In 2020 Kristoff Cigars released its second exclusive cigar as a part of the 2020 TAA Exclusive Series with the Kristoff San Andres Box-Pressed Toro TAA 2020. As the name indicates, the cigar is a line extension to the Kristoff San Andres line. In terms of being a box-pressed Toro, it was only the third cigar Kristoff had released in a box-pressed format joining the Kristoff Galerones Intensivo and the Kristoff JT Signature Series (a 4th box-pressed cigar, the 685 Woodlawn Box Pressed Toro, was recently announced as a 2021 TAA release). Today, we take a deeper dive into the Kristoff San Andres Box-Pressed Toro TAA 2020.
TAA Exclusive Series consists of cigars made by leading manufacturers that are exclusively sold at TAA member retailers. The TAA is a small group of retailers. At press time the number of retailers is approximately 80. The TAA has defined itself as:
The Tobacconists’ Association of America, Ltd. is a trade organization established in 1968 by visionary retail tobacconists. By providing education, communication, research, advocacy, and member discount programs, The TAA works with our members and the industry they support to offer the tools and relationship building opportunities needed to maximize professionalism and success.
There are 12 cigars released for 2020 as a part of the TAA Exclusive Series:
- AJ Fernandez Belles Artes Maduro Figurado
- Brick House Ciento For Ciento 6 1/4 x 54 (Return from 2019)
- CAO Expedición
- CLE 25th Anniversary 11/18
- Encore 656 by E.P. Carrillo
- Kristoff San Andrés Box-Pressed Toro TAA 2020
- La Aurora TAA Exclusivo
- My Father The Judge TAA Exclusive
- Rocky Patel TAA Exclusivo 2020
- Tatuaje TAA 2020
- Timeless TAA 2020 (Nat Sherman)
- Villiger TAA Exclusive 2020
There were four additional TAA Cigars that were announced but never released in 2020. While it was never explicitly stated, the reasons were most likely related to the COVID-19 pandemic. The Crowned Heads release was effectively postponed indefinitely while the La Flor Dominicana and La Palina releases will be a part of the 2021 TAA Exclusive Series.
- Crowned Heads Lost Angel 2020
- La Flor Dominicana TAA 52nd Oro Tecera Edición 6 1/2 x 58 Chisel Natural
- La Flor Dominicana TAA 52nd Oro Tecera Edición 6 1/2 x 58 Chisel Maduro
- La Palina White Label 6 x 50
The following have been Kristoff’s TAA Exclusive Cigar Offerings:
- 2017: Kristoff TAA Exclusive 49
- Kristoff San Andrés Box-Pressed Toro TAA 2020
- 2021: Kristoff 685 Woodlawn Box Pressed Toro TAA 2021
Without further ado, let’s break down the Kristoff San Andrés Box-Pressed Toro TAA 2020 and see what this cigar brings to the table.
Blend and Origin
The Kristoff San Andrés features a San Andres Mexican wrapper over an Ecuadorian Habano-seed binder and Nicaraguan Habano fillers. Production is handled out of the Charles Fairmorn factory in the Dominican Republic.
Wrapper: San Andres Mexico
Binder: Ecuadorian Habano Seed
Filler: Triple Nicaraguan Habano Seed
Country of Origin: Dominican Republic
Factory: Charles Fairmorn
The Kristoff San Andrés Box Pressed Toro measures 6 1/4 x 54. The cigar is presented in 20-count boxes. Production is limited to 500 boxes.
Box Pressed Toro: 6 1/4 x 54 (TAA Exclusive)
Robusto: 5 1/2 x 54
Churchill: 7 x 50
6 x 60: 6 x 60
The San Andres wrapper of the Kristoff San Andrés Box Pressed Toro had a dark roasted coffee bean color. This was a wrapper that didn’t have a lot of oil on it. There was some mottling on the surface. There were some visible veins, and the wrapper seams that were visible were minimal. This was a box-press in the form of a Cuban soft-press style. The cigar also features a covered foot and a cap finished with a pig-tail.
There are two bands on the Kristoff San Andrés Box Pressed Toro. The primary band is the same one found on the rest of the core line. This has a gold foil-like background with some brown embellishments. On the center of the band the text “KRISTOFF” is arranged in curved fashion. Below that is the text “SAN ANDRES” in a slightly smaller bright gold font. Above the Kristoff text is the text “HECHO A MANO DOMINICANA”. On the far right is the Kristoff insignia logo. The logo and all of the text are in a brighter gold font than the band’s background.
There is a secondary band that is unique to the Kristoff San Andrés Box Pressed Toro. This band is black in color with a gold-colored TAA logo. The far right of the band has the Kristoff Insignia.
As opposed to pulling the pig-tail cap off, a straight cut was used to remove both the cap and the pig-tail simultaneously from the Kristoff San Andrés Box Pressed Toro. Once the cap was removed, it was on to the pre-light draw phase. The cold draw delivered a mix of cocoa and leather notes. To me, this was a satisfactory pre-light draw experience. At this point, it was time to light up the Kristoff San Andrés Box Pressed Toro and see what the smoking phase would have in store.
The Kristoff San Andrés Box-Pressed Toro TAA 2020 came out of the gate with notes of earth and red pepper. As the cigar burned through the early phases, notes of coffee, cedar, and a strawberry-like sweetness emerge. Early on the coffee and berry notes moved into the forefront. The earth, pepper, and cedar notes settled in the background. There was an underlying creamy texture to the flavors. Meanwhile, a combination of cedar and pepper was present on the retro-hale.
By the second third of the Kristoff San Andrés Box-Pressed Toro TAA 2020, the coffee notes took over as the primary note. During this phase, there still were notes of cedar, pepper, earth, and berry. The creamy texture remained on this flavor profile but diminished during this stage.
The final third saw the coffee notes remain primary. At the same time, the pepper also joined the coffee in the forefront. There still were notes of earth, cedar, and berry rounding out the flavor profile. When the Kristoff San Andrés Box-Pressed Toro TAA 2020 came to a close, the resulting nub was slightly soft and cool in temperature.
The Kristoff San Andrés Box-Pressed Toro TAA 2020 had a wavy burn line. Several times the burn line meandered, but touch-ups did the trick of keeping the burn line straight as well as the burn path straight. The resulting ash had a silver-gray color. This was an ash that wasn’t overly firm and at times had some minor flaking. The burn rate and burn temperature were both ideal.
The draw to the Kristoff San Andrés Box-Pressed Toro TAA 2020 was on the open side. This didn’t have any adverse effects other than it just didn’t have as much resistance as I prefer.
Strength and Body
The Kristoff San Andrés Box-Pressed Toro TAA 2020 started out as a medium strength, medium-bodied smoke. There was a slight increase in the intensity of both attributes along the way. While the strength level remained at medium, the body entered medium to full in the last third. When looking at strength versus body, the body maintained a slight edge throughout the smoking experience.
Personally, I have been happy to see Kristoff do more box-pressed releases. In the case of the Kristoff San Andrés Box-Pressed Toro TAA 2020, it was a cigar I enjoyed. In terms of how it stacks up with some of its regular production siblings in the Kristoff San Andrés line, I still found the rounded sizes to be better. In the end, my recommendation would be to go to the rounded format (especially the Robusto or Churchill size) over the box-pressed format. The Kristoff San Andrés is certainly a cigar line I would recommend, but I still would recommend trying The TAA box-pressed first or smoking the regular production rounded format.
Key Flavors: Coffee, Berry, Earth, Cedar, Black Pepper
Burn: Very Good
Draw: Very Good
Body: Medium (1st 2/3), Medium to Full (Final Third)
Finish: Very Good
Value: Try a Sample
News: Kristoff San Andrés Box Press Toro Launching as Part of 2020 TAA Exclusive Series
Source: Kristoff, Purchased
Brand Reference: Kristoff
Photo Credits: Cigar Coop