Team Cigar Review: Kristoff San Andres Box-Pressed Toro TAA 2020

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Cigar Details: Kristoff San Andres Box-Pressed Toro TAA 2020

  • Vitola: Toro Extra
  • Length: 6.25″
  • Ring Gauge: 54
  • Country of Origin: Dominican Republic
  • Wrapper: Mexican San Andrés
  • Binder: Ecuadorian Habano
  • Filler: Nicaraguan Habano
  • Factory: Charles Fairmorn
  • Blender: Undisclosed
  • Price: $9.80
  • Release Date: April 2020
  • Source: Developing Palates

Aaron-Loomis

 Aaron Loomis

Seth Geise

 Seth Geise

 John McTavish

Jiunn-Liu

 Jiunn Liu

Pre-light Experience

The dark brown wrapper on the Kristoff San Andres Box-Pressed Toro TAA 2020 covers a soft rectangle press and has a few squiggly raised veins. The seams are smooth and very hard to detect while the head is finished off with a tightly wound pigtail. The foot is covered with excess wrapper leaf. There are two bands with the primary being gold and brown and designating the company and line while the secondary band is black with the TAA logo in gold. The aroma from the wrapper is a mix of wood and dark chocolate while the closed foot gives off a sweeter dark chocolate aroma. The pre-light draw brings a lightly spicy cedar along with a mid-level spiciness on my lips.

Pre-light Experience

It’s not every day that you see a cigar with a pig tail finish on the wrapper and foot. That’s pretty cool. The Kristoff San Andres Box-Pressed Toro TAA 2020 has a dark maduro wrapper that has medium to large veins throughout. Oily in texture, the cigar is firm and gives off an aroma of rich earth, musty wood manure and chocolate.

Pre-light Experience

Inspecting the Kristoff San Andres Box-Pressed Toro TAA 2020, I notice the UPC sticker on the cellophane has a well thought out tear tab. An added complication to the cigar is the pigtail cap, along with a shaggy, unfinished foot. Additionally, the cigar has a fairly firm box press shape. The cigar is double banded with the Kristoff San Andres as the primary and a TAA band as the secondary. The wrapper is a dark black, I would certainly describe it as Oscuro shade. Examining the cigar with my nose, I was able to pick up aromas of barnyard, light leather and cedar. I wasn’t able to pick out any distinct aromas from the shaggy foot.

Pre-light Experience

The Kristoff San Andres Box-Pressed Toro TAA 2020 has an oscuro jet black wrapper shade. Veins are well pressed, seams tight, bunch and roll even and head finished off with a manly man bun. Aromas from the wrapper and enclosed foot tell cedar, baking spices and flowery perfume. Cold draw reveals nuts, cedar and spice tingling sensation on the lips.

First Third

The cigar starts off with slightly spicy cedar and bakers chocolate. At a quarter inch in, the cedar isn’t as spicy and the bakers chocolate is quite mellow while a light mustiness has joined the profile. At a half inch in, the cedar has transitioned to a general wood note and the mild spiciness is now black pepper. The retrohale is a mix of wood, earthiness, mustiness and light black pepper. At an inch and a quarter, the wood is a bit dry. As the third comes to a close, the dry wood and mustiness are up front, with black pepper a bit behind and faint bakers chocolate. The strength in this third was right at medium.

First Third

The cigar has a nice start and it begins by delivering some maple syrup like flavors. I am getting some musty wood as well and some mineral spice, toast and earth like qualities on the finish. In terms of strength and body, I would classify the cigar as being just above the medium level.

First Third

My first few puffs bring significant volumes of smoke production. My initial flavor impressions were creamy, mild cedar, with mild baking spices. A toasted syrup is in the middle of the retrohale as the cigar settles in, roughly the 15 minute mark. Some cocoa joins shortly after at medium strength. A post draw light plus leather shows up, and begins to build as the cigar progresses. Overall, given that the cigar has a San Andres wrapper, I was quite surprised at how light and nuanced the flavors were in the first third.

First Third

The first third has a pleasant array of flavors. Nutty, cedar, creamy and ripened cherries. Retrohaling brings out spice via baking spices. The finish is short with soft bread/yeast. Strength and body is medium.

Second Third

As the second third begins, the black pepper transitions to baking spice. At a half inch in, the profile is dry wood, mustiness and baking spice all paired evenly while the bakers chocolate remains faint in the background. The retrohale brings a fairly even mix of wood, mustiness, baking spice and dark chocolate. As the third comes to a close, the baking spice takes a slight lead over the wood and mustiness while the bakers chocolate has left the profile. The strength in this third remained at medium.

Second Third

The second third showed less in terms of complexity and I would say there has been little transitioning as well. I am picking up some musty cedar notes and with that is some mineral and earth spices. Like before, medium in strength and body.

Second Third

Toasted sweetness and cedar carries the flavor profile into the second third. As the cigar settles in, that cedar begins to linger on my palate between each draw. By the halfway point, a toasted earth settles into the middle of the profile, and then into the post draw shortly after.

Second Third

The second third loses out on ripened cherries, but picks up harshness in bitter wood, over-extracted coffee beans and sour citrus. The other notes of cream and nuttiness however are still present. Strength and body remains medium.

Final Third

As the final third begins, some dry earth joins the profile and has the lead while the wood and mustiness is right behind and the baking spice is now faint in the background. At a half inch in, the baking spice has left the profile. At an inch in, the wood gains some char and becomes even with the earth. The retrohale is toasted wood and mustiness. The cigar wraps up with the profile of earth and charred wood up front with mustiness in the background. The strength in this third bumped up to slightly above medium.

Final Third

The final third delivers a flavor profile that is right in line with the second third. I am getting some musty cedar notes and with that is some dry earth and mineral spice notes. Like before, the cigar is medium in strength and body.

Final Third

Toasted cedar defines the retrohale moving into the last third, with a finish of loamy earth that carries into the post draw. Dry cedar joins the middle of the profile, and bleeds into the post draw as the cigar settles in.

Final Third

The final third is the same story as the second third. Medium body and strength with harshness in bitter wood, over-extracted coffee and sour citrus. Secondary notes of cream and nuttiness.

Burn

The burn was fairly wavy at times but always self corrected. The ash held on in inch and a quarter increments.

Burn

Burn was decent throughout. There were some waves from time to time that needed to be touched-up, but overall, a solid burn.

Burn

The burn performs well in the first third, becoming offset in the second third. Eventually, a touch-up is required, and is straight through the remainder of the review.

Burn

Burn performance was overall good. A few touch-ups due to some slight tunneling issues.

Draw

The draw was slightly tighter than I prefer, but didn’t cause any issues with the smoking experience.

Overall

The cigar began with slightly spicy cedar and bakers chocolate. Some mustiness joined in fairly quickly and later the cedar transitioned to a general wood note and the spiciness became black pepper. The second third saw the black pepper transition to baking spice. The final third saw dry earth join as the baking spice faded out of the profile. Construction was very good and strength was medium most of the way. The first few draws of the Kristoff San Andres Box-Pressed Toro TAA 2020 were very nice, but then there were some significant transitions which made the first third fairly average. The second third transitioned some more and picked up in enjoyment and the final third dropped back down with some more transitioning. The cigar was quite interesting as it moved around quite a bit with a wide combination of flavors. The price point is fairly attractive and I could see myself coming back to this from time to time.

Draw

Draw was solid from start to finish. No complaints.

Overall

I was not blown away by the Kristoff San Andres Box-Pressed Toro TAA 2020. I thought the flavor profile was lacking and there was little transitioning. What transitioning took place was the demise of the flavor profile that was present initially. The construction was decent, but that does little to impress me. The highlight of the cigar was the presentation, and like construction, that means nothing in the giant scheme of things. Disappointing cigar and a really poor Mexican San Andres offering in my opinion.

Draw

I was expecting a resistant draw from the box press but the draw is quite resistant, roughly 3-1/2 to 4 notches.

Overall

The Kristoff San Andres Box-Pressed Toro TAA 2020 started out promising, with light and nuanced flavors. Those flavors unfortunately did not carry through into the second and last third. Although the rest of the cigar certainly wasn’t unpleasant, it just didn’t provide enough to pique my interest or keep me engaged. The burn was very good, the draw was a bit on the snug side. Total smoking time was 2 hours and 3 minutes.

Draw

Draw was perfect. Ideal air flow and resistance.

Overall

If the Kristoff San Andres Box-Pressed Toro TAA 2020 kept in line with the first third, it would have been a good overall experience. The first third brought a nice array of flavors with nutty, cedar, creamy and ripened cherries. Retrohaling brought just the right amount of spice. But past that point, the profile picked up harshness and bitterness in wood and over-extracted coffee. These notes, along with a sour citrus made for an unharmonious flavor profile. This is a try one or two recommendation for me.

Aaron
Seth
John
Jiunn
Very GoodPre
Light
GoodPre
Light
Very GoodPre
Light
Good
AverageFirst
Third
GoodFirst
Third
GoodFirst
Third
Good
GoodSecond
Third
AverageSecond
Third
AverageSecond
Third
Average
AverageFinal
Third
AverageFinal
Third
AverageFinal
Third
Average
Very GoodBurnGoodBurnVery GoodBurnGood
Very GoodDrawVery GoodDrawAverageDrawAmazing
AverageOverallAverageOverallAverageOverallAverage

Aaron Loomis

SCORE

5.85

Cost/Point

$1.68

Scoring System

Seth Geise

SCORE

5.75

Cost/Point

$1.70

Scoring System

John McTavish

SCORE

5.55

Cost/Point

$1.77

Scoring System

Jiunn Liu

SCORE

5.90

Cost/Point

$1.66

Scoring System

Team Cigar Review: Kristoff San Andres Box-Pressed Toro TAA 2020
Aaron LoomisTeam Cigar Review: Kristoff San Andres Box-Pressed Toro TAA 2020

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