About ten years ago, Esteban Carreras was an “under the radar” brand and was truly one of the best kept secrets in the cigar world. Today, the company is much better known than it was a decade ago, and much of that can be attributed to a line introduced known as Chupa Cabra. Chupa Cabra (which is how the cigar name is spelled) refers to the Chupacabra, a mythical creature in the Americas. The creature is said to have vampire-like behavior in that it is known to drink the blood of livestock. As for a cigar brand, the Esteban Carreras Chupa Cabra was first released in 2012 and became a runaway success for the company. At this past year’s Premium Cigar Association (PCA) Trade Show, Esteban Carreras and owner Craig Cunningham decided to release a commemorative cigar for the upcoming 10th anniversary of the Chupa Cabra line. The cigar is called the Esteban Carreras Chupa Cabra 10 Year Anniversary and it is the cigar we are going to look at in the Sixty (6 x 60) size.
The following are the four lines by Esteban Carrera carrying the Chupa Cabra name. Following the initial Natural and Maduro releases; in 2016, a third blend in the form of a box-pressed Maduro was added to the Chupa Cabra line called Hell Cat. This was followed in 2021 with the 10th Year Anniversary release.
- Esteban Carreras Chupa Cabra Natural
- Esteban Carreras Chupa Cabra Maduro
- Esteban Carreras Chupa Cabra Hell Cat
- Esteban Carreras Chupa Cabra 10 Year Anniversary
Without further ado, let’s break down the Esteban Carreras Chupa Cabra 10 Year Anniversary Sixty and see what this cigar brings to the table.
Blend and Origin
The Esteban Carreras Chupa Cabra 10 Year Anniversary features a San Andres Mexican wrapper over a binder and filler of tobaccos from Nicaragua. Production of the Chupa Cabra 10 Year Anniversary comes from the company’s Tabacalera Carreras factory in Estelí, Nicaragua.
Wrapper: San Andres Mexican
Country of Origin: Nicaragua
Factory: Tabacalera Carreras
The Esteban Carreras Chupa Cabra 10 Year Anniversary is offered in four sizes. Each is presented in 20-count boxes except for the Boolit which is presented in 32-count boxes.
Boolit: 4 3/4 x 46
Robusto Grande: 5 1/2 x 54
Toro: 6 x 52
Sixty: 6 x 60
The San Andres Mexican wrapper of the Esteban Carreras Chupa Cabra 10 Year Anniversary had a milk chocolate color with a somewhat oily complexion. Upon closer examination, there was some mottling that was visible. The surface of the wrapper had some visible veins as well as some visible wrapper seams. The cigar had a partially finished foot near the circumference (edge) of the footer.
There are three bands on the Esteban Carreras Chupa Cabra 10 Year Anniversary. The primary band is highlighted by a black Esteban Carreras lion on a smoky-colored background. Just below the lion is the text “ESTEBAN CARRERAS” – in a black font and gold trim. The remainder of the band has smoky-maroon, gold, and black adornments and accents.
The secondary band on the Esteban Carreras Chupa Cabra 10 Year Anniversary is just below the primary band. It is maroon in color with a textured feel to it. On the band is the text “CHUPA CABRA” in gold font with a gold pinstripe above and below the text.
The third band of the Esteban Carreras Chupa Cabra 10 Year Anniversary surrounds the footer. It is black with gold trim. On the band is the text “10TH ANNIVERSARY” in gold font surrounded by a gold-colored design element on each side.
Prior to lighting up the Esteban Carreras Chupa Cabra 10 Year Anniversary Sixty, a straight cut was used to commence the cigar experience. Once the cap was removed, it was on to the pre-light draw ritual. The dry draw delivered a mix of coffee, dusty earth, and cedar. Overall this proved to be a satisfactory pre-light draw. At this point, it was time to remove the footer band, toast up the Esteban Carreras Chupa Cabra 10 Year Anniversary Sixty and await what the smoking experience would have in store.
The Esteban Carreras Chupa Cabra 10 Year Anniversary Sixty opened up with notes of black coffee, black pepper, earth, and cedar. The coffee notes soon took over as the primary note. There was an underlying smoothness to this coffee note. The black pepper, earth, and cedar notes settled into the background. Some occasional chocolate notes were also present in the first third. Meanwhile, there was an additional layer of black pepper on the retro-hale.
The second third of the Esteban Carreras Chupa Cabra 10 Year Anniversary Sixty saw the coffee notes remain primary. There was a gradual increase in the earth notes. There also was a slight increase in the spice from the pepper and cedar. In addition, some fruit notes surfaced in the background – replacing the chocolate note.
There wasn’t much change in the final third. The coffee notes still remained primary – and still had some smoothness. The earth, pepper, cedar, and fruit notes remained in the background. This is the way the Esteban Carreras Chupa Cabra 10 Year Anniversary Sixty came to a close. The resulting nub was cool in temperature and firm to the touch.
Overall the burn of the Esteban Carreras Chupa Cabra 10 Year Anniversary Sixty performed excellently. This was a cigar that maintained a straight burn path and relatively straight burn line. The resulting ash was skewed toward the firmer side and was cool in temperature.
The draw of the Esteban Carreras Chupa Cabra 10 Year Anniversary Sixty performed at a high level. There was a touch of resistance on the draw – which is something that is my preferance. With 6 x 60 cigars, sometimes this can be a detriment, but no such case here.
Strength and Body
In terms of strength, the Esteban Carreras Chupa Cabra 10 Year Anniversary Sixty came in at a medium from start to finish. When it came to body, the flavors started out medium-bodied before progressing to medium to full in the second half. Looking at strength versus body, the body had the edge throughout the smoking experience.
One thing I have noticed about Esteban Carreras over the years, when it comes to maduro blends, this is a company that excels. Once again, we find another excellent maduro with the Esteban Carreras Chupa Cabra 10 Year Anniversary Sixty. I’ll also say this is a very impressive 60 ring gauge cigar in terms of flavor and construction. There were also enough flavor nuances that kept me interested from start to finish. This is a cigar I would recommend to an experienced cigar enthusiast, but also would recommend to a novice looking for something medium plus. As for myself, this is a cigar I would buy and smoke again. Coming in at 90 points, the Esteban Carreras Chupa Cabra 10 Year Anniversary Sixty earns the Cigar Coop Standard of Excellence designation.
Key Flavors: Coffee, Earth, Chocolate, Fruit, Cedar, Pepper
Complexity: Medium Plus
Body: Medium (1st Half), Medium to Full (2nd Half)
Assessment: Buy One
Cigar Coop Standard of Excellence
News: Esteban Carreras Chupa Cabra 10th Anniversary Launched at 2021 PCA
Brand Reference: Esteban Carreras