Brand: San Cristobal by Ashton
Blender: Don Pepin Garcia
MSRP: Between $7.25 and $12.00
Purchased From: Varies
San Cristobal is a well known Cuban Cigar brand which has seen recent popularity as a Nicaraguan Brand. The Nicaraguan brand is made by the famed Don Pepin Garcia exclusively for Ashton Cigars.
The San Cristobal is available in eight sizes, which include a Papagayo (55 x 5.75), Fancisco (44 x 5.50), Clasico (50 x 5.00), Supremo (50 x 6.00), Guajiro (46 x 6.625), Fabuloso (52 x 6.125), Monumento (49 x 7.25), and a Maestro (60 x 6.00). Cigars are packaged in boxes of 21 and 22 and range from $142.95 to $236.95.
After Mike and I got our bearing straight with how the video was going to flow, we began the pre-light inspection. What we found on both samples, from different purchase dates and locations, was that they were very similar. Both exhibited a dark brown wrapper with even coloring from head to foot.
When pinch, both samples felt very firm and did not contain and hollow spots throughout. My cigar was so firm that I feared potential draw problems due to overfilling. It seemed as though Mike’s San Cristobal wasn’t as over-filled as my sample.
After getting a good look at our cigars, we moved right along to opening them up. Both Mike and I used a guillotine style cutter to open up the triple caps. The cold draw produced a natural tobacco sweetness with plenty of resistance.
After the toasting and lighting process was complete, both Mike and I had our cigars lit and were ready to get things underway. Right off the bat, the body was in the medium to full range while the finish was mildly creamy and smooth on the palate. When the smoke was passed through the sinuses, I noticed a sharp spiciness that I found appealing.
The flavor profile was where the two of us began to see a divide. Mike noticed a heavy woody flavor and even commented about feeling as though he was “chewing on a 2×4”. I, on the other hand, did not notice much in terms of a woody flavor. I picked up more of a generic Nicaraguan Tobacco taste with a mildly sweet and peppery after-taste.
With Mike’s cigars being relatively new, due to a recent purchase, my San Cristobal was resting in the humidor for a number of months. I think that the age on my cigar may have possibly mellowed out the very woody flavor that Mike was tasting.
As we neared the one-hour mark, Mike and I were most of the way through the second third of our Ashton San Cristobals. Despite smoking two different sizes, the two seemed to have a very similar smoke time.
This portion of the cigar seemed to remain consistent with the previous third. The body remained medium to full with a mildly creamy finish. The smoke was easy on the palate and deliver a nice little sharp spice through the sinus. The flavor profile also remained the same between both cigars.
The burn on my San Cristobal was thin and even for most of the stick, while Mike experienced some waviness in his burn. The ash formed by my cigar was tightly compacted and light gray in color, while Mike’s ash was flaky and slightly darker. The draw remained firm on my sample and as beginning to have a negative impact on the way I viewed my cigar.
After nearly two-hours of smoking, Mike and I were getting close to wrapping up our San Cristobal cigars. Just like in previous thirds, there wasn’t much change to report on. The body remained the same and remained medium to full while the finish remained mildly creamy and easy on the palate.
Just like the body and finish, the flavor profile did not go through any changes along the way. I was expecting a bit of progression, at some point, but it just never came. The core flavor remained that of a typical Nicaraguan Tobacco taste with some woody tones throughout. When the smoke was passed through the sinuses, there was a definite sharp spice which tickled the nose, as well as a bit of pepper.
On the construction end of things, we began to see a variance between the two cigars, once again.
While my sample was burning neatly and producing a tightly compacted ash, Mike was dealing with a flaking ash and some canoing during the later stages of the cigar.
The one and only construction issue that I was having problems with, was the stiff draw. As the cigar began to grow short, the extra effort required to get a mouthful of smoke was making my San Cristobal warm on my fingers. Mike’s sample, which had a slightly larger ring gauge, didn’t seem to be giving him much trouble.
After a solid two-hours of smoking, it was time that Mike and I take one final look at the cigar and determine if we felt it was a good value. Simply put, we did not feel that the San Cristobal was worth the nearly double digit price it commands.
I found the stiff draw to be off-putting and Mike’s sample seemed to be running into routine burn issues along the way. With the cigar being so consistent, from start to finish, we grew tired of the same groupings of flavor without any sort of change-up along the way.