The Cigar for Eternity – Ernesto Perez-Carrillo Pledge Prequel

Welcome to our literary smoking salon. We are delighted that you have found your way to us. Take a cigar and make yourself comfortable. This time a special delicacy awaits you: the Ernesto Pérez-Carrillo Pledge Prequel, a box-pressed Robusto that packs a punch. Admittedly, the cigar doesn’t necessarily look any different from any other cigar with a dark wrapper that’s trying to fight its way onto the shelves. The blend is no big secret either. The wrapper is a Connecticut Habano from the United States, the binder comes from Ecuador and the filler from Nicaragua. The blue ring with the orange and gold lettering is beautiful, but also not the absolute eye-catcher par excellence.

So what makes this cigar so unique? That’s the question of all questions. We’ll try to answer it, and I’d like to invite you to try and find an answer yourself.

It’s now time to offer a sacrifice to the flame. So sit back and enjoy a magnificent cigar with me. And while we’re enjoying it, let me tell you a story or two.

Right at the beginning of the cigar, we’re greeted with a good dose of pepper. Similar to a bouncer outside a hip club in Berlin, this is where we decide whether we are worthy. Anyone who doesn’t appreciate the peppery flavor, which can sometimes be chili spice, is advised to persevere. It’s a bit like a ceremony for admission to an exclusive club. Because it only takes a few pleasurably spicy puffs and the pepperiness noticeably disappears. The veil lifts like a curtain, the stage is now clear, and the game begins.

It was the year 2020 and I had the fortune to receive a box of these cigars as a present from a very good friend. I opened the box and saw these beautiful cigars. I was sure that I would soon be enjoying a “lady” from this collection. But things turned out differently. Somehow it was never the right time. Perhaps you’re familiar with this. No matter how full or not so full the humidor in your home is, sometimes you’re at a loss, because nothing in the house satisfies your current craving. That’s what happened to me with this cigar. Somehow, for a long time I never felt like ultimately trying it. Whether we admit it to ourselves or not, we all have cigars that we often store away endlessly, just waiting for the right moment to enjoy them. Sometimes, however, that moment never comes.

After the initial pepperiness has subsided somewhat, we’re greeted by more delicate tones. Hints of something fruity almost reveal a light citrus aroma. We immediately notice the complexity of the blend, which in my humble opinion is one of Ernesto’s trademarks. He knows like no other how to marry often contradictory elements to create an explosion of flavor. The first third is definitely dominated by fruitiness and a little salt, combined with a hint of sweetness. At this point, put the cigar aside for a moment. I promise you, it will thank you for it, and this cigar will definitely survive a few minutes in the ashtray.

So for a long time, I had a full box in my humidor. And just like me, the cigars were waiting for the right moment. But in the end, the “wrong” moment is exactly the right one. It was a summer evening that seemed to be perfect, but one phone call changed everything. Whether you’re into spiritual things or not, you can feel the brief moment before you receive the news that you have lost a loved one. It gets quieter and you have the feeling that a barely perceptible coldness is pushing its way through the cracks of the moment. As soon as you feel your hair stand up slightly, you’re disturbed by the ringing of the phone. This is what happened that summer evening. A school friend had unexpectedly taken his own life at the age of 39. Losing someone pulls the rug out from under your feet, and although you’re completely overwhelmed from one second to the next, you realize at the same time how the world stands still. Thousands of memories come flooding back to you simultaneously. It’s quiet and loud at once, and no matter what you do, nothing changes the situation. For my part, I was simply overwhelmed by it. You often act unconsciously or dissociatively – watching yourself from the outside – and do things that some people wouldn’t consider appropriate. For my part, I went to my humidor as if by remote-control, grabbed a box of cigars and lit up my first Pledge Prequel.

The initial pepperiness was exactly what I needed. A slight kick to the palate, a tickle in the nose and also a floodgate opener for the shedding of tears of friendship. A cigar as a toast to a good friend who had passed away.

Reach for the cigar again and pay attention to the chocolaty welcome it gives you. The spiciness is followed by chocolate similar to the ancient Mayan recipes for the early forerunner of what we know today as hot chocolate. It is an incredibly dark soul that reveals itself to the weighted passionado. Endlessly lingering notes of cocoa that conjure up images of the misty valleys and hills of Central America. Sweet smoke that caresses the tip of our nose is paired with subtle salty undertones and light woodiness that pleasantly tickle our palate. Halfway through the cigar, the aromas are so dense that they can almost be overwhelming.

As I sat in my apartment that summer evening, crying to myself, it was that cigar that served as my anchor in this world. That complexity helped me to gather myself and caught me, held me tight. I had lost someone, simply lost, and nothing could change that. Not even a cigar. However, Ernesto’s masterpiece was a cigar worthy of my friend. Powerful and expressive, full of life and energy, yet with incredible depth and a dark soul.

The older you get, the more numerous the farewells become, including those that are forever. In the past, I had never felt the need to smoke a cigar in bad times. I felt like a hypocrite to indulge in pleasure during bad times. But the Pledge Prequel has proved me wrong. You don’t honor your friends by practicing renunciation. You honor them by appreciating and celebrating life for those who can no longer do so. The fact that a cigar has given me this insight is wonderful. Insight and metaphor in one.

The final third of the Pledge Prequel is the imperial conclusion to an incomparable composition. What began with chocolate turns into freshly roasted coffee and espresso notes that play around the palate. The smoke becomes denser and floats through the room, as if ghosts were dancing with us in the form of wafting mist. And when you think the cigar has revealed everything, it comes up trumps again with impressions of cinnamon, oriental spices, and caramel. Not even in the last puffs is there a trace of bitterness. Indeed, the very last puff dances on the tongue with the sweetness of life.

We all have cigars for unforgettable moments; we dream of perfect enjoyment. We passionados have something over many people. We know how to celebrate life. But death and sadness are also part of this life, and you can also celebrate these moments, even if you’re just celebrating being alive.

I mentioned in the introduction that the Pledge Prequel by Ernesto Pérez-Carrillo is a cigar for special moments, for those occasions that take your breath away. I keep this box of cigars in my humidor especially for those days when I lose another loved one. And even on the day that my mother left me forever and I was enveloped by interminable pain, this cigar could not comfort me. But it was able to give me enough silence in unbearable suffering to pause for a moment, to breathe and survive.

I am grateful for that.

Klaus Hruby learned his trade as a journalist at a young age and published articles in various media such as Die Zeit, Der Falter, as well as in renowned literature competitions in German-speaking countries. His love for cigars was ignited during his apprenticeship; his great-grandfather still owned a tobacco field. Klaus Hruby has been writing Austria’s biggest cigar blog,, since 2014.




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