6” X 60 Toro Gordo
Wrapper: Nicaraguan Habano
Binder and Filler: Nicaraguan
San Cristobal is a moniker existing simultaneously in this market as well as south of Miami. Both brands are incredibly enjoyable, albeit very different. Today’s subject is a member of the Ashton family of brands. San Cristobal was launched in 2007 as a Nicaraguan puro with a Habano seed wrapper. Since then, the line has grown to include two expansions, Selecion del Sol (Habano sun grown wrapper) and the Elegancia (Connecticut seed Ecudorian wrapper). This original blend comes in nine sizes, most of which are traditional Cuban vitola's, my favorite of which has always been the Francisc at 5.5” x 44. But, today we will be taking a look at the Papagayo XXL, their toro gordo.
Lets get down to the nitty gritty. This stick has a gorgeous Colorado red wrapper that exhibits a slight oily sheen and a well constructed Cuban style triple cap. The under side of the stick has a group of prominent veins, causing the seams to be rather apparent, resulting in a rough look. I found this surprising due to the aforementioned quality expectations set forth by Ashton. It should also be noted that this stick has a suspiciously light feel for a cigar of its size, but there are no soft spots to speak of. The wrapper and foot present notes of cedar and a pleasant tobacco sweetness. Please forgive me for taking this side bar, but it would seem to be a matter of redundancy that a cigar would have the smell of tobacco. But for us self proclaimed “experience stogie geeks” we have come to notice that some sticks have a hay/ grass, or a barnyard aroma, so in my opinion tobacco sweetness is a distinct smell. Now back to business, the pre-light draw is rather uneventful, bringing back up that tobacco sweetness.
Upon setting the foot aflame, the first third gives off a surprising bouquet of flavors. Earth, spice, and pepper show their face, but the strongest flavor is cedar. The Burn line is razor sharp and smoke production is ample. The smoke has a full body and a medium strength.
At the start of the second third pepper picks up as the dominant flavor, while the cedar and earth stick around. Aside from this a semisweet chocolate interjects its opinion, but the unfortunately foreshadowed light weight is starting to show up as well. The burn got squirrelly and I needed to give the stick shallow puffs in order to get the smoke flowing, so I decided to ash the smoke to investigate. Upon doing so I discovered a tunnel much to my dismay.
In the final third I attempted to muscle through the construction issues to no avail. I pitched the nub with two inches left as I could not shake the bitterness. In conclusion, I have made it known I am not the biggest fan of larger ring gauge smokes but I have entered into this review with objectivity. The smoke started off with a nice set of flavors, but the construction issues proved to be too much to overcome. I can say this with confidence that despite my struggles with this example, this line does not have widespread construction issues. So, if you are a fan of cigars with substantial girth try one and form your own opinion.