Cigar Review: Pistoff by Kristoff

  • pistoff_straightVitola: Corona Gorda
  • 5.75” x 48 ring gauge 
  • MSRP ~$8.75
  • Purchased at Islands Cigar Lounge

Background

It’s a silly named stick from a company that hasn’t done a whole lot to impress me lately, but…I still had to pick one up while I was out in California in October. And I ended up waiting until election day to review it…and something about that felt right. By the time this article posts, we’ll know who won the Presidential Sweepstakes this year and it may well be an indicator of what is destined to happen to the cigar industry over the next four years and beyond…and whether we should still feel “Pistoff.”

The story goes that the name of this cigar was suggested to Kristoff owner, Glen Case, by a customer. It stuck…proving, I guess, that the customer is NOT always right. Pistoff is meant to be a strong cigar, which was something the lineup really needed. It uses Nicaraguan filler, an Indonesian binder, and a Mexican Natural San Andres wrapper. As their website says, “Do not let the smoothness of the cigar fool you; this one packs a punch.”

Prelight

The band has a black background with red type on it. Overall, it’s not a bad look, but the wrapper leaf is so dark it’s almost seamless with the band. I think it would have been a better look to have the band red with black type. The “O” in “PISTOFF” is filled in and has a unhappy face, almost like an emoji. It’s kind of silly, like the name of the cigar.

The wrapper was a dark chocolate brown with a good amount of oils to it and little in the way of veins or color variations. It had a roughly twisted cap and a very rough unfinished foot. The aroma from it was strong Mexican earthiness with a touch of wood.

The cold draw was good and tasted of earth and cocoa powder, along with a bit of oak.

pistoff_footFlavor

While lighting the rough, unfinished end, I got dark earth and coffee flavors. When the filler finally started burning, notes of cedar and red pepper were added to that. While it was a bit of a snug draw when tested cold and when first lighting, after a couple minutes, the draw got to where it needed to be. As I got further into the cigar, I got a stronger unsweetened cocoa powder note, along with a bit of anise.

While the Pistoff started of medium-to-full, by the time I got to the second third, it was definitely in the full-bodied range, with plenty of dark earth and espresso bean up front, and cocoa powder, leather, and anise carrying the secondary roles. The pepper spice was a constant, but low level, burn on the palate and nose.

The last third carried on with dark flavors of earth and coffee, mellowed out a bit by some dried fruit sweetness and further anise. The pepper notes never really rose above an afterthought.

Construction

Construction of the Pistoff Kristoff was great. I had over an inch of ash a couple times, very good draw, and a quite even burn line.

pistoff_capValue

The price tag for this cigar doesn’t seem out of line for the experience it delivers.

pistoff_angleConclusions

I have to say I’m surprised at how much I liked the Pistoff by Kristoff. The name screams “gimmick” and made me predisposed to having negative thoughts about it. Then they put a Mexican wrapper on it and it made me fear it was going to be another bad experience with a San Andres leaf. Despite those worries, the Pistoff turned out to be a well-balanced, full-bodied blend that is among my favorites from Kristoff and something that I would gladly purchase again.

By-The-Numbers

Prelight: 2/2
Construction: 2/2
Flavor: 4/5
Value: 1/1
Total: 9/10

David Jones

David has been smoking premium cigars since 2001. He is co-founder and editor-in-chief of Leaf Enthusiast. He is a full-time retail tobacconist, working for Burns Tobacconist in Chattanooga, where he has also organized the Chattanooga Tweet-Up for the last four years. He is also an independent graphic designer and typesetter. Twitter: @dmjones1009

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