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SteveGriff
10-01-2010, 08:05 PM
Guantanamera Cristales - Cigar Review

Hi guys, here's a new review for you all. Pass it around - critique is always welcome.

The Guantanamera Cristales are one of the lighter bodied Cigars on the Cuban market that come in a clear plastic tube; a unique feature that belongs to this brand only. I sat down this evening with this Cigar. Here are my thoughts.

1. Introduction

For today's smoking I'm going to try a brand that I haven't sampled before. Guantanamera are one of the brands that I have seemed to have missed during my Smoking odyssey. One of the cheaper brands out of Cuba, the packaging and make-up of the Cigar suggests that Habanos SA go for the middle of the cheaper, 'down and dirty' brands such as the Jose L Piedra and Quintero and the medium priced brands such as El Rey De Mundo and Ramon Allones. At around 5.00 a stick in the United Kingdom, these won't break the bank and are targeted for the novice or irregular smoker.
Because they are being targeted at this sector of the market, they are at the light to medium body of the flavour scale. Established in 2002, no doubt Habanos SA have established the Guantanamera brand with these ideals in mind.
2. Presentation

The Cigar itself comes in a somewhat attractive clear plastic tube, with some minimal branding. Opening the case there's no real noticeable smell. Maybe a faint tobacco bouquet, but nothing to indicate any kind of strength, age, or quality. One of the first things you notice when you inspect the Cigar is that the head has been cut for you. No doubt another thing Habanos decided they should do to help the novice smoker get their leg on the smoking ladder. The wrapper itself is in quite good nick with a dark, resonant, wrapper. There's not that many veins - I've seen higher profile, more expensive Cigars with worse wrappers so that in itself is a positive note. The cut cap has some rough spots, but they look solid enough not to trouble the smoke itself. Therefore, I would go to say that so far so good; I would think the basics are in place to entice the novice smoker.
http://www.stevegriff.com/images/cigars/reviews/2010/01/10/01.jpg
Guantanamera Cristales in it's clear plastic presentation tube

http://www.stevegriff.com/images/cigars/reviews/2010/01/10/02.jpg
The head doesn't very tidy but shouldn't hinder smoking

3. Lighting

With the head already cut, it was straight to inspect the draw. The draw was very easy going without any resistance. It was interesting to note that there wasn't that much flavour coming from the Cigar when I tested for the draw which was a concern as usually at this point you can determine if there's going to be some kind of complex flavour profile.
http://www.stevegriff.com/images/cigars/reviews/2010/01/10/03.jpg
The Guantanamera Cristales with it's dark wrapper

Lighting the Cigar wasn't an issue, and within the minute I was away. The first few draws on the newly lit Cigars was very light, with a little faint touch of tobacco. Let me stop right here and say that I'm not the biggest fan of light Cigars when they don't have a suave flavour. For a light Cigar to keep my attention it needs to have a bouquet and somewhat of a complexity. Unfortunately the Guantanamera did not have any kind of substantial profile that makes me think that I might be enjoying a good hour's smoke.
I've had Cigars in the past that are slow starters and develop unexpectedly when I reach around half way. The trouble is these kinds of Cigars are usually in the high end price bracket and the Guantanamera is near the bottom. Things are starting to look not so good.
4. First Third

Although the Cigar was smoking fine, there wasn't much going on to note in terms of flavour. With a faint taste of tobacco, the flavour profile is more of wood. It's a shame that there's no sweetness to this Cigar, like a Nicaraguan would have for example. The burn is fine; there's no real issue which was a relief. I would have liked at least something here to give the impression that there's going to be something to enjoy; something that would make me think that I should stick through smoking this Cigar to the nub.

http://www.stevegriff.com/images/cigars/reviews/2010/01/10/04.jpg
An even burn, something I can give the Cristales some credit for

5. Second Third

I have been smoking around twenty minutes now, with not much change during the second third from the first. The predominant, wood flavours still rule, but rule very meekly. There's nothing here to capture your attention. To it's credit, the burn is steady and even, but I would trade a good burn for a tasty smoke. While smoking this I found myself doing other things such as browsing the web or catching up on some e-mail. I think I enjoy classifying some e-mails as spam more than I enjoy actually smoking this Cigar.

6. Final Third

The end of the Guantanamera Cristales is close, and it can't come quick enough. I think I'm happy that this Cigar is finished. There's nothing here that I would say that I actually liked. Sometimes the enjoyment of smoking is just that you can smoke and I think that even this quality was diminished with this Cigar. What a shame. Laying down this Cigar I saw no development, no good quality flavours. Obviously everything in this Cigar is second rate and it shows badly. Around forty minutes in, I've gotten to the end of the Cristales. I don't like dumping a Cigar half way in, so I'm going to persevere and smoke to the end. (It won't be much of a review if I decided just to finish right here would it? ha ha)

http://www.stevegriff.com/images/cigars/reviews/2010/01/10/05.jpg
The Guantanamera Cristales coming to it's end

7. Would I suggest this Cigar to the Novice Smoker?

There's no doubt that this Cigar has been placed in the market with it's price and flavour profile to appeal to the novice smoker. However, I feel as a smoke that this Cigar would offer a novice smoker no experience of the enjoyment of smoking. If I was someone who was new to the world of Cuban Cigars and had a small amount of money they would like to invest in a few sticks, I would suggest going for the machine made versions of the more popular brands such as Romeo y Julieta and Partagas. These two brands would give the novice smoker a much more honest outlook as a first smoke. For instance, the Romeo y Julieta Petit Princes is a good medium bodied smoke that costs around 7 in the United Kingdom. If a fuller bodied Cigar was in order then I would suggest a Partagas Tres Petit Coronas.
8. Conclusion & Scoring

Overall, a disappointing Cigar. I felt that I had been let down by what I had smoked. There was no substance, no real flavour profile and no development. It seemed that Habanos SA decided to be a bit of a con-artist and wrap this Cigar in a glitzy clear plastic case and not tell anyone how terrible the tobacco inside is.
While researching the brand for this review, I was somewhat unsurprised to find out that this brand had been discontinued in 2005. I'm not sure if it was due to lack of demand, or that the quality was not to the standard that Habanos SA were expecting.
If you ever walk into a Cigar shop and see these for sale, I would step away and look towards the slightly more expensive, yet much higher quality Cigars. Time's too short to smoke bad Stogies.


Appearance: 09/15
Draw & Burn: 17/20
Flavour & Complexity: 08/30
Overall: 15/35
Total: 49/100

68TriShield
10-01-2010, 08:14 PM
Noble of you to take one for the team Sir.
I compare these with glass top Cohibas.Having dissected one of these,I can say the filler had some components I could not, with confidence say was tobacco.

yiorgos
10-01-2010, 08:19 PM
Very good review Steve.
You are right, there is plenty of cigar out there that won't break the bank and will give you the feeling that you are smoking a proper cigar! Even the Jose L. Piedras are far better than them...
I am sure that not many felt sorry to see the brand discontinued

Deano
10-01-2010, 08:22 PM
Great review mate, one to avoid!

Simon-JG-hr
10-01-2010, 08:22 PM
I'm sorry that you had to smoke that Steve - still, an excellent review that gives us a better insight as to why they are called Guantanamos... Thankyou. I'm glad that I haven't been unduly tarnishing their name.

If I remember correctly, Guantanamos also use short filler. I'd be interested to know how you felt the ash held together.

Big_T_UK
10-01-2010, 08:23 PM
I have a friend who is on here occasionally. He has about six of these sitting in his humi and offered me one. I had never heard of them and said no thanks as I was not in a position to smoke it at the time (seemed rude to just pocket it). When I got home I looked it up and was a tiny bit miffed I had not smoked it just for experience sake. I made a mental note to smoke one with him next time I saw him, trade one or something.

I know they are at the very lower end of Cuban production but I have enjoyed the odd Jose L Piedra Casadores from time to time, when I need a cheap smoke. I thought maybe these would be entertaining in the same occasional way. From your review I guess I will just not bother. Even the picture of the cap of the cigar looks horrid.

Cheers for review.

T.

HabanoSy
10-01-2010, 08:38 PM
Good review Steve...

Cheers, HabanoSy

SteveGriff
10-01-2010, 08:42 PM
If I remember correctly, Guantanamos also use short filler. I'd be interested to know how you felt the ash held together.

The ash held together not too bad. I think the cap already being cut was a blessing as it meant I did not have to pick filler from my mouth if I made a bad or un-perfect cut. But still, what a load of Crap this Cigar was.

jdawg
10-01-2010, 09:46 PM
great review, Steve!

You have confirmed what I have heard about these...stay away! :smile:

HabanoSy
10-01-2010, 09:50 PM
You have confirmed what I have heard about these...stay away! :smile:

LOL!!! Yes most definitely...

Cheers, HabanoSy

Kubano
11-01-2010, 02:46 AM
I smoked a box of Cristales about 6 years, and agree with you 100%. Great Review.

misterbulgarin
11-01-2010, 07:25 AM
A BOX?! Your poor man. Good review, hope this spreads the word to everyone ; stay the hell away from these!

tippexx
11-01-2010, 09:37 AM
Great review ..... and all credit to your staying power!

saggel
11-01-2010, 12:38 PM
This is a great review! I have smoked a box of these with some friends couple of years ago...

tippexx
11-01-2010, 01:01 PM
Bloomin' hell Saggle .... men of iron. You and your mates arnt Spartans by any chance are you?

tippexx
11-01-2010, 01:01 PM
Bloomin' hell Saggle .... men of iron. :hail: You and your mates arnt Spartans by any chance are you?

saggel
11-01-2010, 01:05 PM
arnt Spartans

Somewhere nearby... :cool:

cigarluxuries
11-01-2010, 03:22 PM
Honestly-i can't smoke it-if it's even free i can't anyway.Taste is more than cheap and awful.I tried one days ago,and that's it no more of these craps.What makes me wonder-cuban,but machine-rolled...the only machine-rolled cuban cigars.Of course they are going to be at the bottom-as quality,taste,smell,look

Robusto
11-01-2010, 05:10 PM
Mr Griff.

For me, you have written one of the most amusing entries on this site EVER here. Thank you so much for putting in the time to do it. :849:

What was it?

I'd rather be emptying my spam box than smoking one of these.

I cannot look back because my PC is so slow here at work on this site.

You have really cheered me up this evening.

These things are shite. Execrable. Spit-inducing.

I've been given them and nearly carked it on trying the first one. The rest went in the bin.

I popped into the cigar shop at Havana Airport before flying back to the UK recently and was gobsmacked to see that half of the shop was given over to Guantanameros.

Any innocent holidaymaker with a bit of money to burn before flying home might buy some of these to give to a friend as "a real Cuban cigar".

Pity the poor innocent sucking on one of these atrocities.

(I did mean that. One of the best posts I've EVER read on here. EVER. Thank you so so much!).

satch
11-01-2010, 05:20 PM
Well done Steve.
Even if I was tempted before I'm definately not now!

snooky
11-01-2010, 05:31 PM
Great review Steve only wished i'd read it some time ago before i actually tried one.:849:

celsis
12-01-2010, 10:31 AM
Great review Steve only wished i'd read it some time ago before i actually tried one.:849:

I'm the same. I've got about 17 in a box with nowhere to go!

tippexx
12-01-2010, 10:39 AM
I'm the same. I've got about 17 in a box with nowhere to go!

Swap you one for a Hamlet! :smile:

On second thoughts maybe No!

patrickspark
12-01-2010, 02:58 PM
thanks for a very good review on a brand i've never tried (and never will now !)

kinda confirms my policy to whit "if i cant afford a half decent stick right now i'll wait until my piggy banks fatter!"

unfortunately this policy is invoked more often that i'd like!

J Cano
13-01-2010, 01:33 AM
They make great gifts for the inlaws and friends who come over to mooch your beer and what not at parties.

Leojvs
13-01-2010, 06:27 AM
They make great gifts for the inlaws and friends who come over to mooch your beer and what not at parties.

Even then I would rather have a box of JLP Brevas to pass around. Better smoke from what I have read, and under 30Euros for 25, cant be beaten. Will but some when I buy next to have a try.

PoohBore
13-01-2010, 08:21 PM
A while back I posted a picture of the special travel humi for the Guantanamera cigars. At the time I didn't realise it but they do have their own special delivery vehicles

misterbulgarin
16-01-2010, 08:29 AM
Even then I would rather have a box of JLP Brevas to pass around. Better smoke from what I have read, and under 30Euros for 25, cant be beaten. Will but some when I buy next to have a try.

The brevas are great lil smokes, they were my first bulk buy of cigars ( I could only buy one/two singles before i found online sources), and they did me well. Even non-cigar friends liked trying em!