Thursday, February 3, 2011

Kristoff Criollo

Size: 6 ½ X 56

Shape: Matador

Origin: Dominican

Body: Medium to Full
Wrapper: Nicaraguan Habano
Binder: Dominican
Filler: Dominican and Nicaraguan

Smoke Clock: 1hr, 5mins

Avoiding the winter chill, I poured myself a cup of coffee (courtesy of my local shop), nestled into a comfy chair, and lit up what was to be an eventful smoke: the Kristoff Criollo.

Prelight aromas were rich with earth & leather leading the way. There was also an unmistakable sweetness present that got my mouth watering. A little pre-light draw showed off the wide open construction of this stick with complex flavors complemented by an underlying sweetness. Man was I ready to light this baby!

Putting a flame to the foot, I tasted sweet earth and leather right off the bat. After a few puffs, pepper with underlying hints of nuts crept in, followed later in the first quarter by light cocoa and coffee notes. It was at this point that the adventure really began because, unfortunately, the wrapper began to fall apart on me.

Working my way through this mild tragedy, the flavor profile smoothed and balanced into the second quarter, eliciting dominant earth and leather notes with subtle nut and cocoa supporting. The sweetness that I tasted at first continued to hang around, coming and going in subtle waves.

As much as I was enjoying the flavor, I was NOT enjoying the disintegrating wrapper. By the time I’d reached the third quarter, the wrapper was in such a state of disarray that I finished the job and smoked the rest of the stick sans-wrapper. Not surprisingly, the flavor changed, making this an informative, although annoying, occurrence.

With the wrapper gone, the pepper in the profile ramped up substantially and the sweetness all but vanished. (I suppose that tells us where all the sweet flavors were coming from.) Earth and coffee notes also ramped up, turning this into a great black coffee accompanying smoke.

Reaching the end, I lay this stick to rest. I must say that flavor wise, this is probably my favorite of the Kristoffs that I’ve smoked. The draw was excellent and I didn’t experience any serious burn issues. My only problem with this stick was that the wrapper came off completely; starting with a few cracks that eventually caused the demise of the entire leaf. If this occurrence did not repeat itself on other Kristoff Criollos, this would be a smoke that I would reach for again. Even now, I would reach for one with the hope that it would keep its wrapper on.


Presentation: 6/10 – I really dislike their bands. However, this band is a little better than their others. More contrast guys, more contrast! I’d like to read these bands clearly, please.

Appearance: 8/10 – Before it vaporized, the wrapper was virtually seamless, oily, consistent in color, and thinly veined. It did have that wrinkled appearance that I’ve come to associate with Kristoff, but that’s ok. This stick also featured a rough cut foot and a pig tail cap.

Construction: 34/35 – Bang, wiiiiiiiiiiiiizz, phew, kapow! Fire off the big guns for this category because they really did a stellar job assembling this smoke. I just wish the wrapper hadn’t exploded.

Flavor: 43/45 – Excellent flavor clarity, purity, and blending. I just wish the wrapper hadn’t fallen off.

Overall: 91/100 – If the wrapper hadn’t violently ripped itself from the cigar, this would’ve been an incredible overall experience. Even considering this unfortunate fact, I really enjoyed this cigar. The construction was spot on and the flavors were delicious. I’d recommend picking one up to try. I sincerely hope that yours only causes metaphorical explosions - on your taste buds.


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