San Cristóbal Oficios (2009)

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First released in 1999, the San Cristóbal line is the newest Cuban line. When it was first introduced, the brand had only four different vitolas. Each of the original cigars were named after different forts that protected Havana in colonial times. Three more sizes were added to the line in 2004 when Habanos S.A. released the San Cristóbal 5th Aniversario Humidor. After the humidor release, the three new vitolas were sold exclusively at La Casa del Habanos around the world until they were discontinued in 2011, leaving just the original four sizes. The four vitolas that are currently in production are:

  • La Punta (5 1/2 x 52)
  • La Fuerza (5 11/20 x 50)
  • El Principe (4 1/3 x 42)
  • El Morro (7 1/12 x 49)

The three vitolas that were introduced in 2004 and subsequently discontinued are:

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  • Oficios (5 4/13 x 43)
  • Muralla (7 1/12 x 54)
  • Mercaderes (6 4/7 x 48)

San Cristobal Oficios 2009 1

  • Cigar Reviewed: San Cristóbal Oficios (2009)
  • Country of Origin: Cuba
  • Factory: Miguel Fernandez Roig
  • Wrapper: Cuba
  • Binder: Cuba
  • Filler: Cuba
  • Size: 5 3/8 Inches
  • Ring Gauge: 43
  • Vitola: Corona
  • Est. Price: $9.00 (Boxes of 25, $225.00)
  • Date Released: 2004
  • Number of Cigars to be Released: Regular Production
  • Number of Cigars Smoked for Review: 2

The San Cristóbal Oficios is a great looking cigar with an oilless hazelnut brown wrapper that is both dry and smooth to the touch. It has a great give when squeezed and there are a few bumps up and down the length of the cigar. Aroma from the wrapper is equal parts earth, barnyard, dark chocolate and coffee. The first third of the San Cristóbal Oficios starts off with strong flavors of oak, bitter espresso, creamy nuts and a bit of an earthy note. There is a great honey sweetness that is present from the start, and the strength of the note rises and falls as the smoke progresses. The smoke production is about average and both the burn and draw are excellent so far. The overall strength is a non-issue and I would peg it at a very mild medium by the end of the first third.
San Cristobal Oficios 2009 2
Coming into the second third of the Oficios, the profile is becoming noticeably more creamy and the sweetness has changed a bit, now has a more vanilla flavor to it. Other flavors of peanuts, espresso, earth and oak come and go on the retrohale. There is very little pepper to be seen and no spice at all. Every once in a while, I will get an interesting metallic note that only stays for a puff or two, then disappears for long stretches. The burn and draw are still wonderful, no problem with either and the strength remains well below the medium mark.
San Cristobal Oficios 2009 3
The final third of the San Cristóbal Oficios, the flavors have not changed much, nor has the sweetness or the lack of pepper. In fact, I would call the final third an almost carbon copy of the second third profile-wise, and that is not a bad thing at all. It is an easy cigar to nub and never get hot at the end.

San Cristobal Oficios 2009 4

Final Notes:

  • The full name of the San Cristóbal brand is San Cristóbal de la Habana, after the original name for Havana.
  • There was a brand of the same name before the revolution, but the post revolution brand has no relation to it.
  • Each of the three new vitolas released in the San Cristóbal 5th Aniversario Humidor in 2004 were named after original old streets in Havana.
  • There were only 500 of the 5th Aniversario Humidor released, each with only 25 of each vitola included, so 12,500 total cigars. After that, they were sold exclusively at La Casa del Habano stores around the world.
  • There was no secondary band on the Oficios in the humidor release.
  • If you asked a non cigar smoker to guess what this brand was simply based off the band, you can’t help but think “La Habana” might be their answer.
  • The only difference in size between the discontinued Oficios vitola and the still produced El Principe vitola is one inch of length.
  • Ashton makes a brand called San Cristobal.
  • Seeing a cigar this size makes me long for the days when there were more Cuban vitolas that did not start with a “5” ring gauge-wise.
  • While the finish on this cigar is very good, but also quite dry and really leaves your mouth a bit parched.
  • The cigars smoked for this review were given to halfwheel as a gift.
  • The final smoking time averaged one hour and five minutes.
85 Overall Score

Honestly, I have just not smoked that many San Cristóbals, but what I experienced from the Oficios was surprisingly tasty. It is an extremely smooth cigar, well-balanced and very well-constructed. What it is lacking in complexity it somewhat makes up for in balance, and is an overall pretty good smoke. The profile is equal parts creamy, sweet and nutty, and if you throw in the great Corona vitola—a size that is on the endangered species list for Habanos—that is just icing on the cake. Not worth looking for a box, but worth picking up to try if they come your way.

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Brooks Whittington
About the author

I have been smoking cigars for over eight years. A documentary wedding photographer by trade, I spent seven years as a photojournalist for the Dallas Morning News and the Fort Worth Star Telegram. I started the cigar blog SmokingStogie in 2008 after realizing that there was a need for a cigar blog with better photographs and more in-depth information about each release. SmokingStogie quickly became one of the more influential cigar blogs on the internet, known for reviewing preproduction, prerelease, rare, extremely hard-to-find and expensive cigars. I am a co-founder of halfwheel and now serve as an editor for halfwheel.

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