For several years, many companies have been offering exclusive cigars to those retailers that attend the annual IPCPR/PCA Trade Show and place an order. In 2021, the Premium Cigar Association (PCA) made an attempt to somewhat formalize these trade show releases into an exclusive series. The second year of this program was 2022 and Kristoff Cigars participated in that series. For its cigar, Kristoff would release a Connecticut Broadleaf box-pressed perfecto known as the Kristoff PCA 2022 Signature. This is the cigar we will take a closer look at today.
The Kristoff PCA 2022 Signature Series is actually the third Signature Series cigar to be released. The others included the GC Signature Series (named for Kristoff founder, Glen Case), the Kristoff JT Signature Series (named for Kristoff Vice President, Jarrid Trudeau), and now the Kristoff PCA 2022 Signature.
Kristoff GC Signature Series
Kristoff JT Signature Series
Kristoff PCA 2022 Signature Series
The past couple of years have seen the PCA work to formalize PCA Exclusive Series. At the same time, some companies have done PCA Exclusives outside the PCA’s somewhat formal program. The following is the list of the companies that were part of the program that have shipped to date.
ACE Prime (Luciano Cigars): Maria Lucia
Aganorsa Leaf: Aganorsa Leaf Aniversario Maduro
Alec Bradley: New Mix Classics Sampler
CLE Cigar Company: Eiroa PCA Exclusive 2022, Asylum PCA Exclusive 2022
Crowned Heads: Sfumato in C Major
Crux Cigars: Crux Limitada Short Salomone
Kristoff: Kristoff PCA 2022 Signature Series
La Palina: La Palina Goldie Prominente
Rocky Patel Premium Cigars: Rocky Patel ALR 2nd Edition
Tatuaje: Tatuaje PCA 2022
Blend and Origin
The Kristoff PCA 2022 Signature Series features a Connecticut Broadleaf wrapper over a Dominican binder and a combination of Dominican and Nicaraguan fillers. This is the second Kristoff Cigar to feature a Connecticut Broadleaf – joining the Kristoff Vengeance. Production comes from Kristoff’s long-time manufacturing partner, Tabacalera Von Eicken (formerly the Charles Fairmorn factory) in the Dominican Republic.
Wrapper: Connecticut Broadleaf
Filler: Dominican, Nicaraguan
Country of Origin: Dominican Republic
Factory: Tabacalera Von Eicken
The Kristoff PCA 2022 Signature Series comes in one size – a 6 1/4 x 60 box-pressed perfecto. The cigars are presented in 20-count boxes. Production was limited to 750 boxes.
The Connecticut Broadleaf wrapper of the Kristoff PCA 2022 Signature series had a roasted coffee bean color to it. The wrapper had a slight amount of oils on the surface. Upon examination, there was some mottling that was present on the surface. There were some very thin visible veins as well as some prominent wrapper seams present on the surface. The box-press was more of a rectangular prensado. The perfecto was gently tapered on each side. The perfecto converges to a small cap at the head of the cigar. The tapering is shorter toward the foot which was open.
A straight cut was placed on the tapered head of the Kristoff PCA 2022 Signature Series of a little less than 1/2 of an inch. This cut would allow for a good amount of the tapering to be a part of the overall smoking experience. After the cap was removed, it was on to the pre-light draw. The cold draw delivered notes of coffee, cocoa, and a slight mixed spice note. Sometimes the coffee and cocoa notes form a fusion that I will refer to as “mocha”, but in this case the two notes were separate and distinct. Overall, this was a satisfactory pre-light draw. At this point, it was time to light up the Kristoff PCA 2022 Signature Series and move on to the smoking phase.
The Kristoff PCA 2022 Signature Series started out with notes of cocoa, coffee, citrus, earth, and white pepper. As the cigar moved through the first third, the cocoa and coffee notes became primary. Like the pre-light draw, these notes were separate and distinct (as opposed to a fusion “mocha” note). Meanwhile, the citrus, earth, and pepper notes settled in the background. The retro-hale added an additional layer of pepper, but this was more of the black pepper varietal.
During the second third of the Kristoff PCA 2022 Signature Series, the cocoa notes receded into the background leaving the coffee note as the primary note. Concurrently, there was an increase of the pepper and citrus notes on the tongue. At the same time, notes of earth and cocoa rounded out the flavor profile.
By the final third, the pepper and citrus notes closed in on the coffee notes. There still were residual earth and cocoa notes in the background. While these are not uncommon flavor notes, they seemed all over the place and the citrus and pepper notes threw the flavor profile off balance. As the cigar experience came to a close, the Kristoff PCA 2022 Signature Series finished up with a cool but soft nub.
On each of the samples of the Kristoff PCA 2022 Signature Series, the burn started out decent, but then really became high maintenance from the start of the second third right to the end. The cigar’s burn path was prone to meandering and it also had an uneven burn line. This resulted in frequent touch-ups. The resulting ash had a silver-gray color. This was also an ash that was skewed toward the looser side. Meanwhile, the burn rate and burn temperature were both ideal.
The draw to the Kristoff PCA 2022 Signature Series was a little more open than I prefer. Normally I prefer a draw that has a touch of resistance on it. However, this was a low-maintenance cigar to derive flavor from.
Strength and Body
The Kristoff PCA 2022 Signature Series started out as a medium-strength, medium-bodied smoke. Along the way, there was a nominal increase in the intensity levels of both the strength and body. In the end, the Kristoff PCA 2022 Signature Series remained in the medium-strength and medium-bodied range of the spectrum right until the end.
In terms of strength versus body, both attributes balanced each other nicely with neither attribute overshadowing the other.
BANDING AND PACKAGING NOTES
When it comes to packaging and banding for cigars such as TAA (Tobacconists Association of Association) Exclusives and PCA Exclusives, I usually have a high expectations. These should be packaged like elite cigars. The good news is the Kristoff PCA 2022 Signature Series checks all of the boxes when it comes to both its band and box presentation.
The Kristoff PCA 2022 Signature Series started out of the gate very nicely – especially from a flavor standpoint. As the cigar entered the second third, things fell off the rails and the flavors became less balanced, less interesting, and less enjoyable. This is also where the burn became more high maintenance. This cigar comes in at an 87 point score. Much like a TAA Exclusive cigar, I would consider a PCA Exclusive to be an elite cigar. 87 points is simply underwhelming for a PCA Exclusive. It’s also underwhelming for a Kristoff, as I know this company can do better. If you are looking for a great Broadleaf cigar, I would recommend time and time again going for the Kristoff Vengeance. As for the Kristoff PCA 2022 Signature Series, I’d recommend trying a sample first.
Key Flavors: Coffee, Cocoa, Earth, Citrus, Pepper
Draw: Very Good
Value: Try a Sample
News: Kristoff PCA 2022 Signature Series to be Released as PCA Exclusive
Brand Reference: Kristoff
Photo Credits: Cigar Coop
Originally posted on April 17, 2023 @ 2:20 pm