This week saw the EPC Short Run 2016 hit the shelves which we reviewed a couple of weeks ago. However, I decided to reach for a cigar that I long avoided, the INCH. My reason for avoidance was the massive ring gauge which I openly admit I am not a fan of. However as 60 ring gauge cigars continue to grow in market share, its been harder to avoid them. Well, today I cheat a little bit and smoke the 58 ring Maduro which is a little bit less than an inch as a 64 ring would be one inch in diameter.
Cigar Review: EPC INCH Maduro
Factory: Tabacalera La Alianza
Wrapper: Connecticut Broadleaf
Filler: Nicaragua, Dominican Republic
Ring Gauge: 58
The Look: Packaged in rough wooden cabinet style boxes, the INCH 58 comes packaged in 24 count boxes. The band is reminiscent of a tape measure and the gold foil has a finish on it that gives it a vintage look. A secondary band on the foot of black and gold denotes the cigar is the Maduro version. The Connecticut Broadleaf wrapper has a chocolate hue and is evenly colored with a nice sheen of oils and is well rolled with no soft spots.
The Notes: On the cold draw of the INCH 58, the initial notes are sweet and reminiscent of a jelly ring. There are notes of dark chocolate with a subtle jelly like sweetness and a hint of spice. Off the foot the aroma is that of cocoa and wisp of cedar.
Once the mammoth cigar is lit, there is an initial burst of white pepper that quickly subsides as a cherry like sweetness begins to take hold. As the cigar progress that sweetness moves to the background as notes of leather and coffee jockey for dominance. As the first third comes to a close the coffee wins the race, as the leather begins to mellow some.
Moving into the second third of this marathon smoke the cigar remains with strong notes of coffee as some notes of cocoa being to enter the mix. The leather notes become an after though as a subtle note of anise develops around the half way point. Through the nose the licorice like qualities are intensified and some subtle white pepper remains.
The last third sees the cigar from medium in strength to medium-full while the notes remain consistent. The primary taste is that of a coffee with a subtle chocolate sweetness. The leather component returns and becomes dominant as the cigar comes to a close. The white pepper on the retrohale remains but there is a touch of sweetness mixed in on the lengthy finish.
The Burn: Going into a cigar of this size, I expected a tough draw and burn issues but neither showed themselves during the 3 hours it took me to work through the massive INCH maduro. While I wouldn’t label the burn razor-sharp, it never got out of hand and never gave any indication of wanting to get out of control. The draw offered the right amount of resistance and it remained list throughout the experience. The ash wasn’t as strong as I expected and often in one inch increments it would wind up on my keyboard or my shirt.
The Finish: The EPC INCH is a cigar that provides bang for the buck. For around $10.00 a person is treated to a 3 hour experience that is robust with flavors. I challenge anyone to find a cheaper way to spend three hours of enjoyment other than sitting at home in front of the tv with no one home. The dark flavors are wonderfully robust, with just enough sweetness to keep things interesting. While I am still not a fan of the size, the cigar was definitely time well spent.