Cigar of the Week

Cigar of the Week: Kristoff Criollo Churchill (Exclusive Cigars)

Kristoff Criollo cigar

Brand: Exclusive Cigars (Kristoff)
Line: Criollo
Vitola: Churchill (7 x 50)
Origin: Dominican Republic
Wrapper: Nicaraguan Habano Criollo
Binder: Cuban seed Orlor Dominican
Filler: Cuban seed Orlor Dominican, Nicaraguan
Body: Medium
Strength: Medium

As you know, not every cigar is a Cohiba or Montecristo, and part of what makes cigar smoking an interesting hobby, I believe, is when one discovers new and boutique brands.

With that, I recently met Glen Case, president of Aurora, Ill.-based Exclusive Cigars, at a local herf featuring his line of Kristoff cigars. Since I had a small lunch, I chose to light up his Criollo stick. (I’ll be reviewing the Kristoff Maduro at a later date.)

The Kristoff Criollo has a slightly veiny, oily wrapper and a bit of a spongy feel, reminiscent of a Graycliff. Its pigtail and shaggy, closed foot give it a rustic, old-time look, but you’ll immediately be drawn towards the Kristoffs because of its box, which features unfinished wood lined with loose tobacco.

Anyway, the first half of the Criollo is spicy, with hints of toasted almonds, but it smooths out in the second half. It’s still spicy, mind you, but the aftertaste is reminiscent of dried fruit and caramel.

Verdict: The Kristoff Criollo is a complex, enjoyable, tasty stick, that I would recommend to experienced smokers. It has an even burn, and some nice white ash, but you may find the draw a tad inconsistent. I smoked four of the Kristoff Criollos, and three of them drew completely well. The last one, however, was a bit plugged.

Anyway, three out of four ain’t bad, and maybe there are some construction issues to work out. In the meantime, I’d smoke Kristoffs again in a heartbeat, depending on the price.

Similar cigars: It’s a bit stronger and more complex, I think, than the CAO Criollo.

(Note: This review originally appeared on CigarJack.)