Charles Fairmorn

Charles Fairmorn, Santiago, Dominican Republic

Kristoff San Andres Robusto

All Kristoff cigars are made at the Charles Fairmorn factory on the Dominican Republic but when this San Andres blend, with the Mexican San Andres maduro wrapper, Ecuador habano binder and Nicaraguan filler was released they were made by PDR. Production moved to the Fairmorn factory though, that’s what Glen Case told me at the intertabac trade show. The cigar I’m smoking for a review is from the latter factory, I still have some made by PDR, maybe I should do a back to back review.


Not only the factory changed, but Kristoff has been making changes, updating the rings and the packaging too, just an upgrade. The loose tobacco in the boxes disappeared, at least in Europe due to legislation where the loose tobacco, which was actually tobacco waste, would have gotten taxed too, increasing the price per cigar just because of packaging so the decision was made to stop using that. The rings all got a little nicer look to it, a little fresher.


The shiny, almost pitch black, and smooth wrapper looks amazing. The updated ring is brushed golden with off white lettering, all looking sharp and fresh. The cigar, with the classic Kristoff pigtail and folded foot, feels evenly packed and the cigar has a medium strong aroma, a mixture of campfire and manure.


I used my butterfly cutter and get an open draw, quite spicy and peppery. After lighting I taste coffee, soil and spices. After a few puffs I also taste a caramel sweetness. After half an inch I taste more agave syrup like sweetness with a little leather and cumin. After an inch I also taste some peanuts and pepper. Halfway I taste a pleasant sweet chocolate hazelnut spread like flavor with a spicy and peppery edge. Soon after I taste vanilla and pepper. The final third is woody with spices and pepper.


The draw is a little open yet the smoke is plentiful and thick. The light gray ash and has nice rings. The burn is straight. This is a medium full bodied cigar, full of flavor and a lot of evolution. The smoke time is an hour and a half.

Would I buy this cigar again? Yes

Score: 92
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Categories: 92, Charles Fairmorn, Dominican cigars, Kristoff | Tags: , , , , ,

Epic Maduro Lancero

A few years ago the Epic brand showed up in The Netherlands and to be honest, I did smoke a few and they weren’t to my liking. But a few friends of mine love the cigar and keep raving about the Epic Maduro line and the lancero in particular so I decided to give it another go and bought a lancero if this line. And I hope that I like it, because it means that I smoked a good cigar and I have met owner Dean Parsons a few time and wish him nothing but success.


Dean chose the Charles Fairmorn factory as his partner to make the Epic cigars and that’s not a bad choice, one of my favorite Dominican brands, Kristoff, is made there too. The Epic Maduro is made with Nicaraguan and Dominican filler, a Cameroon binder and a Brazilian Arapiraca maduro wrapper and just from that blend I expect some sweetness, spices and strength. The sticker on the back shows that it’s a little longer and thicker than the Cuban lancero size, which I see as the official size with an extra added 2 ring gauge and half an inch making this a 7 1/2×40 cigar.


The wrapper is dark but you can see a lighter color under the darker smears and that makes me wonder if the wrapper is cooked, the amount of oil and the way it shines enhance that feeling. The cigar feels well rolled, I do see a few veins and a little imperfection at the cap but I know from experience how hard it is to apply a cap, especially on a cigar so thin. The rings are nice, I like the fact that the black and silver Epic ring, with a nice red accent, isn’t a regular shaped ring but a cut out of the cursive Epic logo. The ring is well printed. The secondary ring has the same black and silver letters with a red accent and red rings on the top and bottom, I personally would have made the red lines smaller but who am i? The cigar has a medium aroma of manure but with a strong and surprising mint smell.


Due to the small ring I had no other option than to cut. The cold draw is fantastic. I taste a little toast, mild spicy. After lighting it’s a dark and earthy flavor profile with mud and coffee. The Brazilian Arapiraca Maduro wrapper provides some sweetness too, a sugar syrup like sweetness. After almost an inch i taste acidic wood with a creamy chocolate on the background and a faint vanilla. Before the first third ends I taste wood and toast with some herbs, all still with a acidic flavor but the chocolate cream is gone. The herbs are gaining strength and that’s probably the Cameroon binder weighing in. Halfway I taste wood with dirt again, no sweetness and a little vinegar. Soon the nuances change again, the dirt makes places for winter spices. The final third starts with pepper and gingerbread. Slowly I get more spices and pepper.


The draw is flawless and the ash is white, which gives a nice contrast with the dark wrapper. The ash is layered. The light gray smoke is thick and full. This is a medium plus bodied cigar, and the flavor is medium plus too. The smoke time is ninety five minutes.

Would I buy this cigar again? The construction is top notch, the cigar has plenty of evolution but it’s just not for my palate.

Score: 90
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Categories: 90, Charles Fairmorn, Dominican cigars, Epic | Tags: , , , ,

Kristoff GC Robusto

I met Kristoff owner Glen Case a few years ago at the Intertabac trade show in Dortmund, Germany right after my then employer decided to distribute the brand. And it sold, like hotcakes, due to the cool look with the closed foot and the pigtail, the packaging with the loose tobacco, the quality of the cigars, the flavor and the price. It was a home run and ever since we always have a little chat even though I no longer work for that company.


The GC series never made it to The Netherlands though, so I was glad that Glen gave me a robusto at the most recent intertabac trade show to review and he said that it was his favorite Kristoff offering. Now I haven’t smoked all of them and so far the Cameroon blend is my favorite but maybe this one will change that, keep reading and you’ll find out. The cigar is available in four vitolas, a robusto, torpedo, churchill and a gordo.


The Brazilian maduro wrapper looks great, dark and a little rough but the roughness fits the color. The pig tail and closed foot are Kristoff signatures by now and add that to an evenly packed cigar for a great construction. The ring is burgundy with golden letters and a silver & white banner. The medium strong aroma reminds me of charred wood and manure.


I cut the cigar since punching isn’t an option with the pigtail. The cold draw is fine, I taste licorice, raisin and pepper. After lighting I taste a strong and full coffee with earthy tones and a sugar sweetness. After half a centimeter I taste wood, sweetness and a hefty pepper. Halfway I taste a wood with a little licorice, some pepper and a little lemon in the aftertaste. The flavors are very meaty and peppery. The final third is peppery with a great dose of lemon.


The draw is good. The smoke is a little thin, light gray but the volume is good. The silver gray ash has beautiful rings, is dense and is firm. This is a full bodied, full flavored cigar with a perfect burn. The smoke time is an hour and fifty five minutes.

Would I buy this cigar again? I hope this cigar makes it to the Dutch market.

Score: 91
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Categories: 91, Charles Fairmorn, Dominican cigars, Kristoff | Tags: , , , , , ,

Kristoff Classic Blend Toro

Last september, at the Intertabac trade show I ran into Glen Case and Ward from Kristoff, a brand that I used to represent when I was still employed at my previous employer and Ward gave me their new release for the European market, the Kristoff Classic Blend. Now my American readers might think “I don’t know that one”, well, its just the Kristoff Habano but somehow the Cubans got Habano trademarked so that can’t be used. A lot of brands like Oliva, Perdomo and many others use ‘Sun Grown’ instead but Kristoff decided to go with Classic for this Brazilian Habano wrapped cigar with the Brazilian Sumatra binder and Nicaraguan and Dominican fillers. The brand won an award at the Cigarjournal dinner too, so it was a succesful trip for the company.


Ever since I smoked my first Kristoff cigar I loved the brand, the cigars look good, taste good and are budget friendly priced but unfortunately we can only get a few blends in The Netherlands and this isn’t one of them so I saved the cigar that Ward gave me for a review and today I decided it was time to light it. The cigar, like all but one Kristoff cigars, are made at the Charles Fairmorn factory in Santiago, DR and I guess they are the best client of Charles Fairmorn as I don’t hear a lot about that factory. I know they make Epic cigars too, but that is just a very small brand here in The Netherlands and judging from the Social Media information I get Kristoff if a much bigger brand in the USA too than Epic.


The cigar has the same look as all other Kristoff cigars, that means a closed foot, which I love, and a nice pigtail. The construction feels good and the pigtail and closed foot, combined with the dark, shiny and oily wrapper make this cigar a looker. The ring is silver colored with brown details and beige letters saying ‘hencho a mano dominicana’ and ‘Kristoff’ while the smaller bottom ring says ‘classic blend’ in the same colors. The aroma is a bit manure, a bit horse and a bit freshly plowed farmfield, medium strong.


Because of the pigtail I had no other option than to cut the cigar. The cold draw is very good and I taste raisin and pepper. I used my vintage Ronson to light the cigar and I taste a mild coffee. After a centimeter I still taste the coffee but now with a nice metallic aftertaste. After an inch I taste wood with a little bit of nuts and some lime, in the aftertaste I taste a mild pepper. After a third the main flavor is lemon with some cocoa, cedar and vanilla, the flavors are subtle. The lemon gets a little less stronger while the cocoa turns into chocolate. Later the cigar turns full cedar with pepper and just a little lemon. A few puffs later I taste some lightly salted peanuts too. Slowly the pepper gains some strength. Near the end I taste nuts with autumn leaves and a nice dose of pepper.


The draw is a bit too loose and that leads to a poor amount of thin smoke in the beginning but after a few puffs the draw improved and with that the smoke too. I had to correct the burn too in the first centimeter but after that it was straight and easy going. The ash is beautifully white. I would call this a medium bodied, medium flavored cigar with a nice evolution. The smoke time is an hour and forty five minutes.

Would I buy this cigar again? Yes, simply yes. Especially the last third is fantastic.

Score: 91
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Categories: 91, Charles Fairmorn, Dominican cigars, Kristoff | Tags: , , , , ,

Kristoff Pistoff Corona Gorda

When I heard that Kristoff came out with a new cigar under de name Pistoff I couldn’t do anything but smile, what a great name. And I couldn’t wait to get my hands on them even thought this Kristoff blend isn’t available in The Netherlands yet. But luckily I had to meet up with Ward Hall from Kristoff Cigars at the Intertabac trade show anyway and I mooched one of these cigars in a 5 3/4×48 corona gordo vitola with the blend of Nicaraguan fillers, an Indonesian binder and a Mexican San Andres wrapper.


At my previous employer I was responsible for selling Kristoff on the Dutch market and I love some of the Kristoff blends, they are very well made and flavorful cigars for a very decent price here and because I like the brand the Pistoff was high on my “to try” list. Now I admit, I’m a cigar geek and everything I haven’t tried yet is on my “to try” with the exemption of Connecticut shade wrapped cigars and the big ring gauge sticks, it’s only a matter on how high the cigar on that list is, this one was pretty high. The cigar looks good, the classic closed foot that all Kristoff Cigars, either made in the Charles Fairmorn factory or the PDR factory, have and a nice and pretty long pig tail. The wrapper is dark and quite intimidating because of the darkness of the wrapper and the placement of the thin veins. The ring is pitch black with red lettering on a good quality paper, if I want to nitpick I can say that the back of the ring was cut crooked, but hey, its a piece of black paper, no lettering at that spot, so it doesn’t matter.


The construction feels flawless and due to the closed foot its hard to determine the exact aroma of the cigar, I would say a mild barnyard aroma. Because of the long pig tail I had no choice but to use my flat cut. It creates a smooth cold draw with just a little raw tobacco flavor. I used my soft flame vintage Ronson to light the cigar. I taste a strong bitter yet sweet coffee, very bold. The sweetness is nice and counter effects the bitterness. After a centimeter I also taste a mild milk chocolate taste.


The bitter coffee has gone, the flavors are now earthy with a spicy sensation on the tip of my tongue, a little tangy too. I also taste a wood and nutmeg flavor, and the flavors are quite dry. Slowly the wood gets stronger, the spices tone down and the tangy turns into a more recognizable citrus. Halfway the nutmeg is back with some cinnamon and some sweetness.


The smoke is a lot, it’s thick too and white. The ash is light colored and well layered. The draw is a little on the loose side but not too bad. The burn is pretty straight. This cigar is full bodied yet never too strong and full flavored. The smoke time is the only thing that could be improved since it’s only little over an hour.

Would I buy this cigar again? Yes, once they come to the Dutch market.

Score: 91

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Categories: 91, Charles Fairmorn, Dominican cigars, Kristoff | Tags: , , , , , ,

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