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San Cristobal Cigars Taste Test

San Cristobal La Punta
Reviewed by Chuck Vaughan-Lloyd (May 2004)


Length 5 1/2" x 52 ring gauge EAR October 2002 I had a unique opportunity last night to enjoy a totally new Cuban Cigar for my palate. A very good friend and True Lover of the Habanos Leaf sent me one of these to try with the simple request that I write a short review of my tasting notes.

Let me say that those of you that do not have a MRN Book, that this cigar is a relative new introduction onto the Habanos scene and thus no preconceived ideas could be made as to what to expect. This line was launched in Havana in 1999. This is a completely new brand, not one that has been resurrected.

The Belicoso had a smooth light chocolate brown wrapper, which I could not find any veins. It had a solid firm feel as I felt it and thought to myself that this cigar had been kept properly. I had not really let it rest much from its journey, but knew that my friend has always maintained his humidors extremely well. I cut the tip about ¼ down and tried a pre-draw and tasted a fine robust tobacco flavor. The foot toasted well and as I took the first draw of rich smoke into my mouth I immediately knew that this was going to be quite a cigar!

I should back up just a bit and let you know that I was sitting at one of my favorite Cigar Bars (Famous Cigars & Elite Jazz) listening to a very nice acoustic Jazz band. I had the pleasure of enjoying a few rum and cokes while basking in the flavors of this cigar.

I would describe the profile as having rich woody flavors with a definite strong tobacco taste. The cigar had nice complexities with hints of floral and mild citrus notes. I would describe this cigar as being full bodied. It displayed strong Habanos tobacco flavors throughout the entire cigar while at the same time it maintained a spiciness that was difficult to describe. Toward the end I noticed heavy notes of rich earthiness along with the woody flavors. The San Cristobal maintained an excellent burn and I made a mental note that it burned very slow while never needing a touchup. Overall it was a nicely flavored aromatic cigar with many characteristics of wood, floral, spice and earth. It was balanced and left a very nice aftertaste. I remember that it was my belief that long-term aging would bring out the subtle complexities even more.

22/25 FLAVOR

Total Score: 90

This is an excellent cigar, and IMHO I enjoyed it much more than any of the recent Montecristo # 2's I've had over the past year. It should be known better, as it really caught my attention as a truly great cigar.

San Cristobal Wood and tobacco...YES !!
Spicy....YES !!
Descriptions for construction, draw, burn, taste situation etc...this is more like it. I have smoked more than a few of these...and it's described perfectly. Makes me want to light another...

Score: 8/10
Reviewed by Kevin R

In my opinion this is what a review should be, concise enough without being abrupt, long enough to be informative, sets the scene and background, mentions previous smokes as comparisons. Good work, a gold star - and I even agree about the cigar.
Score: 9.5/10
Reviewed by Richard Whitwell

Excellent review from start to finish...very impressive.
Score: 9/10


San Cristobal La Fuerza - 5 1/2, 50 ring gauge
Reviewed by Don Simpson - January 2002

Upon inspection the cigars were of fair construction, with sharp veins and a smooth satin finish. They were medium dark with a poorly applied cap.

The first cigar lasted approximately 40 minutes and I smoked it after dinner. The next two cigars were smoked at about the same time within the following 3 days. The time was about the same for all three cigars. The carbon ring was not consistent and varied in definition and color. It had a gray, firm ash, held tight by the sharp burned vein in the wrapper.

My first impression of the white smoke was sweet and light, but the blue smoke was warm and creamy, and tasted young and needed more time to enrich. The draw was easy but again the smoke was warm with hot spots and soft spots through out the shaft of the cigar. The wrapper already had begun to unravel and was starting to canoe. All three cigars had this same trait!

At first the taste of earth was very prevalent and turned 'dirt' like very quick. As the cigar continued to unravel, a prominent tobacco/burnt chocolate notes appeared. It was warm and continued to change slightly. Although it was not deeply complex the flavors continue to change slightly. I noticed slight nut with wood undertones; burnt coca bean and a slight spicy white pepper. The cigar then powered into strong balsa wood flavors and soured with a very dry finish. The true finish was less than pleasurable as the bitter - sour taste was lingering in my mouth for more than 20 minutes.

My overall impression is the cigar is young, needs some help in the blending, and quite surely on the construction. I would not probably purchase this smoke in the future, but age will help somewhat.

Thank you for the opportunity to give my opinions on these cigars.

San Cristobal El Morro
Reviewed by Jim Hansen & James Wallace (December 2001)

The 3 cigars I received were beautiful, "Churchill" sized cigars. All three had unusually nice wrappers when compared to many other premium Cubans on the market today. The wrappers were a smooth, dark, reddish brown color. Almost no seam was visible on theses beauties! The caps were just about perfect. The overall oiliness of the wrapper, combined with the chocolate/ cedar aroma promised a great smoke. One of the three El Morro's had a slightly cracked wrapper at the foot, and was slightly beginning to unravel at one third distance from the cap. No big deal, completely smokeable after it's long journey.

Cigar # 1 was enjoyed in the company of my good friend and fellow C.GARS customer (fanatic!) Jim Wallace. We reviewed these smokes together over two meetings at the local country club bar. We both ordered single malt scotches; an 18 yr. Glenmorangie, and a Talisker, and lit up the first cigar.

Cigar # 1 had a bit of a firm draw, which limited the amount of mouth filling smoke...bummer! The flavor was absolutely delightful and surprising! I wished for more smoke, but there was alot of complexity to this cigar. I looked forward to trying the other two in hopes of a better draw. My first impression was that I wanted to buy MORE of these! What were they? I had never had a San Cristobal. As the cigar burned to the 1/3 area, I noticed that this was a very meaty cigar, with overtones of a big red wine. Cinnamon, clove, chocolate flavors Really delighted me. The draw had loosened up a bit which was appreciated. As I continued to the last third of the cigar, the espresso flavor began, and an interesting new flavor stepped in; a fragrant floral note was present that I LOVED. I can't name the flower, but it was a heavy slight scent of some blooming tree. Very nice, not overpowering, just faintly present but intoxicating. The cigar finished smoothly. The ash color was salt and pepper and firm. I liked this cigar. Mr. Wallace thought it was exceptional as well.

EL Morro #2 was a much better draw. This cigar exhibited all of the same flavor traits, but with mouthfuls of smoke. 21/2" into this cigar the flavor intensified into cedar and chocolate. The same single malts were ordered as well, and were wonderful choices with these cigars! The cinnamon note presented itself with the floral note about halfway into this cigar and remained to the finish. A small burn problem was present at the halfway point, but quickly disappeared.

The floral note I try to describe is sublime to me. It is reminiscent of the scent that you get when it is the perfect spring night and you walk near a plant or tree that has a heavy, beautiful, unreal, heavenly scent...then it is gone. That may sound dramatic, but it was there! Mind you, this cigar is not scented artificially in any way! It is just very distant, but there in the complexity. This Vitola has complexities like a fine wine... dare I say a Chateau Haut Brion? I'll never forget the first time I had a bottle of that wine. That was my intro into the definition of complexity. These cigars can exhibit that kind of awareness of flavor. The cigar finished beautifully.

El Morro #3 was the same wonderful experience again. I can't really say anything was different in flavor. Slightly firm draw, a beautiful smoke. I would recommend this cigar to be enjoyed with a big malt whisky, big red wine, cognac or vintage port. Since there was no age submitted, I can only guess that these cigars are still fresh, and would age into something remarkable. These San Cristobals are new to me, and are definitely on my "buy" list.

In closing, if you haven't tried one, you are really missing out. I would say this new cigar will rival or surpass your favorite Montecristo or Cohiba. I have smoked many of both, and these babies are more complex, and more easily enjoyable right out of the box. Give them a try soon! A few years of age could be scary!

Jim Hansen and Jim Wallace C.GARS FANATICS!

San Cristobal El Principe
Reviewed by Michael Hochman (January 2001)

I decided to taste my three cigars in three distinct situations.

1. Cigar #1 - A day out with an old friend.
2. Cigar #2 - A first date.
3. Cigar #2 - Playing Pocket Billiards.

I must admit that the expectations are highest for cigar #2. Here's the timetable and a little background for each cigar.

1. Cigar #1 (Monday, February 05, 2001) was smoked after a day of errands, some shopping (TWO Charvet ties from Sacks 5th Avenue), a nice dinner (Ruth's Chris Steakhouse), and off to my favorite hotel lobby bar (The Minneapolis Hilton) for the best part of the day, relaxing with a friend (Heidi) and a good cup of coffee after a fulfilling dinner and my gifted Havana.

2. Cigar #2 (Tuesday, February 06, 2001) was smoked at during my first date with Ilona. We went to some modern art museum (splattered paint on canvas, incongruent sculpture, art I could not understand), had some pasta for lunch, and then back to The Minneapolis Hilton for cigar #2.

3. Cigar #3 (Wednesday, February 07, 2001) was smoked while using the game of pocket billiards as an excuse for separating my friends from their hard earned money. A victory cigar is always nice.

I began the cigar at 6:03 PM CST. I thought it might go well with a bit of coffee, cream and sugar. Indeed I was correct. It started out questionably. The flavor was certainly there, quite full, I'd say, but the complexity was not. I'd have to say the flavor was a bit flat and one dement ional. About 1/3 of the way through the cigar it became ripe with that 'Cubana' flavor. I don't really know how to describe that, but only Cuban cigars seem to have it. It's.err.. umm. well. Cubanish. The draw on this cigar was perfect. The feel of the cigar was perfect. The burn was perfect. The ash was beautiful. The flavor, however, was kinda dull. The little bastard burned long enough, though, it took me until 6:57 to burn my fingers. All in all, cigar #1 was a bit. dull.

I think all the modern art put me in a bad mood; A canvas painted solid black, a group of televisions with tap-dancing elfin racecar drivers, a wrecked auto painted solid gray. I was happy to get to cigar #2. Again I chose coffee (cream and sugar) and in the good, chatty company of my companion, I lit the little gemstone. DAMN the draw. I feared for my fillings as I tried to draw smoke from the stingy beast. About ½ way through I gave up and lit up a Bolivar Coronas Extra. I'm not going to tell you how wonderful that cigar is, because this taste test is about the San Cristobal. Unfortunately, however, the San Cristobal's impossible draw forced me to end this one early. I was also in direct competition with Ilona's clove cigarettes. As I'm sure you can understand, I needed an easy drawing cigar to see to it that the gentle, pleasing cigar aroma surrounded that clove cigarette nastiness.

I lit this one while beating my work companions out of their hard cash on the billiard table. It became the smoke of victory. I had almost the same trouble with draw, but it seemed to loosen up about ½ way through. It had that certain Cuban taste, but again, quite simple, not complex at all. It burned for almost an hour, just like cigar number one. For such a short cigar, I was surprised at the longevity. Although tastier than your average Dominican, I would have to grant this cigar with an overall review of 'flat' . I DID win a few dollars playing pool, however, so it might be a lucky smoke.