Size: 5 1/2 x 54
Wrapper: Nicaraguan Habano Criollo
Binder and Filler: Dominican Olor and Cuban-seed Nicaraguan
Price: Give or take $7.00
Behind The Stick:
Surprisingly enough, the Kristoff brand has been around for a very short time ( 2005 ) and yet have been putting a pretty wide variety of cigars into the market. I first heard of the line from the Kristania name, a cigar I was not overly impressed with but ‘for the price’ fit the bill – and Kristoff even remarks they are the ‘budget conscious’ smokes of their brand, aside from the ‘its a boy/girl’ cigars they also offer. The main thing that caught me with the Kristoff brand was the packaging – although a bit on the plain side when looking at the box, squished up and surrounding the cigars are layers of actual tobacco leaf. I love the simplicity of the design with a certain ‘pop’ that will forever imbed this style into my mind – but, enough jabbering about a cool box, how the hell do the Kristoff Criollo’s smoke?!
As I said before, to me the Kristoff Criollo looks like something that would have been boxed and shipped years ago. The dark brown wrapper carries this slight, but noticable red hue, the foot is unfinished and the head is adorned with a pigtail cap but if I have to bitch, it is that the cigars feel like rocks. Not over filled or firm, but solid enough to hammer in a nail ( okay, not that firm but you get my point ). A few medium sized veins to round it out, and a dash of brand removal cussing and in hand we have a great looking and ‘appearing’ near perfect cigar. The draw was not overly tight inspite of the firm feel to the cigar, I guess what more can you ask for?
The Kristoff Criollo starts off with a healthy dose of spice but carries heavy hints of earth and this bitter tang I could not put my finger on. Although very sweet on my lips and a smooth draw, this start kept me guessing – it was not ‘unplesant’ and not nearly as irritating as some other cigars ‘warm up inch’ but enough to where I feel I need to point it out – this son of a bitch starts out bitter. There. Once we get past that point, the real flavors of cedar, sweet spices ( kind of a cinnamon hit ) and carried this savory overtone I really enjoyed. The cigar smoke felt ‘thick’ if that makes sense – not creamy or anything like that, but literally as if I could take a physical bite out of the smoke. Thankfully this cigar is well balanced, none of the flavors outweighed the others but thats about where it ends – this flavor profile pretty much hung solid until the end.
In the sub $10.00 usd range, we all have to take our expectations and drop them down a notch if your one of the lucky people who are used to the Opus or Zino ‘complex’ smokes – but at the same time don’t think you have to smoke dog shit cigars because your not getting the $30 smokes every day. The Kristoff Criollo is ‘exciting’ – to me at least. The presentation, look and feel of the cigar, unfinished foot and pigtail cap almost draws your imagination to ‘cigar days of long ago’- when sitting back and relaxing with a cigar and bullshitting with the guys was about style and status. The reason I say style and status is that although the Kristoff Criollo gives off an amazing room aroma, I was a little underwhelmed in the flavor department. They are solid smokes, please don’t take me wrong, but with the exception of a few ‘ooo what is coming up next’ moments the cigar was fairly linear – solid, but linear. I know at $7 bucks a pop, a box purchase could put these into the normal rotation but for the same 7 bucks I feel there may be some more ‘entertaining’ and complex cigars you can find.
I enjoy the Kristoff Criollo’s – hell, I’d even go out and buy another 5 pack of them – but for those who are looking to fill some space in their humidor I think a box purchase should hold off till you find out if they fit your personal flavor profile. For myself, if I found them at the right price I’d pick up a box but at the $140 for 20 price, I’m going to hold off just a bit longer. If you have had a chance to give them a try, let me know what you thought!
Every Cigar Has A Story, Every Smoke A Memory