Over the past couple years, Ashton has turned its attention towards the Nicaraguan side of its portfolio. Not only this, but the company has offered a look at what they can provide in the realm of limited edition cigars. In 2014, they introduced the first limited edition La Aroma de Cuba cigar—Noblesse. And the year following, it was San Crisobal that got the special attention, as the Ashton booth proudly displayed the new San Cristobal Ovation for the 2015 IPCPR show.

Both cigars are produced for Ashton by the highly-esteemed Garcia family in Estelí, Nicaragua. For the Ovation, the Garcias have used all Nicaraguan tobaccos, grown on their own farms; save for the San Andrés Oscuro wrapper, which utilized a special 2.5 year, double fermentation process.

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San Cristobal Ovation Breakdown

  • Wrapper: San Andrés Oscuro (2.5 yr double fermented)
  • Binder: Nicaraguan
  • Filler: Nicaraguan
  • Factory: My Father Cigars S.A. (Nicaragua)
  • Production: Limited edition (3,000 boxes of 22 cigars)
  • Vitola: 6½″ × 52 Toro
  • Price: $15.00

The Ovation arrives in a singular Toro size, matching 2014’s Noblesse. The cigars feature the usual, tropical, ornate design found throughout the San Cristobal portfolio, incorporating more color and intricacies throughout. There is also a sub-band for the “Ovation” name, which is attached on the frontside but separates on the back. Finally, there is a bright pink footer ribbon to complete the upgraded look—all in all, a similar, but slightly better look for the brand.

The cigar itself is large and hefty, having a solid pack and decent weight in the hand. There is a light toothiness on the wrapper, which is slightly lighter in color than the primarily dark and milk chocolate-hued leaf. The look of the cigar is not the most elegant, with noticeable seams and prominent veins, topped with a loosely fitted triple cap. It has a very barnyard-like aroma, with earth and manure most noticeable.

Smoking Experience

The first notes are spicy, creamy, and very pleasant. It’s like the Garcias have taken the famous “Pepin spice” and toned it down, making for a muted and subtle take on the well-known profile. Soon the creaminess develops into a more articulate milk chocolate and coffee. There is also a subtle flavor of dark fruit juice in the background and finish of each puff. Overall, the smoke is medium-bodied, pleasant, and light on strength. Unfortunately, the draw and smoke output were not performing very well, though other samplings showed it may have just been this particular stick.

Ashton San Cristobal Ovation cigar review

With an additional cut, the cigar livens up with a little better draw and smoke on each puff. Moving into the second third, the profile feels noticeably less vibrant and complex. The flavors shift as well, moving to more of a woodsy, charred BBQ and savory meat quality. The construction is topnotch, requiring no touchups, with a fairly solid ash that falls in about 1.5″ increments.

Unfortunately, the final third of the smoke does not return to the impressive start of the cigar’s profile. Here, there are added notes of tangy sourdough, a slightly metallic, Splenda-like sweetness (not my favorite), and a heavier chariness (almost harsh). The body retains a solid medium and the strength creeps up to a medium-plus.

San Cristobal Ovation cigar smoking review

Would I smoke this cigar again?

I was seriously disappointed at the outcome of this one, as the initial impression was very promising. Each third of the cigar showed less and less complexity, with a sort of regression of flavor, eventually ending in a place I’d rather not be… Add the cigar’s price tag into the equation and I think you have your answer.

San Cristobal Ovation cigar review and rating

San Cristobal Ovation
A strong start for Ovation disappointed with an equal, yet opposite finale. The cigar begins with a complex and absolutely pleasant profile but surprisingly shifts downwards on each subsequent third. In the end, a near-perfect construction was the only redeeming quality for Ovation. Maybe if the price was less and the length was shorter, it wouldn't have felt like such a burden to go the full distance.
  • Very pleasant first-third
  • Near-perfect construction
  • Tight draw/low smoke output
  • Regression of flavor/complexity from start to finish
  • Occasionally strange, metallic-like notes
85%Hold the Applause
Reader Rating: (8 Votes)
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