Life is too short to smoke bad cigars ~ Zen Warrior
What Makes It Special
In 2019, Kristoff Cigar owner, Glen Case, crashed his motorcycle into an Oklahoma guardrail, placing him in the hospital, a wheelchair, and challenging road to recovery. Glen decided to acknowledge his near death experience with his new Guardrail Cigar expression, as a tribute to his second chance at life.
This medium bold cigar features a dark Brazilian wrapper over Dominican binder and fillers, as well as unique fillers from Zimbabwe, Africa. Kristoff Cigars is a global powerhouse brand in the cigar industry, and Glen is a proud sponsor of the globally rebranded Great Cigar & Pipe Show. Glen, along with 28 Mile Distillery Director of Sales, Jonathan Hopmayer, joined Whiskey Network on the podcast for a live pairing, featuring the new Guardrail Robusto and 28 Mile’s Debonair Bourbon. Be sure to check out this epic and hilarious Valentines Day special episode here:
Brand: Kristoff Cigars
Vitola: 5.5×54 Robusto
Filler: African, Dominican
Wrapper: Brazilian Maduro
Binder: Dominican Habano
Body: Medium to Full Boldness
Visual / Pre-light Draw
The Maduro wrapper is dark brown and pig tailed with a semi-closed foot. There was a big bold earthy hay odor as soon as I took it out of the cello. Its bold veins and tough looking teeth are rough to the touch, with a nice layer of oil on the wrapper. The classy but simple silver and black band displays Kristoff Guardrail over Glen Case, over a classic looking set of motorcycle handlebars, with angel wings on the back of the band. There are nice fresh and floral barnyard hay notes on the side sniff, with bolder hay notes on the semi closed dry foot odor, with a hint of chocolate. There was some nice chocolatey saltiness, and no spice on the palate when prepping the ciga’s head for a nice Colibri-V cut. The dry draw is bold with both floral and cocoa notes.
Unique lambskin leather flavored wafers on the first puff, which I immediately and naturally retro-haled. There is a nice subtle momentary fruity and leathery spice on the retro, with a hint of coconut on the very tip of the nose, and awesome cocoa on the foot smoke odor. Then there are some nice transitions to chocolate covered fruitiness. This is a slow and very even burning, lengthy and masculine looking Robusto, that has an extremely bold and wildly unique leathery flavor, which Glen confirmed comes from the African tobacco leaves.
The cigar’s black and gray sturdy ash is going strong, with some fruity melon flavors coming in now. The retro has settled down to creamy and candylike notes, while the wild foot smoke odor transitions to bold purple grapes. This cigar is definitely a ride on the wild side as it transitions to some sweet fruitiness, and the ash finally fell off with dignity. Time to introduce the prohibition style Debonair bourbon to Glen’s moment of truth, HOLY EVEL KNIEVEL, this pairing is “Born to be Wild!” ~ Steppenwolf
More notes of fresh lambskin leather coming in with nice subtle transitions to creamy vanilla. The cigar’s burn slows as its chocolate covered fruitcake foot smoke odor fills the room. The construction on this cigar is incredible with a perfect even burn and sturdy second chapter of black ash, an obvious sign that this cigar was packed with high quality tobacco. Kristoff is the only brand currently using African tobacco from Zimbabwe. Finally, there is a nice back end transition to nutty pistachios over baked bread, and the retro has softened out entirely with little to no spice. I simply don’t want this cigar to end, but thankfully it seems like it never will. It is unlike any other cigar I have experienced, a must try for any cigar enthusiast.
The whiskey to the cigar produces delicious and tingly caramel that melts into creamy and leathery butter. Together on the retro, I get nice leathery burnt wafers. The 46% ABV is right on the money for this bolder medium bodied cigar. The pairing is definitely a great marriage that definitely got me on level, a unique leathery fruit bomb pairing for those who wish to live on the wild side.
Rose “The Debonair” Miller was an elusive prohibition era bootlegger and distiller from Highwood, Illinois. She learned the trade from her professor father’s distilling hobby, and crafted her favorite small batch Columbian “Exposition” bourbon. After disappearing in the 1930s, her portfolio was recovered in an attic of an estate sale, in Highwood, 28 Miles from Chicago, and a short cruise from Glen’s childhood 685 Woodlawn home. The 28 Mile Distillery, who was entrusted with the documents, recently resurrected Rose’s favorite prohibition style whiskey recipe. The Debonair unfortunately died during history’s worst 1942 Cocoanut Grove Club fire in Boston, Massachusetts.
This high rye Tennessee whiskey (21%) is blended with Kentucky straight bourbon, then finished in Spanish sherry and French cognac casks. It has a nice aroma of creamy vanilla and cinnamon over subtle notes of cherry, with nice fruit spice on the palate.
These Illinois residents, past and present, are true masters of their crafts. Kristoff Cigars are enjoyed around the world, while The Debonair bourbon won a double gold medal in the 2021 San Francisco World Spirits Competition. Rose and Glen’s tribute to their rejuvenated spirits, have presented the perfect opportunity to see what happens, when “The Debonair” crashes into a “Guardrail.”
Smoking the cigar to the bourbon definitely enhances the fruitiness of the cigar with nice leathery vanilla and grape push popsicle flavored undertones. The whiskey to the cigar produces delicious and tingly caramel that melts into creamy and leathery butter. Together on the retro, I get nice leathery burnt wafers. The 46% ABV is right on the money for this bolder medium bodied cigar. The pairing is definitely a great marriage that definitely got me on level, a unique leathery fruit bomb pairing for those who wish to live on the wild side.
Happy Third Anniversary Whiskey Network!
Thank you Kristoff Cigar owner, Glen Case, and 28 Mile Distillery’s Jonathan Hopmayer for joining us on The Great Cigar & Pipe Show. We had a blast!
Visit Kristoff.com and click on ‘where to buy’ to locate any of the wonderful selections from Kristoff Cigars. My personal favorites are the 685 Woodlawn Perfecto and this Guardrail Robusto.
Photography by: James Archie