven't done a full production because of limits on the tobacco," said Perez-Carrillo in an interview with Cigar Aficionado. "I wanted to make this humidor to feature those blends that I enjoy, but cannot produce on a regular basis. ... There's three bales of that, two bales of this, and it's great. It's something that has some meaning, and something I enjoy smoking myself."
Said his daughter Lissette Perez-Carrillo, who works alongside her father at EPC Cigar Co.: "If he had a dream humidor, that's it."
Each cigar in Ernesto's Humidor No. 1 measures 6 inches long by 54 ring. Sales will be limited to 500 humidors, but there is enough tobacco to make more than 15,000 cigars. For a limited time, there will be refills available of the blends, sold in packs of 10, for people to replenish cigars that they enjoy. Look for it in October.
The humidor, filled with cigars, has a suggested retail price of $375. For individual cigars, the suggested retail is $12.50.
The Perez-Carrillos hope to make this an ongoing thing, tapping their tobacco inventory for future releases. "Hopefully we can do one every year," said Ernesto Perez-Carrillo.
Ernesto Perez-Carrillo, a member of the Cigar Aficionado Hall of Fame, has been making cigars for more than 40 years. His E.P. Carrillo La Historia E-III (95 points, Cigar Aficionado) is Cigar Aficionado magazine's No. 2 cigar of 2014.