San Cristobal de la Habana

San Cristobal de la Habana is the newest and probably last of the New School Habana cigar lines. Formed in 1996 and consisting of four vitolas, San Cristobal cigars tend towards wood and citrus notes, with dark undertones of chocolate and sometimes hazelnuts. I have experienced three of the four vitolas and found them all to be excellent. San Cristobal de la Habana is the original name of given to Havana, Cuba in 1519 by the first Spanish settlers, and each of the four vitolas offered by the brand are names of the four forts that protected the port of Havana.

El Principe

Length: 11.0 cm/4.3 in, Ring: 42 Format: Demi Corona

A fine cigar for an afternoon, and one I usually bring to share with non-smokers and/or those for whom a Cuban is a new experience. Since it is a demi corona, shorter and of a smaller ring gauge than a corona, it is a less time-intensive smoke. However, the citrus and floral notes with the smooth chocolate finish of the San Cristobal line are in no danger of lacking depth due to the smaller size. A shame it doesn't last as long as one might hope. This is considered the finest offering in the San Cristobal line, and has garnered much praise from the majority of smokers. Highly recommended.

La Fuerza

Length: 14.10 cm/5.5 in, Ring: 50 Format: Gordita

The first one is always free. The La Fuerza was my second cigar, and my first Cuban. I remember that this thing took me all night to smoke, no longer is such the case. One of my favorite cigars, not as full-bodied as some, but still enough of the Cuban pepper to be an utter delight. The typical San Cristobal floral and citrus start, with a creamier, mellower edge as the cigar progresses, ending in a smooth, chocolatey finish. NOTE: A recent concern is the lack of consistency in the quality of these cigars. I've noticed in my second box that the quality was hit or miss, either a fantastic smoke or merely acceptable. The 2001 run seems to have been the last without this issue. A word of caution.

El Morro

Length: 17.8 cm/6.9 in, Ring: 49 Format: Churchill

An excellent example of the churchill vitola, the El Morro is the largest cigar available in the San Cristobal line, and it certainly deserves respect. A medium-bodied cigar, full of flavor without being overpowering. The five I have smoked were from May of 2002. Prior to 2003 there were problems with construction of this cigar, and therefore the draw was rather tight, making smoking more effort than should be necessary. The same floral and citrus notes as the rest of the San Cristobal line, with pepper and woody, almost chocolate undertones in the finish.

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