Monday, April 20, 2009

My Weekend Cigar: San Cristobal Clasico


We had our first really beautiful weekend in the Lehigh Valley, and this past Sunday I thought I'd try something new for me, so I took out a 5" x 50 San Cristobal Clasico that I had purchased about a month ago at the suggestion of a friend.

San Cristobal cigars are an Ashton creation made for them by, guess who?, Don José Pepin Garcia, and as puros go, are real beauties. Starting with the lush, perfectly even-toned Nicaraguan wrapper leaf, the cigar is adorned by one of the most attractive "old world" designed cigar bands, which features a colorful parrot. (My phone camera shot above doesn't do it justice. The wrapper was actually a couple of shades lighter in real life.)

Pre-light: The triple cap clipped-off (as I like it) in a perfectly round disc. The draw was excellent, and had I been blindfolded, I'd swear it was a Padrón Anniversary 1964 from its distinctive pre-light earthiness and cocoa & coffee bean essences.

The experience: Once lit however, the cigar took on a slightly different flavor character. The smoke was thick, ultra-creamy, and had a solid base of sweet, woody flavors with just a hint of cocoa in the mix, as well as in the aroma.

I paired it with a cup of coffee, which made a good match. Each draw was a creamy dream, but the flavor never varied from what I found to be a very appealing and enjoyable sweet, woody smoke from start to finish. I also wondered how this cigar would taste if paired with a really good single malt to counter some of the sweetness.

My gut tells me this is a much more complex cigar than I experienced because the smoke had something else going on in it that I just couldn't put my finger on in terms of flavor. Regardless, this cigar, and maybe it was just due to this particular shape, was a full-flavored, one-note aria, but it was sung like the late Luciano Pavarotti would have performed it in his prime.

The only downside to the cigar was the burn (see photo at left), but I blame that more on the wind conditions, since, when I turned the canoed side into the breeze, the cigar righted itself in the third act. The smoke was smooth as silk to the last half-inch, and due to it's perfect balance and lack of heavy spiciness, this is a cigar that even the novice can truly appreciate.

In a word: "par-excellence" and highly recommended.

~Gary Korb

1 comment:

MountChuck said...

Nice review. I've smoked quite a few of these, and the best pairing I've found is good sipping rum. One of the San Cristobal Maestros and some Pyrat XO on the rocks was one of the best smoking experiences of my year in 2008.