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Lissette Perez-Carrillo



Cigar Aficionado Magazine announces E.P. Carrillo Pledge Prequel #1 Cigar of 2020


The Perez-Carrillo family and E.P. Carrillo Cigar Co. are honored to receive Cigar Aficionado’s 2020 #1 Cigar of the Year.  The Pledge, is the third release in the Perez-Carrillo Series, following Encore (2018 #1 Cigar of the Year) and La Historia (2014 #2 Cigar of the Year).  Rated 98 points, a Classic by Cigar Aficionado standards, gives Pledge the highest ever rating for a No. 1 Cigar of the Year.  E.P. Carrillo has received the top spot 2 out of the past 3 years.

La Historia pays homage to the family history in tobacco, especially the women in the family.  The Encore was Ernesto’s song after a wonderful concert, and a tribute to his grandchildren.  In working on the blend for Pledge, Ernesto felt pressure to create a blend that would follow two top ranking cigars in the same Perez-Carrillo Series.  He found inspiration in creating a blend that is a tribute to all cigar lovers around the world.

Pledge describes an evolution of his skills in blending throughout his life and how these skills translate to his promise to cigar lovers, reaching different milestones.  In the first release of two sizes, one size focuses on his roots in Cuba, which contributes to tobacco being in his blood, and then the second size moves towards his core years of developing skills that led to his reaching Cigar Hall of Fame status.  The evolution of his pledge will continue to be told through future size releases.  Ernesto describes his journey to have led him to pledge to his fans, “I will never stop working with the best tobaccos and bringing new and innovative blends to you.”  Further, “With each sample of the 6 different blends for Pledge I worked on, I asked myself, is this cigar worthy to follow La Historia and Encore, and I was very pleased when I found the one.”  2020 marks the 50th year that Ernesto has been working in the cigar industry, and to release the Pledge during this special year is a great honor.


After spending over six months testing blends, Ernesto Perez-Carrillo finally found the blend he was looking for.  Ernesto shares his excitement for the wrapper of Pledge, “I first became aware of the Connecticut Havana seed wrapper in the early 80s when it was not being extensively used by many manufacturers.  This wrapper was relatively unknown in Miami; but when I was finally able to first smoke it, I fell in love with it.  I started using it in in some of the blends I was making at that time.  More recently, I had only used this wrapper in 2 limited releases at E.P. Carrillo.  With Pledge, it now becomes part of our portfolio.  I couldn’t be more enthusiastic, as this wrapper and I go way back to my core years in developing my skills as a cigar blender.”  Before moving to production, Ernesto made sure he could procure enough tobacco for three years and after that began production.

Lissette Perez-Carrillo, Ernesto’s daughter and an integral part of the company, came to the realization that “I wanted our cigar fans to join us in naming this very special release”.  So during the Big Smoke 2019 in Las Vegas, attendees were asked at the E.P. Carrillo booth to vote on which of three names they liked the most, and thousands of votes were received.  Pledge was the winner, which was much to Lissette’s content, as she felt the name was the best choice as well.


The box-pressed cigar is made with a Connecticut Havana seed wrapper, Ecuadorian binder and Nicaraguan filler and is presented in two sizes, 5 x 50 and 6 x 52 .  MSRP pricing is set for the Prequel 5 x 50, $10.75 per cigar and $107.50 per box of 10.  Sojourn 6 x 52, $12.00 per cigar and $125.00 per box of 10.

For more information about E.P. Carrillo, including products, retailers and events, visit