Cigar lovers: get ready to drool. In the heart of Philadelphia there is a posh cigar lounge called Ashton Cigar Bar. This trendy hub spot features over 300 whiskeys and 200 top brand cigars. The atmosphere is just as decadent as the cigars, featuring gold accents and plush chairs.

Ashton has prided itself in creating the best cigars since its inception in 1985. This brand is fairly young compared to other cigar brands that have been around for hundreds of years. In this case age is just a number as Ashton has many fine cigars under its belt.

In 2008, Ashton decided to create a new line of cigars under the name San Cristobal. The name of the cigars in the lineup are Elegancia, Revolution and Ovation. In a unique move, Ashton gave all of them the same label – which features a colorful parrot spreading his wings, surrounded by medals – even though each of these cigars are made with different tobaccos and have a different taste pallet.

The one I will be trying is San Cristobal Elegancia. The tobaccos used in this stick are from Nicaragua and Ecuador.

To pair with this cigar, I am having a Spanish coffee. There are different variations to make a Spanish coffee; mine is made using Starbucks house blend, combined with Tia Maria coffee liqueur and Bacardi Gold rum. Traditionally, whipped cream is added to the top, but I’m  not a fan, so Spanish Coffee, no whip it is.

To start, the Elegancia has a very smooth, velvet chocolate taste. I have no idea how the creators of cigars go about selecting different tobaccos in order to create a good tasting cigar. I guess there must be a lot of trial and error.

The Spanish coffee pairs quite nicely with the cigar. The dark chocolate taste of the cigar balances out the sweetness of the coffee, neither taste is overpowering.

The second third introduces some subtle spice notes, but the smooth chocolate flavour still dominates.

I cannot get over how smooth and silky this cigar tastes. I’m surprised this one was not branded under the Ashton line instead of San Cristobal. Typically Ashton cigars are priced very high and deliver a superb smoking experience. San Cristobal is priced quite a bit lower, but the quality is all there.

The last third brings in a bit of a dark chocolate taste combined with earthiness. Different from the smoothness of the first two thirds, but still good. The Spanish coffee was a good choice to go with this cigar. I’m sure any coffee paired with a liqueur would go just as well, if you are not into the flavours of Spanish coffee.

San Cristobal can be purchased online through www.TampaHumidor.com, starting at CAD$13 a stick.


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