Friday, October 10, 2008

Kristoff Maduro Ligero

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A couple of months ago, I reviewed the Kristoff Criollo churchill which I absolutely adored. This time, I had the chance to smoke the Kristoff Maduro Ligero robusto. Thanks to Kevin over at Silo Cigars for sending me a sample to try out.

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The "Ligero" version of Kristoff cigars add 70% Nicaraguan ligero for a more full-bodied experience. While I didn't mind the medium bodied Kristoff Criollo, I did think that the Kristoff Maduro needed some extra oomph. Thankfully, Exclusive Cigars came out with the Ligero version of their popular Kristoff cigars.

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The Kristoff Ligero Maduro contains Dominican and Nicaraguan filler, a Dominican Cuban seed binder, and a very rustic looking Brazilian Maduro wrapper. This cigar looks straight out of the barrio, with it's twisted pig-tail cap and covered shaggy foot, just like the original Kristoffs. The oily wrapper had some gnarly looking veins and some minor discoloration, but despite these imperfections, it actually looked and smelled pretty tasty.

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The cigar feels nicely packed. I chose to clip the cap with a Palio cutter and the resulting draw was perfect. Free and clear with a touch of resistance, just the way I like it. The cigar starts out in the medium range. I was a little disappointed with the smoke volume at first and I experienced little of that 70% ligero that was promised. The initial flavors were dark chocolate, a touch of cherry, caramel and a little bit of cinnamon. The flavors were smooth with no bitterness and tasted very similar to the regular Kristoff Maduro.

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Eventually, the cigar begins to liven up. It develops a nice nuttiness past the one inch mark along with pepper on the finish. The chocolate flavor now begins to taste more like dark roasted coffee along with notes of fruity acidity. Sometimes I tasted quick flashes of earthy mushroom, but mostly the predominate flavors were coffee, cherry, roasted nuts and red pepper. The ligero is definitely there. It just sneaks up on you and introduces the heat gradually. You should definitely have some water handy and make sure your stomach is full and you're sitting down because you are going to need it for this cigar.

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The ash on this cigar is light gray and compact. The heavy veins posed no major issues and in fact looked quite attractive when "etched" into the ash. The ash does hold on well past the one inch point until you are ready to tap it off. The burn line was sharp and slanted but not unbearable.

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Overall, I really enjoyed this cigar. It is so relaxing to smoke it, with it's easy draw and deliciously smooth earthy flavors. The extra ligero does make it quite potent though and I would not recommend it for beginners. For seasoned smokers, it does provide a nice accent to the blend, and in my opinion, is an improvement over the original Kristoff Maduro.

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The robusto retails for $7.75 a cigar, which is $1.75 more than the original Kristoff Maduro. I personally would pay extra for the Ligero version becauses it is a much more exciting cigar. You can also purchase a box of 20 for $154.95. This and other sizes are available at Silo Cigars, the source for the best boutique brands and the best service.

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