Cigar Review: Kristoff Shade Grown Matador – Rated 86

Introduced in 2019, the Kristoff Shade Grown is a cigar most sites have noted as a re-branding of the original Kristoff Britannia Reserva. Regardless, it fills out the company’s portfolio with Honduran Shade grown Connecticut wrapper that offers a mild to medium body.

Kristoff Shade Grown Matador

Kristoff describes this cigar as:

“The Shade Grown is a mild-medium bodied cigar that .. offers the depth, flavor and complexity not found in other mild cigars.”

The blend is described as:

  • Wrapper – Connecticut Shade, Honduran
  • Binder – Cuban Seed Dominican
  • Filler – Cuban Seed Nicaraguan, Cuban Seed Dominican

The Kristoff Shade Grown is expressed in three vitolas each of which comes packaged in 20-count boxes cushioned by loose leaf in the box.

  • Matador (6.5 x 56) MSRP $9.00
  • Robusto (5.5 x 54) MSRP $8.00
  • Churchill (7 x 50) MSRP $8.14

For this review, I sampled the Kristoff Shade Grown Matador.

Pre-Light Examination

The Kristoff Shade Grown has a medium tan and oily wrapper that is light on veins and has a bit of marbling running through it. It is fairly solid to the touch and uses a twist cap and a closed foot to complete the presentation. It should be noted that the cap is not rounded but flat.

There is a single band that adorns the cigar, using a dark grey and gold motif. The name Kristoff is boldly printed in gold in the center, along with “Shade Grown” and the phrase “Hecho a Mano Dominicana” (Hand Made in the Dominican) on top and bottom.

Kristoff Shade Grown Matador
Kristoff Shade Grown Matador

As I ran the barrel along the nose I picked up a floral aroma and the foot exuded notes of natural sweetness, nut, and a hint of vanilla. Enticing to say the least.

After thinking about how to open the cap, I chose to use a double blade cutter and sliced the cap straight across, right below the top. A few cold draw puffs treated the palate to some light spice and a touch of nut.

I reached for my double flame torch to warm the foot which took to the flame immediately with the closed foot leaf. I draw in some early puffs of a light-medium peppery smoke and gentle burn on the nose.

Cigar Review Notes

Kristoff Shade Grown Matador
Kristoff Shade Grown Matador
Kristoff Shade Grown Matador
Kristoff Shade Grown Matador
Kristoff Shade Grown Matador
Kristoff Shade Grown Matador
Kristoff Shade Grown Matador
  • First light offered medium pepper and light burn on the nose
  • There is a note I can’t place, but it reminds me of cigars I smoked back thirty-plus years ago
  • Grassy notes start to show early in the burn
  • The smoke is quite smooth, but just medium in volume
  • Butter Nut aroma wafts off the foot
  • A light grey ash forms on a medium thick char line
  • Citrus and coffee notes with an undertone of cream enter the profile
  • Once the ash fell it revealed a fairly centered burn cone
  • Herbal notes start to grow
  • A touch of bitterness enters midway that lasted for about an 1/8 inch of burn
  • Spice is breaking in
  • Floral notes join the mix
  • Aroma shifts to more of a nut aroma
  • Ash is getting flaky
  • Spice and floral notes swirl about with a nuance of toast deep in second third
  • Burn starts to go off entering the final third
  • Spice increases with a nuance of dried fruit moving through the final
  • Mild to Medium in Strength
  • Total Smoking Time was 1 hour and 45 minutes

Overall, the Kristoff Shade Grown is a decent value, mild to medium, cigar that would make for a good start of the day with a nice cup cafe latte. The flavors were plentiful and ever changing from start to finish, though not exactly the most balanced. It had a medium volume of smoke, a flaky ash, and it did demonstrate an off burn deep in the burn. If you are looking for a mild to medium cigar at a decent price, check one out. I rate this a 86.

Point Deductions: (-1) Flat Burn Cone; (-1) Medium Volume of Smoke; (-1) Bitterness; (-1) Flaky Ash; (-2) Unbalanced Flavors; (-1) Off Burn deep in the burn; (-1) Worth checking one out

Kristoff Shade Grown Matador

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