Kristoff Shade Grown Robusto. This blend was released in 2019 but there are rumors that it’s actually an old blend that made a return under a new name. Yet those rumors are unconfirmed and thus I won’t say that it is the same cigar unlike one of the largest cigar retailers in the USA. Their website claims “This cigar has received a packaging & name update. Previously known as Brittania Reserva, the Shade Grown is the same exact blend under a new name.”
The blend consists of a Honduran Connecticut Shade wrapper. The binder is Cuban seed tobacco from the Dominican Republic. The filler is all Cuban seed, from both Nicaragua and the Dominican Republic. The robusto measures 5½x54 and it’s made at the Von Eicken Cigar Factory in the Dominican Republic. The factory is better known under the previous name: Charles Fairmorn.
The cigar starts off with bonus points for looks. It doesn’t get any better than with a pigtail and a closed foot in my book. This cigar has both. Add a simple yet sophisticated band and you’re halfway there. That the velvet-like smooth wrapper isn’t very oily and a bit pale in color doesn’t even matter anymore. The wrapper is not very light in color for a Connecticut Shade wrapper though. The cigar feels well constructed. The aroma is mild and quite woody.
The cold draw is fine, yet quite flavorless. The first five minutes of smoking give a mild flavor. The typical mustiness of Connecticut Shade, much like old books, with some sweetness. But it is Honduran Connecticut, and that means that the mustiness isn’t as distinct and strong as with Ecuadorian of Connecticut grown Connecticut Shade. After a third, some young wood shows up, with some spice, and leather. But the musty Connecticut flavor is still around. The retrohale gives a bit of a nutmeg and cinnamon flavor. There is a herbal spice noticeable on the back of the tongue. Halfway a hazelnut flavor shows up. Which is a pleasant change of pace, but not unexpected. Honduran Connecticut Shade often has a nutty flavor as well. The sweetness gets stronger. In the final third, there is a spicy yet sweet cedar flavor with a tangy acidity.
The draw is flawless. The ash is quite dark and the burn had to be corrected a few times. The smoke is fine. When it comes to construction, there are no complaints. Yet this is a cigar mild to medium in body and mild to medium in flavor. The classic Connecticut Shade mustiness is the dominant flavor and if you don’t like that, this is not your cigar. The smoke time is two hours.
Would I buy this cigar again? No. There are plenty of Kristoff cigars that I love but this isn’t one of them.