This beauty is crafted by Glen Case at Kristoff, a boutique cigar manufacturer that has been growing since 2004. The Pistoff Kristoff is a motley crew with a coffee-colored San Andres wrapper, Indonesian binder and long fillers from Nicaragua measuring 5.5 by 54”.
I smoked this at home one evening not really knowing what to expect. I would sum up the experience of smoking the Pistoff Kristoff in three words:
Below are my detailed Session Notes, and further down you’ll find a more thorough review of the Pistoff Kristoff robusto.
The taste of beef jerky runs through it
There is one flavor that I couldn’t identify at first, and that haunted me the entire smoke session with the Pistoff. By the midpoint I had finally figured out that a predominant flavor was beef jerky. The finish leaves a distinguished sense that you just gnawed on a piece of jerky. Once I picked up on it, it was really hard to shake. As the cigar progressed, the flavors didn’t evolve or mature very much as the flavor of jerky was pretty strong throughout. This was not unpleasant, though, and was quite a nice experience (especially, I bet, if you are in the mood for that and know to expect it).
This Kristoff cigar is not just “pissed off”, but also full of jerkiness – not great traits in a date, but not too bad in a full-bodied cigar.
It evokes being at a beach bonfire
This is a very spicy and flavorful cigar, but I wouldn’t call it the smoothest. The smoke was thick and flavorful, but on the flip side it was coarse to retrohale and french inhale due to the red pepper and especially rich firewood flavors. The finish was not unpleasant, but left a strong residual flavor of old leather and burnt wood. The overall salty and savory character of the cigar, paired with the strong flavor of firewood, evoked strong feelings that I was chillin at a beach bonfire. That’s not the worst place in the world to be!
The strong flavors in the Pistoff Kristoff will delight those that like the spicy smell of fresh burnt wood, but it also tends to dominate other flavors that might otherwise be lurking.
Consistency is king – until it isn’t…
This is a great cigar on so many fronts. I mean, the overall construction was superb and the burn and draw left nothing to be desired. No complaints at all on those fronts. The only main issue for me is that the experience was consistent – too consistent. My first impression was spice, leather, beef jerky and firewood. Twenty minutes in I was hoping the flavor would evolve to incorporate some sweetness or nutty notes and it just never happened. It did start to take on bitter, dark-roasted coffee notes and a bit of sweet grassiness on the retrohale about two-thirds of the way down the stick, but otherwise I would describe the Pistoff as pretty one-dimensional. About this same time I decided to open my home bar and poured a very sweet spirit that I’ve been loving, the Selvarey Cacao Rum, which provided an excellent pairing to pick up the slack. I would strongly suggest pairing the Pistoff Kristoff with a sweet liqueur or American bourbon to balance it out.
I should note, the one way this cigar was not one-dimensional was the strength, which built progressively to generate a very nice strong (but not dizzying) buzz. If you like strong full-bodied cigars, then this is a top contender at its price point and is definitely worth a try (with a proper sweet accompaniment, that is).
The Pistoff Kristoff provides a nice full-flavored punch, but its one-dimensionality leaves a bit to be desired if you are the type that appreciates the delightful roller coaster experience of other premium cigars.
Steven is a father of 3, a scientist by profession, and a cigar enthusiast by hobby. His first cigar was (regrettably) from a gas station at age 18, but his palate has grown over the years to appreciate the sophistication and crafted experience of premium cigars.