Country of Origin: Cuba Color: Maduro Length: 4⅜" Ring gauge: 42 Wrapper: Cuba Binder: Cuba Filler: Cuba
Back in April, I was gifted a very nice sampler of Habanos by a good fraternity brother of mine. There were the familiar brands: Por Larrañaga, Upmann, Partagas, Bolivar, Jose Piedra - but what stood out was this small San Cristóbal de la Habana (a cigar much smaller than I'm used to smoking). Since then, I smoked everything in my gift sampler, except for this San Cristóbal. So today, after resting 6 months in my humidor, I decided to give it a try, especially since I thought it would be perfect for just running out to pick up some Japanese food for dinner.
San Cristóbal de la Habana, which was the original name of Havana, Cuba when in 1519, was released in 1999 honoring the capital's history. San Cristóbal was originally released in 4 vitolas named after fortresses that existed between the 16th and 18th centuries: El Morro (7⅛" x 49), La Fuerza (5½" x 50), La Punta (5½" x 52), and El Príncipe.(4⅜" x 42). Three new vitolas were introduced in 2004, named after historic streets in Old Havana: Muralla (7⅛" x 54), Mercaderes (6⅝" x 48), and Oficios (5⅜" x 43).
The San Cristóbal de la Habana is classified as a light-to-medium smoke by Habanos, SA; however, I beg to differ. The El Príncipe is a little powerhouse with a dry, rugged colorado claro wrapper with tiny veins. Aroma from the foot matched the cold draw of wet cedar. This medium-to-full bodied cigar is well-constructed and holds a pretty tight ash. The flavor is quite robust with cedar, leather, and mild black coffee with a creamy consistency - no spiciness or pepper, but the cedar is much more pronounced on retrohale. The flavor is consistent throughout the entire smoke, but lacked complexity and balance. The final third of the smoke picks up a bit more sourness and bitterness, but not to the point of becoming offensive. Burn time was about 45 minutes and left quite a long finish.
The San Cristóbal de la Habana El Príncipe was a pretty decent smoke. Although not my vitola of choice, this little smoke was enjoyable enough for a quick 45 minute errand run.