|San Cristobal A.K.A. Jimmy’s Missing Parrot|
When I see this cigar nowadays, in particular the band, it still brings me back to 2007 when this cigar was first released. I remember hearing everyone talk about the cigar, and the fact that it was a “Pepin smoke;” which was a huge deal back then, and how it appeared Ashton would be now working with the Garcia Family over the Fuente Family. The cigar was definitely a huge launch for Ashton Cigars then, and was seen as one of the biggest releases at the 2007 R.T.D.A. At the time Ashton Cigars had held this brand’s name for over 20 years without ever producing a cigar under it, but it was that year that they found the perfect manufacturer and cigar to release bearing that name. This is a cigar that I have not smoked in some time, but when this was first released this was my stick. You all have most likely smoked the cigar, and I can safely say that most of you have enjoyed it thoroughly. That smoke is the original line to the San Cristobal brand, the San Cristobal.
As mentioned earlier the line is made by the Garcia Family, and to this day remains a Nicaraguan puro. I say “to this day remains a Nicaraguan puro,” because they have tweaked another brand/line in their portfolio, La Aroma De Cuba. At the time when this cigar was first released it was made in Pepin’s Nicaraguan Factory of Tabacalera Cubana (TACUBA), but is now made in Esteli at their new factory My Father Cigars. The factory is not really new, but it is their newest factory. Like all Pepin cigars, the cigar is made in the Cuban fashion and finished with a triple cap. There are several vitolas in the line, all very traditional sizes, and even a unique Figurado as well. For this review I will be sampling a classic vitola among cigar smokers, and one I typically do not gravitate towards, the Torpedo.
The Fabuloso, as Ashton has named it, is your standard Torpedo and measures 6.125″ with a 52 ring gauge. I know it seems crazy to put 6.125, but that is the traditional measurement for Torpedos both in and outside of Cuba. The cigar is covered with a gorgeous marbled dark chocolate brown wrapper, and it falls close to Maduro, but I would say is Colorado Maduro in coloring. It has a solid firmness to the cigar, and is very smooth and silky to touch. Holding the foot of the cigar to my nose I get wonderful aromas of cocoa, spices, nuts and bits of sweet earth, and it is not your typical Pepin smoke, a little more rich and balanced. I will say that this cigar is not from the original release, but comes from a 2011 box. On another side note, I love the band on this cigar, and always have. Don’t ask me why.
Upon lighting the cigar shows a tamed version of those typical Pepin starters, and the spice level is softer and a little more balance and elegant. There is really no pepper present in the spice, but more that of Asian and Christmas spices. I am getting some soft cocoa and subtle earth notes as well in this third, and the cocoa is not overly sweet but a little bit dryer and more at my speed. Along with those wonderful flavors are some roasted and sweetened almond flavors and it is a nice start to the cigar in terms of flavors. The burn is not that great, and that might have been my fault. Even with an uneven burn line I am getting a nice colored ash and it is holding on to the cigar firmly. I would say the strength of the cigar at the start is at a medium full level, but nothing major. When I get into the second third I see a definite improvement in terms of the burn line, and it is correcting itself with a minor touch up on my part. I would say the burn line is now slightly wavy, but as I said earlier much better than before. Along with the improvement in terms of the construction I am getting a solid medium body level in terms of strength, and the decrease is surprising but pleasant. There are still tons of wonderful flavors present in this third, and I am loving the spices, slightly sweet cocoa notes and also the earthy flavors present in the cigar as well. There are some wood notes present as well in the cigar, and it has that lovely sweet nougat flavor as well giving the cigar a wonderful finish. There is definitely an improvement overall in the second third of the cigar, and I am beginning to hit the sweet spot of the cigar. It is in the final third of the cigar that it really shows all the great flavors and complexities, and that is perfect because that is what makes you want to light up another one of the beauties when you are finished. I am getting those wonderful flavors of light wood, soft spices, sweet earth, cinnamon, cocoa and this nougat and sweet almond flavor profile. It is really an elegant cigar in the final third, and definitely the best third to the cigar. It is burning at a solid medium level towards the end, and also producing a great amount of smoke that is thick and perfect for rings. I am getting a razor sharp burn line in this third as well and the ash that it is producing is still that flaky light gray. I smoked the tapered cigar down to the nub and on the last draw it is cool and flavorful; simply a treat.
This was a great Torpedo and besides for the wavy burn line in the first third it really showed its greatness in every aspect in the second and final third and continued to deliver some amazing flavors. This is a great cigar that shows quality work by Pepin and also by Ashton Cigars. I think it is a superb Nicaraguan puro in terms of the flavor profile and offered a balance between the two categories that Nicaraguan puros typically show. The strength of the cigar was at that solid medium/medium full body throughout, and is a cigar I could smoke anytime of day. If you have not lit one of these sticks up in some time then I suggest you grab one because you will remember why you loved them in the first place. I have not been a huge fan of the second and third line releases bearing the San Cristobal name, but this cigar is definitely a winner. I give this smoke a solid 93, and will look forward to smoking it again throughout the remaining months of 2012. Heck, even in years to come.