San Cristobal Steve R The first few months leading up to each RTDA include a massive influx of hype, whispers, ratings, reviews, and of course excitement. Each year, several cigars remain the focal point throughout the show. Whether they’re from CAO, Felipe Gregorio, Perdomo, or Rocky Patel...these are the cigars we’re all waiting to try. And so we hit the show floors with burned-out palates, ready to purchase all the cigars you, as an enthusiast, open our catalog hoping to find. During this time, it’s easy for a cigar to fall short of our clouded, manipulated expectations. Today’s cigar makers are doing amazing things with tobacco, and we expect a lot out of them. This does not mean the cigar is ‘bad’ or undeserving of praise, but we often need to re-evaluate a cigar with an open mind in order to truly appreciate what it has to offer. On the other hand, some cigars are winners out of the gates. Such is the case with San Cristobal. San Cristobal is a collaboration between Ashton and Jose ‘Don Pepin’ Garcia. It hails from Pepin’s Nicaraguan factory, and is comprised entirely of Nicaraguan tobaccos, including a dark Nicaraguan Corojo wrapper. Each cigar is fitted with a triple-cap in true Cuban fashion, and sports traditional sizes with a few extras betwixt. The cigar is crafted well. Heavy in the hand, no soft spots, top-notch wrappers, and perfectly applied caps. Throughout the burn, I pick up a mixed bag of complex flavors. It opens with a robust, spiceness and morphs into a rich smoke with various notes of cedar, nuts, cocoa, and coffee. There’s even a little saltiness to the cigar that somehow fits. The flavors are smooth and balanced, hitting different parts of my palate as I roll the smoke around the inside of my mouth, and each puff finishes with a long aftertaste that hits the back of my palate in a bold, yet crisp manner. The flavors are pronounced, yet far from overwhelming, and manage to keep my mind off the full-bodied nature of the tobaccos at play. The aroma is that of sweet wood. The ash burns white and firm. Try it.