Each year when I go to the Premium Cigar Association (PCA) Trade Show, one of the companies I most look forward to visiting is Esteban Carreras. Esteban Carreras typically has one new release a year and launches it at the Trade Show. Esteban Carreras does not announce what its new cigar is before the trade show, attempting to preserve the element of surprise until the show opens. At the 2022 PCA Trade Show, Esteban Carreras unveiled its release for 2022, Taken From The Devil’s Hand. This would be Esteban Carreras’ first Corojo-wrapped release. In 2023, a maduro counterpart, the Taken From The Devil’s Hand Corojo Maduro, was introduced. Today we take a look at the Esteban Carreras Taken From The Devil’s Hand in the Toro size.
The story behind the name Taken From The Devil’s Hand goes back to the 1990s in Cuba. At the time, Gonzalo Puentes, the Minister of Tobacco, was tasked with enhancing the Corojo. This was done through positive selection by growing 100 plants, taking the best five, and regenerating them several times. Eventually, the positive selection seeds from the best plants were selected. It turns out the best seeds from the project were smuggled out of Cuba to Ecuador and Nicaragua – leaving the negative selection seeds to Cuba (or the “Devil” aka Fidel Castro).
Without further ado, let’s break down the Esteban Carreras Taken From The Devil’s Hand Toro and see what this cigar brings to the table.
Blend and Origin
The Corojo wrapper of Taken From The Devil’s Hand comes from Ecuador. The remainder of the blend features all Nicaraguan tobaccos for the binder and filler. Production comes from Esteban Carreras’ Tabacalera Carreras factory in Estelí, Nicaragua.
Wrapper: Ecuadorian Corojo
Country of Origin: Nicaragua
Factory: Tabacalera Carreras
Esteban Carreras’ Taken From The Devil’s Hand comes in three sizes. The Toro and Sixty sizes are available in 20-count boxes, while the Bootlit size comes in a 32-count box.
Bootlit: 4 3/4 x 46
Toro: 6 x 50
Sixty: 6 x 60
The Ecuadorian Corojo wrapper of the Esteban Carreras Taken From The Devil’s Hand Toro has] a dark cinnamon color to it. There were some very light oils present on the wrapper. Upon closer examination, there was a slight amount of mottling on the surface. There were also some visible veins, while the darker shade of the wrapper did a good job of minimizing the visibility of the wrapper seams.
The Esteban Carreras Taken From The Devil’s Hand has two bands, a paper sleeve, and a ribbon on it. Prior to commencing the pre-light draw, the sleeve was removed (the secondary band and ribbon are affixed to the sleeve, so they come off with the sleeve). From that point, a straight cut was used to remove the cap of the cigar. Once the cap was removed, it was on to the pre-light draw ritual. The cold draw delivered notes of sweet natural tobacco and earth. While this wasn’t the most complex of pre-light draws, this one had a nice flavor and led to a satisfactory pre-light draw experience. At this point, it was time to toast up the footer of the Esteban Carreras Taken From The Devil’s Hand Toro and see what the smoking phase would deliver.
The Esteban Carreras Taken From The Devil’s Hand Toro opened with notes of wood, earth, sweet cherry, and natural tobacco. Early on, the wood and earth notes moved into the forefront. The cherry and natural tobacco settled in the background. This was joined by a slight black pepper note and some baker’s spice. The cherry notes were the most prominent of the background notes. Meanwhile, on the retro-hale, there was a combination of wood, with some sweet natural tobacco and some pepper.
During the second third of the Esteban Carreras Taken From The Devil’s Hand Toro, the wood and earth notes remained in the forefront. The big change was the cherry sweetness diminished gradually while the pepper notes increased gradually. There still were notes of natural tobacco and baker’s spice that were present in the background.
The final third saw the wood and earth notes remain grounded in the forefront. The pepper was now the most prominent of the secondary notes in the background. There still were notes of cherry, natural tobacco, and baker’s spice rounding out the flavor profile. This was the way the Esteban Carreras Taken From The Devil’s Hand Toro came to a close. The resulting nub was soft to the touch and cool in temperature.
Overall the burn of the Esteban Carreras Taken From The Devil’s Hand Toro performed quite well. This was a cigar that maintained a straight burn path and had a straight burn line – requiring a minimal amount of touch-ups along the way. The resulting ash was skewed toward the firmer side. This was an ash that was silver-gray in color. The burn rate and burn temperature also maintained ideal levels.
On two of the three samples smoked for this assessment, the draw was a little higher than I prefer. Normally I like a touch of resistance on the draw, but in the case of the Esteban Carreras Taken From The Devil’s Hand Toro, I had to work the draw harder than I prefer.
Strength and Body
In terms of strength and body, the Esteban Carreras Taken From The Devil’s Hand Toro started out with medium strength and medium-bodied flavors. There was a slight increase in the intensity of both attributes along the way, but in the end, the cigar remained in the range of medium for strength and body.
When looking at strength versus body, both attributes balanced each other nicely, with neither attribute overshadowing the other.
BANDING AND PACKAGING NOTES
When it comes to packaging, Esteban Carreras really falls under the radar. I’ve been smoking Esteban Carreras for 14 years, and I have always liked the band and box designs. While I do love the design of the banding and packaging of the Esteban Carreras Taken From The Devil’s Hand, I don’t like the secondary band. As mentioned earlier, the secondary band is affixed to the paper sleeve. As a result, when the sleeve is removed, the secondary band also gets removed in the process. I would have much preferred the secondary band to be visible when smoking as it helps identify the cigar better.
The Esteban Carreras Taken From The Devil’s Hand Toro delivered a solid smoking experience. There was enough going on with this cigar to keep me interested from start to finish. This is a cigar that scores nicely on the flavor end. The draw that was snug on the two cigars I mentioned wasn’t terrible, but it could have been better. The $10.60 price point isn’t bad in today’s market. This is a cigar that I would recommend to either a novice or experienced cigar enthusiast. In the end, this is certainly a cigar I would buy and smoke again.
Key Flavors: Wood, Earth, Cherry, Natural Tobacco, Baker’s Spice, Pepper
Complexity: Medium Plus
Finish: Very Good
Value: Buy One
News: Esteban Carreras Taken From The Devil’s Hand Launched at 2022 PCA Trade Show
Brand Reference: Esteban Carreras
Photo Credits: Cigar Coop
Originally posted on October 7, 2023 @ 12:17 pm