Monday, October 18, 2010

Kristoff - Ligero Maduro

Thanks for Cigar Palace for the picture
Kristoff - Ligero (Maduro) - This cigar has sat at eye-level in my favortie cigar shop for the past 2 years and I've never smoked it.  There are a bunch of cigars in the shop's humidor I haven't smoked, but this one is different.  A lot of the cigars I haven't smoked are cigars I choose not to smoke based on my feelings about the brands or my smoking experiences.  At this point in time, if I haven't smoked it, I'm not going to.  But I've always wanted to try a Kristoff.
So at the suggestion of a friend I grabbed one yesterday.  I had been pacing the humidor for a few minutes and a buddy told me if I didn't like the Kristoff, he'd pay for it.  How could I refuse?
The Kristoff is made by Exclusive Cigars.  There isn't a lot of information on the company - and their other products are nothing I've heard of.  The internet doesn't have a whole lot to say about Kristoff, outside reviews on the cigar.
So I picked up the Robusto size (big Robusto) - looks to be about 6" x 52 ring gauge.  The cigar has a Brazilian Maduro wrapper and a cuban-seed Dominican binder.  The filler is a blend of Dominican tobacco with a large majority of Nicaraguan ligero. - Lets Smoke.....

Initial Thoughts-
The cigar is heavy as hell.  Damn it feels like there is a pound of tobacco in my hand.  I hope this thing isn't plugged!  The Kristoff is a cool looking smoke.  The wrapper has an unfinished look, bearing an unclipped cap and a shag foot.  The wrapper is sticky with oil and has some soft, beefy veins running along it. 
As I mentioned, the cigar is packed to teh brim; I mean it feels like its about to burst.  But I don't think that will happen - the construction seems to be top-notch.  I like what I see - I also like what I smell.
The wrapper is rich with aroma.  A very syrupy sweet scent.
Some people may think the unfinished look is ugly.  But I like the whole look.  It gives it an authentic, personal feel.  Now we'll see if I pay or my friend pays.

Smoking it-
The shag foot makes lighting the cigar interesting as the torch sends the loose tobacco up in a flame.  That extra bit of tobacco ashes quickly though and results in a surprisingly even burnline; that even burn maintains throughout the smoke.  The draw is a snug, but it seems fitting with this cigar for some reason.  Each puff doesn't produce tons and tons of smoke, but a quick effortless drag brings a bouqet of flavor and aroma.  The draw is in no way a distraction - nor does it take away from my experience.  It is riding that line of genius and insanity.
With that in mind - this cigar burns extremly slow.  There is little resting smoke - and the bit that does float up has a cinnamon scent.  Right off the bat, I know I'm not getting my money back.  My buddy can see it in my face that I like the cigar.  I'm not disappointed that he was right though.  This isn't a close-call at all.  There are a lot of things that make this a good cigar.
The cigar's character, burn and feel are only supporting roles to the flavor the cigar provides.  I've read a lot of reviews saying these things had a lot of flavor and complexity, but those flavors were crappy.  Well I must've picked the best one ever produced, because the flavor profile was really good. 
More importantly, the flavor profile is really unique.  I don't know how to describe it, but the smoke was creamy and had a lot of substance to it.  The smoke was......(I hate to say it because its a bit much)....beefy and chewy.  Just really full bodied. 
While full of flavor and body, the strength sits at about a medium; leaning to the full side of the spectrum.  At $8 for a monsterous Robusto - there is a lot of value in this cigar.  Tasty, unique and well-made.  My friend compared it to a Liga Privada cigar - which I do not agree with.  This cigar is not on the same level as Liga's cigars - but it is damn good.

Overall - B
Pick up a Kristoff if you haven't yet.  I've heard a lot of good things about he newer Sumatra offering, but go for the Ligero-Maduro for your first and move from there.  Based on the look and name - I expected a spice bomb, But I got a welll-balanced newiiikk

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What do you think? Am I on to something? Am I wrong? Or am I full of shit?