New Zealand gets EPC Cigars. The cigars of two-times Cigar Aficionado Top 25 winner Ernesto Perez Carrillo are inbound down under. Canteros, the only importer and distributor of New World Cigars in New Zealand, and EPC Cigars struck a distribution agreement.
Grant Ovenden, aka the Cigar Merchant, is importing cigars as a business since 1998. It was impossible for cigar enthusiasts in New Zealand to find any new world cigars. As Ovenden and most of his friends have a preference for the flavorful cigars from Nicaragua, Honduras, and the Dominican Republic, it was time to start importing and distributing. Since then, Canteros has grown exponentially and many big brands work with Canteros now.
Ernesto Perez Carrillo
One of the brands that still had no distribution in New Zealand was EPC Cigars. Industry veteran Ernesto Perez Carrillo is the owner of Tabacalera La Alianza in the Dominican Republic. It is there where he makes his award winning Pledge and Encore lines. Plus plenty of cigars for others, such as Viking, Balmoral Dueto, and more.
Perez Carrillo rose to fame in the 1990s in Miami. It’s there where he had a small factory with the name La Gloria Cubana. His father was the founder, but once Ernesto took over the business grew. So much that General Cigars took the brand over but only if Perez Carrillo would stay on for another decade. He agreed but once that contract was at its end, Perez Carillo ventured out on his own. With much success as he took the #1 spot on the Cigar Aficionado top 25 twice in the last three years.
Coming to New Zealand
The following lines and sizes are coming to New Zealand. The award winning EPC Pledge and Encore. Both won the Cigar Aficionado Cigar of the Year election. The Pledge won 2020, with Encore Majestic winning in 2018. And that’s two wins for a cigar brand and factory that is only around for six years. Other lines that are entering the New Zealand cigar market are the La Historia, Ignite, Interlude, New Wave Reserva, and Seleccion Oscuro.