Country of origin: Cuba
Dimensions: 4 3/8 inches by 42 – ring gauge
Date smoked: Saturday 09/19/08
Time: 6:18 PM – 7:01PM
Location: Evening at my smoking patio.
Accompanying drinks: Filtered water, carbonated water.
Color of wrapper: Creamy brown wrapper. Construction: Appeared to be well constructed and firm but overly. It gave slightly to the touch and had faint traces of oil.
Pre-light Aroma: Coco, with a hazelnut and coffee overtone.
Pre-Light Draw: Nuts, hay and barn yard earth greeted my palate.
Combustion: Torch lighter.
Post Light Aroma: From its opening moment the bouquet produced hazelnut cappuccino married lightly to barnyard earth.
Initial Draw: The initial draw greeted me with a distinctive evolution of flavor. Lightly toasted tobacco moved toward hazelnut and heavy toffee creaminess which lingered on my palate only to return to a more subtle toasted tobacco finish. Plentiful smoke rose and entreated me to a bouquet of tobacco and toasted nuts. Slightly resistive with an effortless draw, this cigar was off to a great start.
First third: The lightly toasted tobacco became more pronounced, opened up and moved into a mature barnyard flavor. Diminishing in strength from the initial draws, the heavy toffee and hazelnut offered a refreshing sweetness in contrast to the earthiness of the toasted tobacco.
Soon, the burn became crooked and when flame was applied to correct, in what appeared to be outright defiance on the cigars behalf, the ash became flaky and the wrapper began to open like a Christmas present. Not wishing to make things worse I decided to allow the burn to run its course without further attempts at correction.
Second third: The second third grew in intensity with heartier tobacco moving further in the foreground. Still diminished from its opening the toffee and creaminess formed a melodious sweet punctuation to each draw.
Remaining defiant, the ash was flaky and the burn continued to be stubborn. The wrapper did cease to open and since the first attempt to correct the burn ended with the potential for disaster no further correction was attempted.
Final third: Large volumes of smoke poured from the final third. The very prominent toasted tobacco remained consistent with hay and barnyard aromas permeating my smoking patio. The sweet hazelnut and creamy texture albeit even more subdued than earlier continued to offer appropriate contrast. The ash finally tightened and attractive grayish black tiger striping was visible. I finished this cigar only when my fingers caught fire.
Synopsis: Having smoked many San Cristobal cigars, the San Cristobal El Principe did not disappoint. From beginning to end I was impressed with the progression of pure tobacco counterbalanced by the undercurrent of creaminess and sweetness. Yes, the rebellious burn and ash diminished some satisfaction; however, the blending of the tobacco and delivery of the flavor profile forgave many sins. I completely recommend this cigar for consumption now and would be interested to see what some years of aging will bring.