A celebrated Cuban cigar, the San Cristobal de la Habana La Punta is an excellent specimen of the pirámide vitola.
In this article, we’ll be reviewing the San Cristobal de la Habana La Punta according to the following considerations:
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- Brand: San Cristobal de la Habana
- Range: La Punta
- Reviewed Vitolas: 5½ x 52 Piramide
- Wrapper: Cuba
- Binder: Cuba
- Filler: Cuba
- Factory: Havana, Cuba
- Handmade: Yes
- Body: Mild – Medium
- Estimated Smoking Time: 65 Minutes
- Pricing: $11 / Single
The San Cristobal de la Habana brand today was launched as recently as 1999. However, it was named after a Cuban manufacturer that ceased production due to the Revolution. Its name reference Havana’s original title, which referred to St Christopher. La Punta is one of the initial three vitolas released by Habanos S.A. in 1999.
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San Cristobal de la Habana La Punta Look & Feel
- Wrapper Hue: Milk Chocolate
- Rolling Consistency: Mostly Straight
- Spring: Firm
- Aromas: Nutmeg, Cinnamon, Terracotta
Overall this is quite an elegant cigar. While it does have a couple of bumps here and there, the roll is quite straight with a nice firm spring. The colour is reminiscent of a dark latte coffee, or even potentially a hot chocolate.
The sheen isn’t overtly oily although you do get the odd glimmer in the light. As for the veins, they can occasionally lean towards the more rustic side, but overall it is quite elegantly presented.
As for the foot’s aroma, expect nutmeg, cinnamon, and the quintessentially Cuban terracotta note, which some people would consider to be somewhat musty.
San Cristobal de la Habana La Punta Review
Unlike New World cigars from countries like Nicaragua, Honduras, and the Dominican Republic, we store Cuban cigars at 65% RH. This three-week acclimation period is undertaken in a separate, small Boveda acrylic humidor. We monitor the humidity level using a Boveda Butler.
- Draw: Ideal
- Aromas: Cinnamon, Suede, Terracotta
The draw can be a little tight with slightly more resistance than is comfortable. However, being a piramide, it can be cut lower down the shoulder to open up the airflow. Furthermore, most of these cigars will loosen well if you massage the body.
Personally, I do like a touch of resistance when smoking cigars so this one was okay.
In terms of flavour, the dry draw reflects the notes earlier with cinnamon and terracotta. Nevertheless, there are also notes of suede leather rather than nutmeg. It’s not quite as spicy and there’s a little bit of additional texture at the front of the tongue.
1st Third Smoking Experience
- Notes: Charred Thyme, Caffè Latte, Peanut
The burn line in first third can quite wavy and it required touching up so it doesn’t get worse. As for the general character, it is a nice, mild to medium-body smoke with a rich and complex bouquet in the opening third.
We’re looking at a lovely accord between charred thyme, and latte coffee with a slight, almost metallic bitterness at the tip of the tongue. The latter note is evocative of peanut or specifically peanut skins. Overall, it balances very nicely on the palate.
2nd Third Smoking Experience
- Notes: Marzipan, Caramel, Turmeric
The La Punta continues to produce an excellent ash stack and the waviness has largely corrected itself after being touched up. It continues to deliver complex flavour without a noticeable increase in body.
Its flavour profile features a caramelised bouquet of spices, such as turmeric or curcuma, as well as a hint of marzipan. I’d also like to note that the latte coffee note is still lingering in there somewhat, and you do have some substance to this otherwise mild body.
Final Third Smoking Experience
- Notes: Nutmeg, Leather, Earth
there is still some waviness on the burn line in the final third, but it’s acceptable. Meanwhile, the ash backbone remains solid. The body evolves to deliver a medium-plus experience as well as a distinctive evolution in flavour.
The final third offers an experience consisting of nutmeg, leather, and earth. The earth note is quite the musty terracotta flavour, though. Instead, it’s bolder, thicker moist soil. Meanwhile, the nutmeg and leather accord to produce an almost resinous oriental spiciness.
Its overall complexity is very nuanced. There’s an intricate composition throughout each third. The mouthfeel stays smooth in the first third is quite creamy, but then becomes a little bit chewier.
Its astringency is quite balanced. That being said, this palate stimulation overall tends to lean towards the front of the palate. You’re certainly going to get a little bit more stimulation towards the tip rather than near the rear.
The lifecycle is very developed. As I mentioned, there are distinctive changes throughout each third. This is a cigar that certainly likes to tell a story. The finish is quite long and lingering on the palate and the residual scent that it leaves in the room is overall fragrant and quite pleasant.
- Ash Backbone: Very Strong
- Burn Angle: Slightly Wavy
- Temperature: Mostly Cool
- Draw: Ideal Airflow
- Final Smoking Time: 65 Minutes
As I mentioned in the pre-light, the draw was a little bit on the tight side but it does open itself quite nicely as you progress through the smoke. I also provided an overview of how the burn line evolved above. Generally, it can be quite wavy and may merit the odd touch-up.
Otherwise, the ash backbone is impressive and attests to good workmanship. If that’s your thing, you could produce some great stacks with this
The La Punta has a classic Cuban-style band as you would expect. Although the brand is quite new, it does have a traditional appearance that gives the illusion of a long heritage.
The same can be said for the box, which tends to be of the more cardboard variety that is plastered with different stickers and decals.
As for the value of the cigar, we’re looking at about $11 for a single, but I’ve seen prices that go down to maybe just under $10.
If you’re in the USA, your options are somewhat limited. There are some retailers who will deliver to the USA, although it is a legally grey area so I can’t personally condone it.
However, sellers like iHavanas, Montefortuna and Bellhop cigars will deliver them to the USA. That said, these purchases always come with risks with customs.
Then when it comes to the occasion and when you would want to smoke this cigar, this is a great cigar for around the lunchtime period.
You could certainly enjoy it for the early afternoon, all the way to the early evening. You can consider it as a digestif after a business lunch. Furthermore, it’s a cigar that can be smoked casually, but you can certainly enjoy it in a more formal environment.
San Cristobal de la Habana La Punta Pairings
First of all, I would suggest if you’re going to have something to accompany this cigar would be perhaps a savoury snack of salted peanuts. Alternatively, a pain au chocolate, or what southern French like to call a “chocolatine”, would certainly bring out some of the more gourmand properties of the cigar. The yeastiness of the pastry with the chocolate pair quite nicely.
And finally, if you were to have this as a digestif following a meal, consider something like a veal cutlet. The flavoursome meat is certainly going to be extended once you have the cigar.
As for beverages, you can consider the usual suspects such as a Fine Champagne Cognac, an añejo rum or even Highland single malt whisky. I personally would probably go for latte coffee, perhaps as a digestif after lunch. In the early evening, one of these spirits would be a great option instead.
An well-balanced Cuban cigar with rich and complex flavour, the San Cristobal de la Habana La Punta is easy to enjoy. It’s not overly expensive and will be universal for most palates.
"Accessible and easy to smoke, the La Punta is a great option for those who are seeking an introduction to Cuban cigars."
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