San Cristobal Muralla Review
Price: $45 est.
Size: 7″ x 54 Rodolfo
Box: Varnished Box 25
The San Cristobal Muralla is a relatively new offering from Habanos launched in February 2006. The Muralla is named after a famous street in old Havana and the Rodolfo size is essentially a larger version of the Piramide. I was excited to spend my Saturday with this exclusive cigar, which is in the higher-end in terms of price than most vitolas. I have not come across this cigar at any B&M store I visit, but a box of 25 can be had for between $400-$500 through most online vendors. I would hazard to guess a street price of around $45 after the government and HoH get their share.
This cigar is all about presentation and visually it is stunning. Beginning with the beautiful Cherry stained wood varnished box to the wrapper and construction, it delivers on the impression as being something special. It’s sheer size is an intimidating 7 inch x 54 ring gauge. At the length of a Churchill, holding it in your hand and pressing the tapered end of the cigar to your lip simply makes you feel important. For those wondering, the draw was perfect.
Anxious to light this up, I began by slowly toasting the foot and gently blowing until the foot turned from charcoal to white. The first initial pulls immediately reminded me of cedar, earth and ginger flavors. The cigar is well refined, with a mild-medium body and smooth tobacco finish. The scent is extremely pleasant. It is just so mild, if smoked in a public place I would imagine most would welcome the scent than take offense. However, for all it’s benefits the cigar is completely lacking in terms of complexity and sheer enjoyment. There is nothing truly characteristic or bold about this vitola; it leaves very little in terms of a lasting impression. This is not a cigar for the serious smoker, but more so for the occasional one. It’s a kin to a Jag, sophisticated and well-refined, comfortable and predictable but boring – Give me a BMW! As a result, I found it extremely difficult to finish this cigar, it was simply too pleasant, too pretty and too predictable. For all it’s ups and downs, I would have been much happier with a Montecristo #2.
The San Cristobal Muralla is a lavish cigar with a gorgeous presentation. But it will likely be remembered more for it’s appearance than the smoking experience. It’s a fine cigar, mild and well-balanced, but lacking in character. This is a cigar for the golf course, where it serves to compliment the experience, rather than take centre focus. It’s simply too plain to be interesting, and for its size, can become boring. In terms of value it’s extremely difficult to recommend, mainly because there are far better and less expensive choices such as the Oliva Serie V. For name-sake alone, San Cristobal is not a very recognizable brand. Like many things aimed at the high end market, brand is everything. So I am not sure how they can reasonably expect to command such a high price. If I were to spend $500 on a box of cigars, it better say Cohiba – and they taste better too.