Tag Archives: Kristoff

A Special Havana Cigar, a Kristoff Event and Invaluable Auctions

Back in 2007 I had very little idea what a blog was, nor would I have imagined I’d be writing one, but I was still a little over ten years into my cigar obsession (no relation). I was known in my circle of friends as the go to cigar guy. So when my only daughter announced her wedding plans, I went to work myself and quickly procured a box of Romeo y Julieta Coronitas en Cedro to share on the special day. Mitchell Orchant of C-Gars Ltd in the UK had recently partnered in the Casa del Habanos in Hamburg, Germany, I only would buy Havanas from a trusted source, and Germany had a much better pricing structure than the UK. So the Romeo y Julieta Coronitas en Cedro is a Petit Cetros in Cubas Vitolas de Galera, or a Petite Corona measuring a shade over 5″ and 40 ring gauge. I selected this cigar for a couple of reasons: small format to not spend too much time away from the reception, the presentation is nice with the cedar sleeves, it’s a mild and flavorful cigar that can be appreciated by occasional smokers and seasoned RyJ CeCveterans alike, and while not the best story of long-term romantic commitment, it’s the most romantic of the Cuban marcas. I passed out the majority of the box, be held on to four of them. Two were smoked when my youngest son turned 18 (he’s 23 now), since his older brother had smoked his first cigar at 18 at his sister’s wedding, it was a tradition. I smoked one Friday evening on my daughter and her husband’s tenth anniversary and the cigar was fantastic. It was smooth and refined, with some floral notes and a hint of the Cuban “twang”. Ten year’s rest didn’t hurt this cigar at all. If I was smart I’d buy a box to bury in the humidor for 10 years. I’m saving the last one for their 20th anniversary!

 

GlenCase

Photo by Robyn Parsons

Later in the evening I took a drive down the street to Old Havana Cigar Company where they were having a Kristoff event. Glen Case was there with the local rep, Robyn, so I figured it was the excuse I needed to pick up some Kristoff cigars I haven’t tried. I’ve been woefully negligent of this line. No real excuse, I love the Epic line which is made at the same factory (Charles Fairmon cigar factory in Santiago de los Caballeros). I’ve been hearing a bunch about the Pistoff Kristoff for the last year, and had just picked up a couple of the Corona Gordas in the last couple weeks. I lit up a 6 x 60 there at the shop.  I Kristoff_PistoffKristoff_CoronaGordamet Glen Case at the IPCPR briefly a couple of years ago, but never really got to talk to him, then last summer we were in line together at the hotel check-in and he greeted me like he knew who I was. I don’t expect to be remembered by these cigar company owners who meet hundreds of people, so it always surprises me. It was a fairly quiet event, well attended as there were no open chairs in Old Havana’s rather large lounge. I hung out in the front for a while and talked with Robyn, Tony, the owner, Glen, and another customer. I had a migraine coming on, so I wasn’t at my best, and the Pisstoff, was pissing me off a little as it wasn’t really working right (something I could have mentioned to Glen, but I had another one, and some at home and it wasn’t that bad, just didn’t get a ton of smoke from it). I was into the flavor though, it has a natural fermented San Andrés wrapper (where most are fermented to a maduro), and had a nuts and caramel kind of flavor. I rarely smoke the same cigar twice in a row, but I lit up a Corona Gorda last night while watching the Flyers game on the porch (being able to sit in the screened in porch in October and smoke and watch hockey is a great thing…in shorts, at 10:00pm!). The Corona Gorda is 5½ x 48 and has the Natural San Andrés wrapper, Indonesian binder and Nicaraguan fillers, the 6×60 is…6″ x 60. I’ve been lead to believe that this was a really powerful smoke, but I found it to be on the high side of medium.  If it was “deceivingly strong” like the marketing materials state, it deceived me, although I’ll go along with the Full Flavored line, as it was (on the example that burned right…). I also got a Kristoff Cameroon and a couple of Kristoff San Andrés to try. I like the closed foot and pigtail cap that are trademark features across the line.

 

My wife has been following this auction site called Invaluable, and watches for cigar related items. She pointed Lot 457 JFK's Personal H. Upmann Cigarsout some interesting items to me this week, some from JFK’s humidor. I tend to be skeptical about auctions of cigars claiming to be from JFK, although I’m sure it’s possible, and I guess reputable auction houses would verify such things. My wife got me a really cool little cast iron boxer and moldcigar mold that she won in an auction here, and if you search “cigar” there are all kinds of neat items that come up. A few weeks ago there was a cool 7-20-4 sign on auction that happened to be not far from here. I tipped off Kurt Kendall, who owns the name now, but he missed the auction. I watched it live, but was afraid to bid in case I was bidding against Kurt! Anyway, if you are into auctions and collectibles, this is a site to check out.

 

That’s all for today, until the next time,

 

CigarCraig

 

 

 

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An Enclave and Cigars on a Friend’s Deck in February: Kristoff and La Flor Dominicana

AJF_Enclave_ToroThe weather has been unseasonably warm here in SE PA, 70s in February? I love not having to bundle up for my evening walks, or thaw my fingers with the propane heaters when I get home.  I can’t help to think we are going to pay for what has been a mild winter with little snow in March, but I’ve enjoyed this great weather! Any way you look at it, Spring is on its way, and that’s a great thing. So Friday evening’s cigar was an AJ Fernandez Enclave Toro, a 6″ x 52 covered foot beauty (the covered foot was this weeks trend as it turns out). I’ve been abusing myself lately, last week  I tripped and fell, and Friday I burned the crap out of my mouth biting into a pizza roll. Pizza Rolls, when microwaved according to the directions, attains internal temperatures approaching that of the sun. Not exactly a high-brow menu choice, granted, but a guilty pleasure that just needs to be handled a little more carefully. So, I didn’t want to smoke something unfamiliar and miss something with a compromised palate ( not that my palate is anything to write home about).  The Enclave is a familiar cigar, known to have excellent flavor, burn and be strong enough to taste, but not so strong as to do further damage. Did I know this came in a broadleaf wrapper too?  One more cigar for my shopping list, I suppose, because the Habano wrapped version is a great smoke, an easy choice for a “go-to” list.

 

Kristoff CTSaturday I decided I wanted to get out for a smoke, so I dropped my amigo Mike a note and he invited me over to have cigars on his deck. He told me the cigars would be on him, which is weird for me because I’m accustomed to being the one to provide the smokes. Mike only lives a few miles away, and we met when he won one of the presents in a 12 Days of Spectacular Giveaways a couple of years ago and got together at a local shop. We’ve become good friends since.  So I selected a cigar from Mike that I hadn’t had before, a Kristoff Connecticut Robusto. Kristoff is a brand that I hear about all the time, but I haven’t smoked a great many of their offerings. I don’t know why that is really, they look great, I love the Epic line of cigars that is made in the same factory as the Kristoff, and they have a huge portfolio of cigars with yummy sounding names, like San Andrés and Cameroon and Habano. Also, a lot of them have a pigtail cap and a closed foot, both features I like. It doesn’t get much better than sitting outside on an unexpectedly warm, sunny day enjoying a great cigar with a friend.  This Connecticut was a medium bodied smoke with nice flavors, not really heavy on the typical grassy Connecticut shade flavor, but a nice, mellow smoke. As the wind kicked up a bit with a front coming in, the burn stayed even and this was a very satisfying cigar.

 

LFD FirecrackerMike generously offered me a La Flor Dominicana Double Ligero Firecracker, from 2 Guy’s Smoke Shop‘s Firecracker series. Last fall I had the opportunity to smoke the Cro-Magnon version in this series, with was quite awesome (read about it here, ironically, I also featured the Cigar Prop in the same post, and look forward to hearing Kevin talk about that on Kiss My Ash Radio that aired yesterday). The Firecracker is a 3¼” x 50 with a long tail that makes it resemble an M80 firecracker, and the blends are generally on the stronger side to go along with the theme. 2 Guy’s usually has these in time for the 4th Of July, and this year’s iteration is made by Fratello Cigars. I think Mike was willing to part with this cigar because he was a little intimidated by it, having heard that it was unbearably strong. This one also had a covered foot, making it the third cigar in a row for me with that particular feature. The cigar started off with a burst of strength, and some extra flavor from the wrapper. I kinda feel bad for smoking this cigar, because while it was strong, I don’t think it was too strong that Mike wouldn’t have enjoyed it. I do greatly appreciate the chance to smoke this great little cigar, which timed out perfectly as a front rolled in dropping the temperatures and bring a thunderstorm. Again, thanks to Mike for his generosity and hospitality (don’t forget to check out Mike and his daughter’s site, WineadorArt.com, to customize the glass on your humidor, cabinet or wineador. I’m thinking of commissioning a piece for my cabinet…).

 

I guess I’m going to have to reach out to John Budka, the winner of last week’s contest, as I haven’t heard from him yet and want to get the goodies mailed out. That’s all for today, until the next time,

 

CigarCraig

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Kristoff CRA, 601 Bunker Buster and La Jugada Cigars

I’ve been largely absent from writing and social media since my wife’s father passed away this week.  My wife has been busy making arrangements and tomorrow he’ll be laid to rest in New Jersey. I’m sure everyone understands why I missed my Wednesday post for the first time in several years.  I smoked many cigars with Mario over the years, I remember him telling me early on that cigars cooled you off on a hot day, and he had a story about coming through customs at the Canadian border with a three pack of Havanas, having them confiscated, and telling the agents “I hope you f**king enjoy them!”.  He would lick and chew up the cigars I gave him and ruin them, then complain about them not being too good. It didn’t matter to me really as I was happy to share. We lived with him for the last year and a half or so, so it’s going to be weird not having him around. May he rest in peace.

 

KristoffCRASince it’s been hectic around here, I haven’t really smoked too many notable cigars. Sunday I lit up a Kristoff maduro of some sort which came from the Cigar Rights of America, and I can’t recall which year I got it, maybe this year. I took my favorite summer chair out in the yard and enjoyed this maduro cigar while catching up on podcasts. It had a nice pigtail cap and closed foot, it was a really good looking cigar.  Since this is supposed to be a special blend just for the CRA, I don’t know the blend, nor will I speculate on it. It was reasonably heavy in body and full of dark, decadent flavors. I haven’t smoked a bunch of Kristoff cigars, but I should probably try some more based upon this cigar. I have about five more of these special CRA editions that I’ve accumulated over the years that I’ll get to in the near future.  Don’t forget, time is running out to leave your comments on the FDA site.  Just do it.

 

601_BunkerBusterLater in the day I realized it was June first, so I figured I’d smoke a 601 of some sort.  I had recently received some 601 La Bomba Bunker Buster, which is the newest micro-blend from Smoke Inn. This cigar is a 5 ½” x 56 box pressed figurado that’s lighter in the hand that one would expect. This cigar wasn’t as potent as it’s La Bomba cousins, and I smoked an Atom on Tuesday to get a bit of a comparison.  I enjoyed the Bunker Buster immensely on it’s own merit, but I don’t think it packed the punch for me that the regular line does.  It’s a really cool shape with a wide open draw and even burn, despite feeling under filled.  If you like the 601 line, you have to give these a try if you can, and even if you aren’t a strong cigar fan, try it because it’s not as strong as you’d think.

 

La Jugata Habano BelicosoLater in the week I smoked another cigar from Erik Espinosa’s La Zona factory (the 601 Atom might be a leftover from the My Father factory, it’s been in my humidor for a while), the La Jugada Habano.  This is another really great cigar with a perfect burn and draw, and full, rich flavors. This is a great cigar to take a nice long walk with. It’s a 6 1/8″ x 52 belicoso with a beautiful Ecuador Habano wrapper.  The website recommends a full meal before this one, but since it’s been a crazy week for me, I can’t remember what I ate, but it was a very good smoke.  I think both the Prieto and Habano lines are really good cigars from Moya Ruiz Cigars.

 

montecristo_petitedmundoYesterday, after the majority of guests left our home where the post-funeral reception was held, I lit up a little Montecristo Petit Edmundo that has been in the humidor for about a year.  This is a cool little robusto, measuring 4 3/8″ x 52, which is a unique vitola in the Havana range.  I picked this because it was pretty short and it was on the top row of the humidor.  I enjoyed this cigar so much that I picked up a toothpick to finish it off.  It had some sweetness and that unmistakable Cuban “twang”.  I felt like my father-in-law would have enjoyed this cigar.  I wished it had been longer, but it was tasty. While I don’t feel that Cuban cigars are really any better than Nicaraguan, Honduran, Dominican, etc. cigars, they certainly have a distinctive flavor that you don’t find in others, and I happen to enjoy it from time to time.  Real ones are worth sampling.

 

That’s it for today.  It’s been an exhausting week, more for my wife than me, so we’re trying to grab a little bit of normal while we have a chance. Tomorrow will be another busy day as we drive to New Jersey for the cemetery portion of the funeral.  Hopefully the coming weeks settle  down and we can get our bearings.  Until the next time,

 

CigarCraig

 

 

 

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Midweek Cigars: An H. Upmann and a Kristoff

Welcome to the midweek edition, I’m working on some rather exciting things regarding the appearance of the site, so stay tuned!  If all goes well, there will be a new look over the next week or so.  I’m excited about it, as the look of the site has remained unchanged for the last 24 months and it’s time to spruce things up a little!

 

I dipped into the IPCPR show samples again and came up with this short, fat H.Upmann Sun Grown from AltadisUSA. I was taking an evening walk and wanted something short and different, so I picked out  this chubby robusto, which they call a Short Churchill.  Odd name, but I suppose if the “Churchill” in the line is 7″ x 54, then a 4½” x 54 is a Short Churchill…why not.  This was a super enjoyable smoke. Pretty rich in flavor and well behaved, although the draw was a bit loose and it smoked pretty fast.  Usually I can get more than a mile and a half (which is about two laps around my neighborhood) out of a cigar this size, with a few more minutes on the front porch to finish.  This one was just about done at the end of my walk.  This is another instance where, had I know the draw was so loose, I would have tried the punch first before whacking the whole end off of it.  At least if the punch doesn’t cut it, I can still give it the full clip, but you can’t really do it the other way around (well, with some pectin, extra wrapper leaf, a little skill and patience, I suppose one could conceivably put a new cap on and punch it, but that’s an awful lot of work…)  Anyway, totally decent cigar which I’d smoke again in a heartbeat!

 

Once again, I was in the mood for something different, so I grabbed a Kristoff Kristania robusto, one of two that I had picked up at Cole’s Tobacco Shop In Pottstown, PA a few months ago.  I have very limited experience with the Kristoff line, I think a Corojo that I smoked at the Delaware Cigar Festival was about the extent of my Kristoff exposure.  They look like really nice cigars, they always have a nice presentation, nice wood boxes with the cigars comfortably nestled in picadura tobacco.  The Kristania, on the other hand, is their budget line, and the cigar looks nice, the wrapper has a nice oil to it, and is kind of mottled in an attractive way.  As it turns out, I was very upset with myself for having put a Cain F Corona back in favor of this one.  I had some trouble keeping the wrapper burning, and wasn’t a big fan of the flavor.  Maybe this is mixed filler, which could account for the tunneling, but I don’t feel like this was worth my $4.95 all things considered.  I’m quite willing to explore the other cigars in the line, as the Corojo was a really nice cigar, but I’ll be avoiding the Kristania in the future.  I will say that, for the most part, Criollo wrappers don’t typically agree with my palate, and the burn problems and smoke production really took away from the experience.

 

Not a lot else going on!  Don’t forget to  go to to the Cigar Rights of America site to send a letter to your elected officials. Or you can use the widget in my side bar on the right, between the IPCPR and CRA logos.
Until the next time,

CigarCraig

 

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Cigars So Far: Kristoff and CAO, A Schnorr, and Some 7-20-4s

I forgot to make mention of the cigars I smoked at the Delaware Cigar Festival. As I said, the format was that cigars were for sale at the vendors tables. $3.00 per cigar, with 100% of the proceeds going to charity, which was the family of a local police officer recently killed in the line of duty. I purchased a handful of cigars, some I wanted to try and some favorites I don’t see very often. Obviously, in most cases $3.00 each is an excellent deal for a lot of the cigars that were offered. I started with a Kristoff Corojo and I regret not getting a second one of these. Very nice cigar and a nice way to start the day. I also smoked a CAO OSA Sol Lot 50 that, while not as good as the first one I smoked, was very nice. Buy the time I picked up the OSA it had been out on a table most of the afternoon, not right out of a humidor. No worries as I did get another one of these. When I buy singles I like to buy in pairs for some reason. I also picked up some Murcielagos from Eddie Ortega as well as a bunch of other assorted goodies.

 

Sunday I closed out the weekend with a Berger & Argenti Mooch Schnorr which was a sample from the IPCPR show. I love the name of this, even though it’s a little redundant. For those who don’t know “Schnorr” is a Yiddish term for a mooch. I know this because I have a good friend who refers to another friend as such, and it cracks me up. So while I was at the show in July, having a Cuban coffee with Kiki Berger in his booth, he made sure I had some samples. In my limited experience at the IPCPR shows, Cuban Crafters has always been very generous with samples, however, a great many over the years have not been to my liking. This led me to avoid Cuban Crafters over the years, and it wasn’t until spending an excellent evening in Esteli with Mr. Berger that I re-thought that position. I’ve since enjoyed several other cigars that carry the Berger name. The Mooch Schnorr was really a very tasty cigar, I enjoyed it quite a bit. I would even go so far as to say it was the best cigar all week. It was smooth and flavorful and perfectly built. The sample I grabbed did have a small crack just below the cap line which gave me a few problems initially, until I patched it with part of the cap, which solved the problem completely. I smoked this down to a finger burning nub, and was sorry to see it end. The Schnorr is a nice size (robusto) and a tasty, well balanced blend. I can’t wait to dig into the rest of the samples from the show. I have some maduros and some more of the Entubar line to try.

 

By the time I was ready to sit down and enjoy a cigar on Monday it was getting fairly late. I was rooting through the humidor looking for something small and settled on the 7-20-4 Dogwalker that Kurt Kendal gave me when I met him at the 2010 IPCPR show. Don’t know why it took so long to get around to this one, it jsut did, what can I say.  The Dog Walker is a handsome little cigar, 4¼” x 40, with the same straight “pigtail” as the rest of the line.  It was definitely full flavored and may have been on the verge of being strong,  I enjoyed it quite a bit and it lasted close to 45 minutes before I put it down to go in for the night.  I don’t have a dog to walk, but my cat, Frank, hung out with my on the porch while I smoked it.  Nice little cigar and Kurt is a nice guy.

 

I visited Kurt at this years show and he gave me his 7-20-4 1874  blend to try.   While the regular line is made in Honduras, the 1874 is made in Nicaragua, with a lovely Nicaraguan wrapper.  This one had a very open draw, so I smoked it slowly.  It was a really nice smoke, I think it was a little bit milder than the Dog Walker, but had a more balanced flavor.  There was a taste in there that I really liked, can’t place it, but it was good. The sample I smoked was a robusto and I would happily smoke it again.  Nice job on this line extension.

 

As long as I’m ending on a 7-20-4 thing, here’s a little video Kurt took with me at the show.  Standard disclaimer applies: Don’t forget to turn down your PC speakers after watching so you don’t blow your speakers on the next Windows Error chime (or whatever weird sounds Macs make)!

 

 

That’s it for now, don’t forget to go to my previous post and enter the current contest!  Until the next time,

CigarCraig

 

 

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