A Preview of Ashton's New San Cristobal

Today Sathya Levin and Manny Ferrero of Ashton Cigars came by the office for a few smokes and some lunch. They were giving me a first taste of their latest, the San Cristobal brand. These are going to hit the market next month, after a preview in two weeks at the RTDA show.

I smoked the San Cristobal Supermo first, a 6 by 50 toro with a very dark wrapper. It’s entirely Nicaraguan, made by Pepin Garcia at his factory in Estelí, Nicaragua. It’s quite a dark wrapper for one of Pepin’s smokes, and Manny told me it was a leaf grown in the Estelí region, from the upper primings.

I enjoyed the smoke quite a bit. It was very sweet, much sweeter than most of Pepin’s cigars, and had a good amount of dark chocolate flavor and a black cherry quality as well. It burned like a champ. Sathya said this batch had been rolled around April. I’d consider it medium to full bodied.

We had lunch across the street at I Trulli (try the veal Milanese, it might be the best in the city) to talk about tobacco and the cigar market. Manny was clearly taken by the tobacco Pepin is using in his cigars. “Dave, you could make a salad out of this stuff,” he raved, hands flying. After  we finished, we fired up my espresso machine in the office and tried a smaller size, the Clasico, which measures 5 by 50. This was considerably spicier than the bigger cigar, with a good red pepper zing and a hearty blast of leather. It didn’t burn quite as well as the first, and had a looser draw. I’d call it a solid full body.

I’m not sure if I’m ready to eat a salad made of Pepin’s tobacco leaves, but I’m a fan of the cigars. The samples of San Cristobal are pretty impressive, and I bet they’ll make some noise at the upcoming RTDA.
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