Brand Owner: Holt’s Company
Tabacalera: Tabacalera Cubana (TACUBA)
Click here for a short video (about 11 minutes) of the José “Don Pepín” García factory in Esteli, Nicaragua posted on YouTube by Cigar King.
Model/Vitola: Ashton San Cristobal Fabuloso (torpedo)
Size: 6.125 x 52
Vitola sizes available (All in boxes of 22)
San Cristobal Vitolas (photos courtesy of www.ashtoncigar.com)
Ashton has held the trademark for the San Cristobal name for over 20 years and thanks to José “Don Pepín” García they now have a cigar suitable for the name. Ashton’s first new brand – since the 2002 launch of La Aroma de Cuba.
Released shortly after RTDA 2007, this is the long awaited new line of cigars Ashton has been working on for 2 years. It has been reported the first years release will total 300,000 cigars but Ashton says they will not be limited like the VSGs, ESGs or even the Aged Maduro (open ordering). It is blended and rolled in José “Don Pepín” García’s TACUBA facility at Esteli, Nicaragua. The San Cristobal is a Nicaraguan puro using a dark Nicaraguan wrapper, slightly veiny and mottled with a rosado hue. The cigar is medium to full-bodied with a hint of that now classic Pepín flavor. He always manages to get very different flavor profiles using all Nicaraguan tobacco. Truly a genius, he is able to produce cigar after cigar with its own unique characteristics.
Some have expressed concern that the new Ashton-JDPG connection may indicate a change in the Ashton-Fuente relationship. This quote from vice president Sathya Levin @ Ashton posted mid-June 2007 on the cigar family forum online:
… Nothing has changed between us and the Fuente family. The Fuentes are our partners, as well as our dear friends. We wish that every cigar we sold was made by Fuente, but their production capacity is currently maxed out. Carlito is not an envious or vindictive person. He knows that in order for us to continue to grow, we need to have cigars manufactured outside of his factory. He gave us his blessing on this project.
The reason we chose Pepin is that we believe he is making some of the finest cigars in the world today. His breadth of knowledge regarding tobaccos and cigar making is truly astounding. You need not worry [about tobacco supply]! Pepin does indeed have oodles and oodles of aged tobaccos all ready to be rolled up …
Bottom line up front …..
A little young but this is another really special cigar from Ashton and José “Don Pepín” García. Perfectly balanced between strength and complexity of flavors. Exquisite construction, burn and a long smooth finish. Like many who waited anxiously for this release, I am ecstatic to finally have a box and can’t wait to try the other sizes.
I heard that Carlito Fuente was quite upset when the initial Ashton Estate Sun Grown (ESG) was released. He felt the cigar was not ready and, having purchased and smoked one right away, I have to agree. They were not ready. Those who spoke with José “Don Pepín” García at RTDA said he was very excited about this release but my IMO the San Cristobal, although a good smoke now, is pretty young and needs another 3-4 months to be really good. With a year or two, these are going to be phenomenal.
A dark brown oily wrapper with a few veins and a reddish hue envelopes this beautiful torpedo. I read that JDPG said the wrapper was maduro during a conversation at RTDA but Ashton doesn’t mention it in their information. Who are you going to believe? Construction is solid and the stick feels very nicely balanced in the hand. An earthy tobacco aroma from the wrap and the foot with just a hint of barnyard and pepper. It actually tingled my nose and drew a sneeze. The band is a work of art and when it’s time, is removed very easily with no effect on the cigar. I used my Xikar and the clip was very clean. Draw was easy with just a slight resistance.
The Smoking Experience
The foot toasted and lit easily. The burn line got a little bumpy at times but always self corrected without the torch. Draw continued to be very good through to the nub. The ash was very light gray and held on well to about two inches each time. This cigar puts out tons of smoke.
Starts with the typical JDPG bang for about an inch then smoothes out to a core flavor of dark earthy espresso, dark chocolate and toasted cedar with notes of nuts, vanilla and black pepper over the length of the cigar. Definitely what you would call a full-flavored, full-bodied cigar. The finish is long and the aroma is special. During the last third I detected a little caramel on the nose.
I would say this stick starts and holds the medium category until about the halfway mark where it begins to build in strength to full towards the nub. Definitely has a nicotine kick. I had mine with a glass of port which complimented the cigar very nicely.
You can tell when a cigar maker is especially proud of the brand when they adorn the cigar and boxes with ornate bands and box design like the Fuente Fuente OpusX and the Ashton ESG. The band and box artwork for the San Cristobal are exquisite to say the very least.
Inside Box Cover
Cedar Cigar Separator
Wax Paper Logo
My take …..
Although a little young IMHO, I enjoyed this smoke immensely and will be looking to obtain more to age. My problem will be the ability to summon the patience when I get em’.
I am not sure of MSRP for the Fabuloso at this point. The Ashton folks are saying the entire line runs between $7 and $12. The online price has gone up since I ordered mine (pre-release). Right now they run $9.50 per stick if you buy a box ($209.00/22) and $9.75 for a single from Jack Schwartz Importer. Definitely a wallet reducer but I plan to get some more (They are that good!). I would have thought Holt’s would be the first online to carry them (since they own the brand) but they have no listing as of this post.
Like it … Very much
Buy it again … Absolutely
Recommend it … Yes, but age em’ for a few months if you can hold out that long
What others are saying about the
San Cristobal by Ashton …..
“It has always been my rule never to smoke when asleep,
and never to refrain when awake.” (Mark Twain)