Cigar Review: Esteban Carreras Chupacabra Torpedo

A fuller-bodied stogie from boutique brand Esteban Carreras Cigars, the Chupacabra features 100% Nicaraguan tobaccos nestled in a Habano Oscuro wrapper leaf. Besides the fact that A.J. Fernandez is the blender behind most of their lines, I don’t really know a lot about the Esteban Carreras brand, even after a considerable amount of digging. So, here we have a cigar named for an elusive, supernatural, bloodsucking animal from South America, shrouded in great mystery. Naturally, the Chupacabra Torpedo sounded like a fantastic choice for today’s review.

The stick wore a veiny milk-chocolate wrapper with a glistening oily sheen from head to foot. The Chupacabra appeared to be beautifully constructed, complete with a closed foot and solid torpedo tip.  Pre-light draws gave off an interesting mix of sweet, lemony citrus and smoky cedar.

After a super-easy light the cigar opened up with a particularly potent dose of baking spice surrounding a base of cocoa and earth. After only one inch the Chupacabra began to show significant flavor progression as the profile shifted from robust to creamy smooth in the course of two puffs. The intensity of the spice dropped out almost completely as light notes of earth and semi-sweet cocoa became the main event. Approaching the 2nd third I was looking at fat ashes and a razor-straight burn.

 A less-drastic transition occurred going into the next portion, with the profile evolving to notes of cedar, cream, cocoa, and just the occasional dash of peppery spice. Cool clouds of white smoke poured out in every draw, and at the 3” mark I still hadn’t ashed. A bit further in, a new malty sweetness and some strong leather began to creep in, right around the time I found myself in danger of burning into the cigar’s secondary band.

In the final third it was back to cream city. Flavors were smooth and the smoking was easy. Whatever it is that lends the cream note to a cigar did a great job here of masking that inevitable “last-third funk” that shows up in almost every stogie. A quick retrohale assured me that the zesty spice was still present here, though well-hidden. With about an inch to spare I decided I had seen enough and finally dropped the nub.

The Chupacabra Torpedo had a good range of well-balanced flavors and took some nice surprising turns during the course of the smoke. Also, this stick had one of the most picturesque burns of any review I’ve done in recent memory, and a perfectly-suited draw as well. There were a couple of brief periods where the flavor was a bit “bland” for my taste, but never unpleasant. This was a cigar where the careful thought put into its creation was quite apparent, and I award it an A grade. Like I stated earlier, I don’t know much about Esteban Carreras, but I do know they make some fine cigars.

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