When it comes to Esteban Carreras Cigars, there are two things I have come to expect from the company when it comes to the IPCPR Trade Show. First is that the company will unveil a new product at the Trade Show and second, the company will keep the release under wraps until the Trade Show opens. Few people not connected with the cigar’s release knew until the unveiling that Esteban Carreras’ 2019 release Unforgiven would be the company’s first barrel-aged product. Shortly after the trade show, Unforgiven would make its way to retail humidors. Today we take a closer look at the Esteban Carreras Unforgiven in the Toro Grande size.
The barrel aging process involves a two-step process using Flor de Caña 18-year-old rum barrels. First, the tobaccos in the blend are aged in the barrels. After the tobaccos are used to roll the cigar, the finished cigars are then aged in the barrels. The resulting product is the Esteban Carreras Unforgiven.
Without further ado, let’s break down the Esteban Carreras Unforgiven Toro Grande and see what this cigar brings to the table.
Blend and Origin
The tobaccos used for Unforgiven consist of an Ecuadorian Sumatra wrapper over Nicaraguan binder and filler. The Sumatra wrapper is a staple tobacco that has been used by Esteban Carreras in the past such as the 5150 and Bronze Cross releases. The cigar is produced at the company’s Tabacalera Carreras facility in Nicaragua.
Wrapper: Ecuadorian Sumatra
Country of Origin: Nicaragua
Factory: Tabacalera Carreras
Each of the five sizes is available in 24-count boxes except for Boolit, which will be presented in 32-count boxes. The 70-ring gauge Wrecking Ball is the company’s first 70 ring gauge release.
Boolit: 4 3/4 x 46
President’s Own: 6 x 46
Toro Grande: 6 x 52
Sesenta: 6 x 60
Wrecking Ball: 6 x 70
The Ecuadorian Sumatra wrapper of the Unforgiven Toro Grande had a dark roasted coffee bean color to it. Upon closer examination, there was some subtle mottling on the surface. The complexion of the wrapper was oily. While there were some visible veins and thin wrapper seams, this was a wrapper that was on the smooth side.
There are two bands on the Esteban Carreras Unforgiven. The primary band has a black background. On the center of the band is a silver Esteban Carreras lion logo with gold trim. Just below the lion is the text “ESTEBAN CARRERAS” – also in a silver font. The remainder of the band has silver adornments.
There is a cedar sleeve covering the lower half of the cigar. On the sleeve is the text “UNFORGIVEN” stamped in black ink. The lower part of the sleeve has a black ribbon on it. The upper part of the sleeve has the secondary band on it. The secondary band is also black with silver trim. On the band is the text “UNFORGIVEN” in silver font.
After removing the cedar sleeve from the Esteban Carreras Unforgiven Toro Grande, the cigar experience was commenced with a straight cut to remove the cap. From that point, it was on to the pre-light draw. The dry draw delivered a mix of earth, cocoa, and red pepper. The Unforgiven Toro Grande would deliver a satisfactory pre-light draw experience. At this point, it was time to light up this cigar and see what the smoking phase would have in store.
The Esteban Carreras Unforgiven started out with notes of citrus, earth, baker’s spice, cocoa, and classic wood notes. It didn’t take long for the citrus and wood notes to move into the forefront. Concurrently, the cocoa notes floated between the forefront and background. Meanwhile, the retro-hale produced a mix of red and black pepper and a slight char note.
By the second third of the Unforgiven Toro Grande, the citrus note became better defined – and became more of a lemon sweetness. This lemon sweetness remained in the forefront. Meanwhile, the cocoa notes settled in the background. The wood regressed into the background, joining the earth and baker’s spice. In addition, a slight amount of red pepper surfaced in the forefront.
Just past the midway point, the lemon sweetness was replaced by a rum-like note. It was at this point I was definitely getting some of the barrel-flavors. The rum note had some sweetness, but was not overpowering and allowed the other flavors to still stand out. The combination in the forefront of rum and cocoa continued into the final third. There still were notes of classic wood, earth, baker’s spice, and red pepper present. This is the way the Esteban Carreras Unforgiven Toro Grande came to a close. The resulting nub was soft to the touch and cool in temperature.
Construction of the Unforgiven Toro Grande was excellent – and this was reflected on both the burn and draw. The burn maintained a straight burn path and a straight burn line from start to finish. The resulting ash had a silver gray color with some darker streaks mixed in. This cigar had a firm ash that came off in nice clean chunks. Meanwhile, the burn rate and burn temperature were both ideal.
The draw of Unforgiven Toro Grande performed excellently. It had a touch of resistance to it – which is something I have been on the record of being a strong point of a draw. At the same time, there was a nice amount of smoke produced from this cigar.
Strength and Body
The strength and body of the Unforgiven Toro Grande started out as medium. There actually was a slight decrease in the intensity of both attributes early on. After that, the intensity levels remained relatively constant and stayed in the medium range. In terms of strength versus body, both attributes balanced each other nicely with neither overshadowing the other.
While the Unforgiven Toro Grande is a relatively new release, Esteban Carreras’ products have been on the market for over a decade. During that time, the company has developed some excellent cigars. When it comes to the Unforgiven Toro Grande, this is the latest in that line’s track record of success. On top of it, this is one of Esteban Carreras’ best releases. The sweetness from the barrel aging doesn’t overpower the blend and it allows the other flavors to shine. This is a cigar I could recommend to any cigar enthusiast. As for myself, it’s one I would smoke again – and it’s worthy of a box purchase.
Key Flavors: Cocoa, Citrus (Lemon), Rum Sweetness, Pepper, Wood, Baker’s Spice, Earth
Complexity: Medium to Hight
Finish: Very Good
Assessment: Box Purchase
News: Esteban Carreras Unforgiven Makes Debut at 2019 IPCPR
Brand Reference: Esteban Carreras
Photo Credits: Cigar Coop