This cigar was teased as far back as the 2014 IPCPR Trade Show. In a Cigar-Coop interview with Mark Thompson of Esteban Carreras conducted at the Southern Cigar Festival, he revealed information about the Esteban Carreras Black Cross.
This cigar was reviewed blind (no bands) by a panel of at least 4 reviewers. They did not know what they were smoking beforehand. The scores are an average of all the reviewers' scores with outliers removed. All of our cigars reviewed are shipped to the panelists with Boveda packs to ensure optimal smoking experience.
Black Cross is a project that Esteban Carreras owner Craig Cunningham has been working on for the past two years. The cigar features a Habano Cafe wrapper over Nicaraguan binder and includes Jalapa valley ligero. There are six sizes in the line and is made at Tabacalera Carreras S.A. Bonita: 4 x 43 (Figuardo) Corona: 5 1/2 x 46 Cervantes: 5 3/4 x 46 (Figuardo) Robusto: 5 x 50 Toro 6 x 50 60: 6 x 60.
Esteban Carreras was a freedom fighter in Cuba who helped get people out of Cuba as Castro was coming into power. To identify “like minded people” against the Castro regime, a black cross was used to accomplish this. A black line would be drawn with charcoal. If the other person crossed that line, then that person knew they were dealing with a like minded person.
The cigar was showcased at the 2015 IPCPR Trade Show where it was officially put for sale. All sizes are in 20 count boxes except the Cervantes which comes in 10 count boxes.
Ring Gauge: 46
Country of Origin: Nicaragua
Wrapper: Habano Café
Factory: Tabacalera Carreras S.A.
Blender: Craig Cunningham
Number of reviewers: 5—–Jiunn (jliu) Steve (ThaGreatWazoo) Alan (Eulogy) Robert (NavyPiper) Wes (SosaCub4Life)
Age: 2 Months
Release Date: July 2015
Contributed by: Esteban Carreras
“The cigar has a nice chocolate brown complexion with a few ridged veins that run the length of the cigar. Other than the ridged veins, the wrapper is surprisingly smooth and non-oily. The double cap is well applied to the head of the cigar but is slightly chipped on the cap that holds the wrapper in place.” –Alan (Eulogy)
“Nosing the wrapper gives a heavy dose of flowers, barnyard and a sneezing white pepper. Nosing the foot gives namely sweet hay, white pepper and barnyard. Cold draw provides a dominant oily chili pepper and sawdust.” –Jiunn (jliu)
“First third provides namely an earthy flavor profile. At the core of it, flavors of mushroom musk, heavy cream, cocoa and vegetal notes. There is a slight pepper kick in the form of a slick and oily chili. Through retrohaling, I pick up intensified oily chili and dry wood. The finish is of a stale herb, perhaps cardamom. Body and strength is at a medium.” –Jiunn (jliu)
“Really good start to this cigar. Nice, smooth earth and leather take hold. The retrohale is pleasant and not overpowering. Towards the end of the first third, a nice coffee flavor comes out. Real nice complexity to start.” –Steve (ThaGreatWazoo)
“The coffee bean takes the center stage and the earthy tones finish the flavor profile quite nicely. Really good job on this cigar so far. Construction has held up great and the flavors are exquisite.” –Steve (ThaGreatWazoo)
“So far it’s been much of the same for me, the cigar still has that real nice hint of spice that really complements that overall smooth and creaminess of the stick. So far the burn as been just perfect as well.” –Wes (SosaCub4Life)
“The bitterness that developed the last third has thankfully died down. Tobacco, nuts, leather and red pepper have made this third far more enjoyable than the last two. There is a slight creaminess to the retrohale which is finally adding some dimension to the cigar.” –Alan (Eulogy)
“I have not noticed much in the way of transitions, but I have really enjoyed this cigar so far. It draws very well for a smaller stick, produces a lot of smoke and it continues to have that great balance of spicy yet smooth. It seems to get better as each third moves along. The spiciness of the cigar has seemed to pick up some here towards the end.” –Wes (SosaCub4Life)
“The draw was spot on, especially for a smaller stick, it was great.” –Wes (SosaCub4Life)
“Burn was good. Not razor sharp, but for the most part straight with an occasional slight wave that corrected itself.” –Robert (NavyPiper)
“Very nice construction. Good clean cigar, nice feel and great smoking experience.” –Steve (ThaGreatWazoo)
Overall Strength: Medium
Overall Body/Complexity: Medium
Overall Experience: 85
“This cigar did not fit my flavor wheelhouse. The dominant note of mushroom musk was very off-putting. That, combined with the stale bitterness was not a good combination. I will pass for future opportunities to smoke this.” –Jiunn (jliu)
“This was a pleasant surprise to smoke. Had a smaller ring gauge, but packed a great experience. Excellent flavors and complexity build up throughout and lead to such a great overall cigar that everyone should try. Grab some and enjoy.” –Steve (ThaGreatWazoo)
“This is one of those rare cigars where the final third is by far the best. It’s not really saying much since the first two thirds were lackluster and developed an overwhelming bitterness. Some age may help smooth out some of the rough notes of the cigar but it wasn’t really a cigar that would deserve room in the humidor to find out.” –Alan (Eulogy)
“To be honest, this stogie was a major let down for me. I’d almost rate it unsmokeable. The chemical flavor was bloody awful and I was starting to feel nauseas near the end. The other flavors might have stood a chance if that other flavor wasn’t present. No desire to try another one.” –Robert (NavyPiper)
“Overall, I really enjoyed this stick. Like I have said earlier, it had that perfect balance to it. There was a good amount of spice that did seem to pick up as the smoke when on, but throughout it still remained a nice, smooth, creamy smoke. I would be interested in what other sizes this cigar comes in. I would like to smoke this again once I find out what it is.” –Wes (SosaCub4Life)