In the artisanal cigar industry it is not easy to find a person as authoritative as Ernesto Perez-Carrillo.
His family history begins in Havana, Cuba in 1907, according to Ernesto Perez-Carrillo (third generation) himself in an old interview from 1997 that the magazine Cigar Aficionado conducted with him. Here's what he says: “My grandfather and his brother started making cigars on the sidewalks. They had a cigar table, made their cigars and sold them for a penny".
His father, Ernesto Sr., worked for many years as a tobacco buyer for Cuban Land Leaf Tobacco Co., an American company that marketed Cuban tobacco in the United States and other countries, and in 1948 he bought a small tobacco factory called El Credito. Over time, the Perez-Carrillo family built a recognized name on the island, but in 1959, after the arrival of Fidel Castro to power, they had to flee the country, due to the regime's persecution of Ernesto Sr., who also, from a master blender and cigar maker, he had become a Senator in the Cuban Congress.
They settled in Miami, and in 1968, after trying different businesses, he was able to buy a cigar factory in Little Havana, which he also named El Credito. In 1976, after venturing into the jazz world for several years and discovering that his true vocation was cigars, Ernesto Jr. joined his father's business to start a long road that has not ended yet, in which he became the legendary master mixer that he is today.
Ernesto Jr. fully dedicated himself to the company in 1980 when his father passed away. The following years were difficult and of great uncertainties because the demand was small and the capital available to them was very limited. However, he decided to resist and set out to create a cigar capable of producing a unique sensory experience in smokers.
In the early 1990s, he produced his first highly successful blend, which he named La Gloria Cubana, a cigar that rose to prominence among Miami smokers although it did not spread to other parts of the country until late 1992, when the magazine Cigar Aficionado, which was launched that year, rated the Wavel format of La Gloria Cubana with 90 points. The same day that the publication came out, the demand skyrocketed in such an excessive way that it would never have been possible to imagine.
From that moment on, it attracted the attention of the entire country, which, added to the unprecedented increase in the consumption of cigars in the 1990s, placed Perez-Carrillo in an urgent need to expand. Thus, in 1996 he opened a new factory in the Dominican Republic. In 1997, the Swedish Match / General Cigar company proposed to him to buy the Dominican factory, the store in Miami and the La Gloria Cubana brand, and they asked him to work for them as a salaried worker, which he accepted.
He worked 10 years with General, after which he decided to reinvent himself in the world of cigars with a new company, this time associated with his two sons and without the famous La Gloria Cubana brand, despite the fact that it was a vital part of its history.
He formed the company EPC Cigar Co., and has since created numerous brands, some of which have appeared on the Top 25 Cigar Aficionado lists since 2010. In 2014 he placed second in that respected ranking with his E.P. Carrillo La Historia E-III. In 2018 he achieved the coveted “Cigar of the Year” award with the E.P. Carrillo Encore Majestic, a feat that he repeated in 2020 with the E.P. Carrillo Pledge Prequel. A high-performance trilogy that took him to the top of the charts with three award-winning cigars in 7 years.
Today, after more than 50 years of masterfully practicing his trade, Ernesto Perez-Carrillo continues to develop admirable blends in the family's factory, La Tabacalera Alianza, in the Dominican Republic.