When I look at the Niche Brands from Habanos S.A., and those also released in the late 1990's, San Cristobal is more than likely my favorite of them all. I believe the line shows a lot of complexity and it is a flavor profile that is to my liking. One of the other reasons why I love the brand as well is because it is a brand that really pays tribute to Habana, home of Habanos. I think the packaging on it is great, they really did a terrific job of tying it into a lot of the older brands that have been around since the 19th Century, and the brand itself has a lot of great sizes in it as well, a lot of them speaking to the modern smoker. At one time the brand was larger, and they had quite a few La Casa del Habano exclusives, but eventually they dialed the brand back to the main four vitolas. I am looking at the smallest vitola in the brand today, El Principe.
El Principe is a petit corona that measures 4.3" and has a 42 ring gauge. The Habano is composed of premium tobacco from Vuelta Abajo and is finished with a great triple cap. The Habano delivers a unique flavor and it has qualities from all ends of the spectrum. There are some creamy and cedar notes on one end, but at the same time it is showing some dark spices with pepper notes here and there. I am getting some cocoa and earthy qualities on top of that, and there is a french toast flavor present as well. It is a complex smoke and one that has a nice body and strength level. There is a nice bit of transitioning throughout, especially for the size, and this is a smoke I would recommend to so many. So many people bash Habanos about tasting the same and being of poor quality, but if they ever smoked this particular Habano, and this one alone, they would be proven wrong quite quickly. The price is great on these particular sticks and they are enjoyable young while showing even better qualities with age.