Retailers across the United States are starting to receive first shipments of the San Cristobal Ovation, a limited-edition cigar from Ashton Distributors Inc. The Ovation was first teased at the International Premium Cigar and Pipe Retailers show in July, with representatives for Ashton confirming that the cigar was slated for an autumnal release date. Now available in stores, the Ovation launch is something of a special occasion for the San Cristobal brand: Ovation marks the first time that Ashton's San Cristobal has ever received a limited-edition offshoot.
"[San Cristobal Ovation is a] limited-edition production of 3,000 boxes," Ashton vice president Sathya Levin told Cigar Insider. "The initial 100 boxes went out to retail stores who had coinciding San Cristobal events scheduled. Three weeks ago we began shipping to the entire market."
The cigar is a 6 1/2 inch by 52 ring gauge parejo draped in a dark, Mexican San Andrés Oscuro wrapper that Ashton claims has been subjected to an intensive two-and-a-half-year, "double fermentation" process. The binder and filler tobaccos are from Nicaragua and were harvested exclusively from the farms of the Garcia family, owners of the My Father Cigars Factory where the entire San Cristobal portfolio of brands is made. Ashton's San Cristobal debuted in 2007 and was the first collaboration between Ashton and My Father Cigars (then Tabacalera Cubana S.A.). The Nicaraguan smokes come in three varieties: San Cristobal (Nicaraguan Habano wrapper), San Cristobal Elegancia (Ecuador Connecticut wrapper) and San Cristobal Revelation (Ecuador Sumatra wrapper).
Levin says that the total production run of Ovation will ship to retailers in two segments: the first 1,500 boxes of Ovation ship this month, and the second installment before the end of the year.
"The remaining 1,500 boxes will ship in December," Levin confirmed. "The entire production is sold out."
The limited-edition San Cristobal Ovation is priced at $15 per cigar and comes packaged in boxes of 22.
For a rating on the new cigar, see an upcoming issue of Cigar Insider.
A previous version of this article first appeared in the November 18, 2015 issue of Cigar Insider.