Kristoff GC Signature Series Robusto. Glen Case hit a mid-life crisis in the early 2000s and wanted to do something else than the financial services he provided for close to 20 years. As an avid cigar aficionado, he pursued a dream of becoming a cigar brand owner. And he did. In 2004 he founded Kristoff cigars, named after his son Christopher. After doing his homework, Case settled for the Charles Fairmorn factory in the Dominican Republic as his manufacturing partner. And now, 16 years later, the Kristoff cigars are sold in every corner of the world. And praised by cigar magazines and cigar blogs for years.
The Kristoff GC Signature Series was released mid-2011 at the IPCPR Trade Show. The blend was created for the cigar smoker with a well-educated palate and who likes a full-bodied cigar. To create a blend with notes that would entice these experienced, demanding smokers Case and the blenders used a Brazilian Maduro wrapper. For the binder, they took a Dominican leaf. The filler consists of all Cuban seed tobacco, from Nicaragua, Honduras, and the Dominican Republic. The robusto that we are reviewing measures 5½x54.
Kristoff cigars always look cool. The pigtail and closed foot are always bonus points for looks. The thick, dark and oily Brazilian Maduro wrapper isn’t the cleanest looking wrapper ever. But for a Brazilian wrapper, it looks good. And it looks very tasty. The ring is quite simple, yet the embossing and that the red on the front fades to back make it stand out. The cigar feels well made. The aroma is divine, dark chocolate with a little spice although the aroma could be a bit stronger.
The cold draw is always an issue with closed footed cigars. But once lit, that issue is solved. Pepper with espresso, strong, in your face. The flavors then turn a bit more to wood and dry leather. But the dark chocolate that was promised shows up too. As always with a closed foot, the start of the cigar is a little rough, it’s hard to get the burn going. The retrohale gives notes of dried fruit. Dark chocolate is the main attraction, with spice, coffee, wood, and dried fruit as support. After a third, there’s still dark chocolate with creamy, thick sweetness, leather, wood, and mild black pepper. But there is also a salty flavor. The dark chocolate and dried fruit are the baselines, with a growing pepper flavor. There’s also more sweetness and a little citrus. The chocolate flavor is thick, it’s like slowly melting a piece of 70% dark chocolate in your mouth. It coats the whole palate. The final third still has that dark chocolate with dried fruit. But there is also pepper, spice, leather, and an earthy flavor. The chocolate remains the strongest flavor, yet the pepper grows. And there is still some wood as well. Near the end, a nut flavor shows up as well, while the pepper mellows out. Hazelnuts to be precise.
The draw is great, after a rocky start. But that rocky start is normal with a closed foot. The burn is good. The white ash is quite firm. The smoke is sufficient, but it would be nicer if the smoke was thicker. The cigar is balanced yet a little rough around the edges. In a good way, it’s not smooth. But it shows character with balance, and that’s always good. The flavors are both in your face, yet with subtle flavors beyond the baseline flavors. That makes the cigar intriguing. The smoke time is two hours and forty-five minutes.
Would I buy this cigar again? I want boxes!