San Cristóbal de La Habana Cigars
Cuban cigars have been a luxury product for hundreds of years, and the introduction of San Cristobal de La Habana cigars in 1999 is an example of the kind of innovation that has secured this longevity. At their core, Havana cigars have not changed much since Columbus first began bringing them back to Europe: they are still nothing more or less than a bunch of premium tobacco leaves, rolled in the hands of an expert torcedor to create the ultimate in smoking pleasure. The innovations come in how they are presented to the world, and how Cuban history, tradition and culture is marked and honoured...READ MORE
San Cristóbal de La Habana Cigars
Cuban cigars have been a luxury product for hundreds of years, and the introduction of San Cristobal de La Habana cigars in 1999 is an example of the kind of innovation that has secured this longevity. At their core, Havana cigars have not changed much since Columbus first began bringing them back to Europe: they are still nothing more or less than a bunch of premium tobacco leaves, rolled in the hands of an expert torcedor to create the ultimate in smoking pleasure. The innovations come in how they are presented to the world, and how Cuban history, tradition and culture is marked and honoured by their presentation. San Cristobal de La Habana is a brand created purely for that purpose.
In late 1999 it was announced that a new brand would arrive to the market to celebrate the passing into another millennium of the Cuban tobacco industry. San Cristobal de La Habana was the original name for the Cuban capital when it was founded in 1519; it was also the name of another cigar brand in the first half of the 20th century, although there is no connection between that version and the modern brand we have today. The first four vitolas to be announced were named after the historic forts constructed around La Habana to protect it from the aggression of French corsairs. Only three of these are still available today, the mighty El Morro double corona having been discontinued in 2013.
In the short time the brand has been alive it has risen to a level of some prestige in the Cuban cigar ranks. It may not be the most well-known, but San Cristobal de La Habana was chosen as the brand to mark one of the most important anniversaries in Cuban history: the 500th birthday of the capital. 2019 saw the announcement of 500 humidors each containing 100 new cigars – the San Cristobal de La Habana 1519. Each exquisite box was constructed entirely by hand by the renowned Cuban factory Artes en Madera, using classic cedar and rare Okoume woods. Details include a map of the old city and 4 turrets to represent those four original forts; miniature “cannon stands” act as holders for the cigars once removed from the drawers of the cabinet. The cigars themselves are behemoths: a 57 ring gauge by 6 ¾ inch unique vitola known as Roque was created specifically for this release. They will follow the brand’s profile of light-to-medium strength, but will smoke for close to 2 hours.
2019 also saw the 20th anniversary of San Cristobal de La Habana itself, so another commemorative release was called for. This time a novelty “treasure chest” box was created to present 20 of the San Cristobal de La Habana 20 Aniversario LCDH cigars, a special edition only for sale in La Casa del Habanos retail properties. This was another considerable stick, at 52 ring gauge by 6 ⅜ inches, and is full of cream and honey and caramel and earth and spice. For such a young brand to be treated to such reverence for its anniversary, and be used for a celebratory edition usually reserved for the likes of Cohiba and Montecristo, is extraordinary.
San Cristobal are also often used for Regional Editions, such as the first (and, to date, only) cigar specifically for the Malaysian market, and have had once cigar – the Prado – created exclusively for Habanos specialist retailers. More cigars, named for the streets of the Old Town quarter of the capital, were added to the regular production list in the early part of the 2000s, although many have since been discontinued. Three from the original 1999 launch still remain:
El Principe: A Minutos vitola, 42 ring gauge by 4 ⅜ inches, providing around 30 minutes of wood and leather aromas. Ideal when short on time.
La Fuerza: 50 ring gauge by 5 ½ inches – a beautiful robusto. This stick will produce sweetness and earthiness for around 45 minutes.
La Punta: – This classic piramides is a favourite shape of many seasoned smokers, about an hour of smoking pleasure and a wonderful progression from light to medium strength as the cigar progresses.
San Cristobal de La Habana is a brand born to mark a moment in history, and it has been used consistently since launch to mark even more as they pass. From the ultra-rare collector’s edition that is the 1519 to the incredibly accessibly-priced regular line, it is a brand which presents the utmost in quality for smokers, and will surely continue to rise in profile and popularity as the years go by. The streets of Old Havana and the history of such an ancient city have plenty of inspiration to provide, and Cuban cigar smokers everywhere will be enthralled by what comes next from this meteoric young brand.
Brand Founded: 1999
Construction: Handmade, Tripa Larga
Continuous Production Cigars: 5