Crossfire Library Series Count of San Andrés | Cigar Review

Wrapper: Mexican San Andrés
Binder: Dominican
Filler: Dominican
Size: 6.25 x 56 “Count of San Andrés-Box Pressed”
Body: Medium/Full
Price: $11.99 MSRP

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Crossfire-Library-Series-4

Today we take a look at the new Crossfire Library Series Count of San Andrés.
Thanks to Miguel Castro for the gift.

I want to take this moment to explain something. Newly released cigars are expensive. The generous donors who have sent me cigars spent a lot of dough, out of their own wallets, to keep me going. The price point situation is not going to get better. A year from now, cigars will be even more expensive and we will probably be looking fondly at the days when cigars cost only $10.00. I would love to review inexpensive cigars but there just ain’t that many out there. I do have a couple of Crossfire blends to review in the $6-$7 range, but everything else in my humidor is in the double digit range. I don’t like it any more than you do. But this now seems to be status quo.

BACKGROUND:
Factory: Tabacalera William Ventura
Limited production

Courtesy of Halfwheel.com:
“The new collection, dubbed The Library Series, is made up of three cigars: The Count of San Andres, The Diary of a Connecticut and Legends of the Arapiraca, with the first two being made available to existing Crossfire retailers as of July 1. New retailers will have the opportunity to order the cigars at the upcoming trade show, with the Arapiraca version slated for a mid to late fall release, according to Jason M. Lois, the company’s national sales manager.

“The Count of San Andres uses a Mexican wrapper from the well-known San Andrés region, The Diary of a Connecticut replaces that top leaf for one from Ecuador, while Legends of the Arapiraca uses a Ecuadorian Arapiraca wrapper. The Library Series marks the first time that Crossfire has used a wrapper from outside of Ecuador on one of its releases.

“All three use a Dominican binder and filler underneath, though Lois wouldn’t confirm that it was the same tobacco blend for each cigar.

“Each is being released in a 6 1/4 x 56 box-pressed toro extra vitola for the first edition, with subsequent releases coming in different vitolas, though not on a set schedule at this point. Lois said the next edition will come as popularity and demand warrant.

“All three versions come in ten-count boxes that feature a slide-out drawer where the cigars rest. The Count of San Andres and The Diary of a Connecticut have an MSRP of $119.90, (10 count box) or $11.99 per cigar, while pricing for the Arapiraca has not yet been announced.

“All of the cigars are being made at Tabacalera William Ventura in the Dominican Republic, with production capped for the first edition at 500 boxes of each blend, a total of 5,000 cigars and 15,000 cigars between the three versions.”

DESCRIPTION:
Very attractive cigar. I love the entire presentation. From the soft/crisp box press to the giant cross in the middle of the cigar band.
The wrapper is an oily (with matte finish here and there), mottled, milk chocolate brown color. Seams are basically tight. Few veins. As I had 3 samples, the caps differ from one to the other. All done expertly; but one has a flat cap…another has a rounded cap, etc.
The stick is solid. Not a single soft spot.
The cigar band complements the cigar color nicely. I’d like to see their next blend have a Star of David on it instead of a cross. And they can call it “JewFire.”

AROMAS AND COLD DRAW NOTES:
From the shaft, I can smell spice, sweet potato, barnyard, mild chocolate and coffee, citrus, and floral notes.
From the clipped cap and the foot, I smell dark bittersweet chocolate, spice (really strong), espresso, nuts, barnyard, and earthy tobacco.
The cold draw presents flavors of caramel butter sweetness, spice, chocolate, malt, coffee, and cedar.

FIRST THIRD:
Smoke pours from the foot and nearly blinds me. The draw is superb..
The flavors spew like water from a faucet: Black pepper, chocolate, malts, creaminess, cinnamon, dates, cedar, and some flavors that just can’t quite be accounted for yet.
Strength is medium+ body.

4

The Crossfire Cigars web site is very accommodating except that it doesn’t include the new Library Series of which this cigar blend is one. I’m always let down by the laziness of a manufacturer that when a new blend(s) is released, they are two months behind in getting it on their web site. That kind of laziness is inexcusable. If they are lazy there, what other parts of their organization are they lazy in? Hopefully, not the design and production of their product.
Thank goodness for Halfwheel.com. Always a reliable source for information.

There is this loitering sweet potato essence that achieves some status from the smacking of the lips on the finish. Sometimes, Charlotte and I just bake a sweet ‘tater in the oven, break it open, slather it with unsalted butter, a touch of salt, and voila! We have dinner. Sometimes, the simple things are the best.

Construction is good. So is the char line. It started out a little rough but I caught it in time.
Chocolate, caramel, and creaminess give the Crossfire Library Series Count of San Andrés a candy bar-like anatomy. It tastes very much like the Askinosie Dark Chocolate + Malted Milk CollaBARation Bar.

chocolatebar2

Ever wonder what malt is exactly?
“What is a malt?
“A cereal grain (usually barley) that’s been dried by malting.
“How do you malt something?
“By soaking a cereal grain in water to germinate, removing it during germination, and then drying it in hot, dry air.”

Salty caramel, molasses sweetness, pistachio nut, and white chocolate. The Crossfire Library Series Count of San Andrés is going Bozo crazy on me.
Then a meaty series shows up.
I love that I am being tested by this complex cigar. The experienced palate will have a field day with this blend. Methinks it is a chameleon blend. Each palate will come up with its own definition of flavors. Sort of a spinning roulette wheel.

5

Strength hits medium/full. Full of wonderful balance. And a long, chewy finish.
This is a high quality blend. Not fucking around like the last couple of reviews whose price points were the same as this little gem.

This Library Series is a quantum leap for the Crossfire Cigars folks. I tried the other blend; the Arapiraca last night and was equally as pleased as I am with this blend.
This is high falutin’ journeyman blending.

SECOND THIRD:
Smoke time is 35 minutes.
The cigar blend is smooth as glass.
The Crossfire Library Series Count of San Andrés digs its heels in now. There is a big jump in complexity. The flavors burst like a water balloon.
The malts: Chocolate Malt, Aromatic Malt, Cara Munich Malt, Chocolate Rye Malt, and Flaked Barley Malt. (See Malt Chart).

6third

What a friggin’ delicious masterpiece. The Crossfire Library Series Count of San Andrés is so complex that my head is spinning. (“Your mother sells socks in hell!!”)
Flavors don’t intermingle as much as they seem like a DNA strand.

I’m going to not try stepping on my dick and say that this cigar is well worth the $12. It is the first $12 cigar worth its keep I’ve smoked in a while. This is a lot of dough for a single cigar. And I cannot think of one $7 cigar that is this complex and delicious.
The Crossfire Library Series Count of San Andrés is very sophisticated. I actually think that it may be beyond my scope of detecting subtle flavors.
I reach the halfway point. Smoke time is 50 minutes.

7half

Here goes: Chocolate, creaminess, coffee, malts, salty caramel, cedar, meaty, nutty, toasty, sweet potato, spice, and leather.
I know that sounds crazy but it is what I taste. Maybe I’m finally going off the deep end.

I’m getting very tired of the debates. Both Republican and Democratic. Nothing new is said on the Dem’s side. And the Republican debate continues to be carnival side show.
It really makes you scary to think that one of those people will be our next president. It is like Punch & Judy.
And a moment taken for those poor Parisians. I hope that the Europeans finally get off their collective asses and do something instead of relying upon America to do the heavy lifting. Let them all, including the moderate Arab nations, get rid of ISIS. And our soldiers can sit at home and watch the war on terror from their living room TV’s.

Back to the Crossfire Library Series Count of San Andrés.
I love this cigar. It’s better than a BJ in a strange bar’s bathroom.
Strength remains at medium/full. The spiciness is returning. Gives the blend some oomph.
I’m a big fan of the San Andrés wrapper. It’s sweet and tangy.
I know this is nuts but I get a slight taste of root beer.
This blend is not the kind you let humidor rest for 6 months or longer. If you do, you will lose a lot of its subtleties. I think anywhere from 3-8 weeks should do it. After that, the oils will meld into your other cigars and this wondrous flavor profile will be diminished.

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But it is an expensive cigar. Even so, it is worth at least a 5 pack. If you’re flush, go for the box.
Cigar Federation is selling the sticks for full retail. But with your 10% off membership privileges, the cigar is reduced to $10.80. Every little bit helps. They only have 5 packs and 10 packs. No singles left. I don’t know where else they can be purchased unless your local B & M carries the line.

It is deadly quiet outside. Not a single bird is chirping. And the music isn’t on because Charlotte got a bug up her behind last night and decided to clean and rearrange the entire living room starting at 10pm. I have no idea when she got to bed but she is still asleep so the music is off.

There have been some minor burn issues but corrected easily and quickly. No points taken off the final score.
I’m approaching the final third when nicotine rears its ugly head. But very mild at this point.

LAST THIRD:
Smoke time is one hour 15 minutes.
The Crossfire Library Series Count of San Andrés is a dreamy cigar. Relaxing. Smooth. Flavorful. Complex. And while it is a strong cigar, it doesn’t get in the way of my enjoyment.
And now we have a full bodied blend. Woo Hoo. The nicotine really kicks in hard.

9third

The Crossfire Library Series Count of San Andrés is exceptional in every way.
I am conflicted about recommending it for newbies. But then again, what better way to instruct one’s palate in something new?
I just realized that I haven’t reviewed a single Crossfire cigar. How odd.

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But thanks to Miguel and another reader (I didn’t write it down); I still have the Arapiraca, Crossfire Corojo, and Crossfire Connecticut to review. As you can see in the photo, there is a difference in appearance between two $6 cigars and a $12 stick.

This was a terrific experience. The last two reviews were terrible: HVC Vieja Cosecha No.2 and the Camacho Shellback. Today was my lucky day thanks to Miguel Castro.

So got to Cigar Federation and snag a 5 pack if you can.

RATING: 91

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Some thoughts….
I received an email from a dear reader who sent me some cigars. I failed to email him and thank him so I got an email asking if I had received them?
To all the wonderful people who send me cigars, I ask for your patience.
You have no idea how confused I get. It’s like a bad acid trip.

I’ve created this illusion, through my writing, that I’m lucid. But that modicum of lucidity only happens when I’m writing. The rest of the day, I forget where light switches are, I open a drawer when I mean to open a cabinet door, I grab a fork and go sit down not knowing why I did that, I forget where Charlotte is and I panic, every little thing overstimulates me and I get stressed out, I don’t like leaving the house anymore…it scares me, I call my daughter the wrong name on a regular basis, I forget to eat. I don’t remember what day it is, I don’t remember what month it is and sometimes I don’t know what year it is.

Using my camera is becoming a real chore as I forget how to work it properly and it is becoming progressively worse…so many buttons…And my writing is suffering; I can’t remember the right words to describe things. Sometimes I scream in frustration. Sometimes, I cry in frustration.

I have trouble keeping track of who sent me what. I’ve got a system, but it’s flawed; because it depends on me remembering to do it.

I have a big dry erase board to write things down. But sometimes I just stare at it. It might as well be a foreign language. And there are times I can’t figure out how to use the pen.

I’m not on meds for Alzheimer’s because I can’t afford them. So I have nothing to stop the slide. The donations I get go no further than paying doctors. No cigars are bought with this money.

If you have been generous to me, then please remind me of your generosity if I forget to respond. I’m not doing it on purpose. I’m not blowing you off. I’m not belittling you. Every gesture, no matter the size, is greatly appreciated. Cigars are my key to happiness.

One thing I’m fully aware of is that things could be much worse. I’m not alone. Everyone has a family member battling some illness. I’m grateful that my dear wife and darling daughter are healthy. That is everything to me.

But I am treading water. And I ask for your permission to do the best I can.
I’m not an asshole.
I’m very ill.
At some point, I will decide when it is time to stop reviewing cigars because I’m proud of my writing but I’m becoming increasingly distraught at its decline.
Thank you all for your kind support.
Phil

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2 replies

  1. The writing and palate are as implacable as always, sir. I had an AB Tempus Nicaragua the other day, and your review was spot on.

    I read an Illusione (my personal go-to brand) review on another site recently which used the description “dry, aged tobacco”. That was a good laugh. Body, strength, and flavor were employed interchangeably. Your work saves us from having to fall back on such opinions.

    Anonymously Pudding

    p.s.: Steak dinner. Notes of seared beef. 4.5/5. Box-worthy.

    • Dry aged tobacco…as opposed to what? sopping wet tobacco leaves with the dirt still on them?
      The thing about reviewing is anyone with a computer can do it.
      There are some fine reviewers out there. But I won’t tell you who. My all consuming vanity prevents me from doing so.
      Thanks Stogie Pudding. I like that. The perfect amalgam of anonymous names.
      Now how do I write that and then turn around and say: “Flurp flassle moosie dingus ratso pooey schmegus” to my dear Charlotte? It can’t be muscle memory because I can no longer play a lick on the bass after 50 years. Damn.