|Esteban Carreras 10 Años Maduro|
With so many boutique cigars on the market, you really have to go from shop to shop to try them all. Most likely your cigar shop does not carry all of them, but if it does, your retailer is doing a damn good job. Couple weeks ago I was in Charlotte, NC at Outland Cigars, and it was there that I had the opportunity to try some cigars that I have never had, and that is a shame because they have had been on the market for some time. Well, better late than never, and that is the case with this cigar. A knowledgeable cigar friend of mine, Stace Berkland, mentioned these cigars to me, and so I had to try them out. He is two for two in recommendations to me, and I believe I have yet to return the favor. Either way, thanks Stace. You too Coop, I have not forgotten you.
Esteban Carreras Cigars are made by Craig Cunningham, and like Matt Booth, Pete Johnson and Andre Farkas, he is based out of California. I am not sure how long his cigars have been in production for, but I know that they have been out for at least three to four years. He currently has seven lines on the market, and I have heard great things about all of them. His cigars are made in two factories, one in Esteli, Nicaragua, and others in the Dominican Republic. For this review I am sampling the Esteban Carreras 10 Años Maduro. This cigar was initially released at the 2009 IPCPR in New Orleans; man, it is weird to refer to it as IPCPR when it is now RTDA. Either way, the cigar is made in Esteli, Nicaragua, and the name emphasizes the cigar as a whole.
Made with a Nicaraguan wrapper that is ten years old, 10 Años, the cigar features Nicaraguan fillers and a Nicaraguan binder. I am not sure what seed the wrapper is, whether it is Habano Maduro or Nicaraguan Broadleaf Maduro, it is close in appearance to a Padron maduro. Heck, it might be Nicaraguan San Andres Seed Maduro tobacco. The cigar is extremely box pressed, and smooth to touch. There are some veins present throughout the wrapper, but because of the pressed style it is silky and smooth. The color is that of light maduro in my opinion, and it has this coloring that is chocolaty and dark raisin like. The aroma of the foot and pre-light draw is of cocoa, wood, leather and rich earth. The vitola I chose was the robusto, and it measures 5” with a 50 ring gauge.
|Box-pressed Maduro = Chocolate Bar|
As I light up the first third, the cigar has a slow start, but it slowly beings to show notes of earth, wood and herbal qualities to it. The further I get into the first third however I begin to get some light spice notes, bits of cinnamon and cloves, and also some cocoa powder and leather aspects. The earth is richer in character as I get further into the cigar, and it is very enjoyable. It is not overly complex, but it is definitely a cigar that many would enjoy, and I could smoke it any time of the day. I would say the strength of the cigar is a solid medium, and the burn line is perfect. I have an ash that is light charcoal gray in coloring, and it is producing a lot of thick smoke great for rings.
When I get into the second third of the cigar I am still seeing a lot of similar flavors from the first third, but they are very enjoyable. I would definitely smoke this cigar when I am watching a game, playing cards, anything where I am focused elsewhere and just want something pleasant, flavorful and enjoyable. I really like those cocoa, rich earth, wood, light spice and mineral qualities that the cigar is showing, and the consistency is very enjoyable. I am still getting a great burn line with the cigar, and I am holding on to the ash from the beginning as well. It is showing the same coloring in this third, and it is still producing a great amount of smoke. The strength is still medium in body for me, and I could definitely make this a first cigar of the day.
I am in the final third of the cigar now, and as to be expected it is finishing similarly to how it has been throughout. The flavors are really reminiscent of a Padron, and that could also be from the fact that the cigar is box pressed as well. It is definitely an enjoyable cigar, and it is made very well. The burn line is still razor sharp, as it has been through the whole cigar, and the ash is holding strong. I have ashed the cigar since the beginning, but this is definitely a great cigar to have a long ash competition with. I am getting a nice bit of cocoa powder in this third, and it is chocolatier than it has been. The earth notes are still rich, and the finish of cinnamon, leather and cedar is very lovely. I smoke the cigar down to the box pressed nub, and let it rest very pleased with the hour and fifteen I just put into the cigar.
I really enjoyed this cigar, and found it to be very similar to a Padron Maduro. It really offered a great amount of core flavors, and showed great construction quality throughout with the burn line being perfect. If you are a fan of Nicaraguan puros and a maduro fan as well, then I suggest you pick up a box of these because they are great everyday cigars. I myself am looking forward to trying other cigars in the Esteban Carrera portfolio, and if they are as good as this cigar then I know I will not be disappointed. I give this cigar a solid 89. I know it doesn’t fall into the spectrum of being 90 or higher, but I thought that this cigar deserved to be rated and mentioned. I am sure there are some of you who have heard of this cigar, but if you have not I know that they are available online and you can order them. Truly a great boutique smoke, and a classic Nicaraguan puro maduro.
|10 Años Maduro Robusto|