CW Review: Aristoff 550S Cameroon
Aristoff cigars were launched with a big fanfare at the Retail Tobacco Dealers Association show in Nashville in August 1998 and with double page ads in Cigar Aficionado and Smoke Magazine. The cigars come in two distinctive shapes: perfecto and bellicoso. The filler is a blend of aged Dominican tobacco and the binder is Dominican Olor. Both sizes are available with three different wrappers: Connecticut Shade, which brings a mild, smooth flavor; Cameroon, which adds a hint of spice; or Arapiraca (Brazilian Maduro), which adds more body and a touch of sweetness.
The Special Perfecto Series S and the Belicoso Series B come in three sizes: 4.5 x 50, 5.5 x 50 and 7 x 52. The suggested retail price ranges from $ 6.50 to $ 9.00.
Another cigar available from Aristoff is a 6.75 x 38/56/38 figurado, called Master of the Universe. The filler is Dominican, the binder is Cameroon, with a Connecticut Shade wrapper.
Cigar Weekly reviews are blind taste tests conducted by our readers. Reviewers are sent three samples with all identifying marks removed. Reviewers are chosen randomly from the list of everyone that has signed the Cigar Weekly Guest Book. Their comments are below.
Dr. Bruce Miles: This is the oiliest natural wrapper I have ever held. Beautiful perfecto shape. 2 of the 3 cigars burned very evenly with a light gray ash. Easy draw on the same 2 cigars. The first few puffs were subtle with a very brief medium burn in the throat.
Eric Brown: Excellent looking cigar....I wonder what it is...hummm?
Jeff Roy: When I opened the box and saw the cigars, I said "Wow, what a good looking cigar" due to its shape. I am not used to smoking cigars with that tip style. The burn was very even , but thr draw was very tight on 2 of the 3.
Kevin Hall: The samples were stored in my humidor for a week at 67%RH to allow them to stabilize. One of the samples had a small hole in the wrapper near the band area. The perfecto tips were inconsistent in their sizes (ring gauge). The caps were pretty good, one sample was perfect and the other two only had small wrinkles. Very small veins in an oily looking Cameroon(?) wrapper.
Michael Raymond: The initial outward appearance would suggest a kinship with a Hemingway. The quality of construction and wrapper are equally fine and this cigar has a superior aroma. Firmly rolled, the burn and draw are near perfect.
Paul J. Sorrentino: Received the cigars in excellent condition, tight wrap with a very firm feel and no detectable hard or soft spots. They had a very a pleasant floral aroma with no hint of ammonia. The wrappers were lightly veined and the natural brown color was uneven due to patches of oil (the only drawbacks) but the cap was smooth. The draw was close to perfect with ample amounts of smoke. The cigars burn evenly and stayed lit with minimum effort; nice coned coal when ashed. The ash was very firm and a typical light gray. The texture of the ash showed a well-rolled cigar with properly aged tobacco and a premium wrapper. In all, a well constructed cigar.
Richard Guider: I thought this was a beautifully made cigar. It had an almost perfect texture and feel. It had a nice oily finish and feel. I noticed right away that all three samples were wrapped very tightly. The cigar was very hard, even after sitting in my humidor for a week after arriving. But overall, I thought this was a nice looking cigar.
Robert W. Huff Jr.: The cigar was a medium dark brown with medium texture very small or light veins with oily wrapper. The cap was well constructed. The bunch was fairly firm. The burn was uneven with dark gray flaky ash. The draw was a little to easy for my taste. I didn't enjoy the aroma at all.
Royce B. Garvin: I liked this cigar's appearance... the old, traditional perfecto shape. The wrapper appeared somewhat veiny and oily. The cigar's draw was perfect for me, and the cigar produced a 2" - 2 1/2" ash, indicating good construction.
Shawn Pauling: Aroma was almost too strong out of the mail, but got better later. Overall, everything was pretty good so far.
Dr. Bruce Miles: About five minutes into the smoke, I realized that this was a rich cigar with no bitterness. any initial burn disappeared. The aroma just got better and better.
Eric Brown: Great Smoke. Nice and easy, like a good cigar should be. Great burn, nice finish. This cigar should be in the hall of fame.
Jeff Roy: Enjoyed the smokes. Had a spicy scent and flavor to them. Two of the three were slow burners.
Kevin Hall: The draw on two of the samples was a little tight, and the third was perfect. The burn was a little uneven, but usually corrected itself. The only *real* problem that I had was the fact that the wrappers seem to be extremely fragile. One sample split at the foot, and another completely unraveled. I would characterize this cigar as mild-to-medium bodied with a earthy, nutty, and slightly spicy flavors. This cigar has a faintly sweet taste with just a hint of bitterness and sharpness upon lighting, which disappears with a few puffs.
Michael Raymond: A rich, medium to full bodied cigar. Earthy, spicy and well balanced. Packed with flavor. No negative aftertaste. Retains roundness throughout the smoke.
Paul J. Sorrentino: These cigars smoke like a dream; sweet and creamy on the first half, then nice spicy flavors kicked in on the second half. Excellent complex flavors made these cigars never boring. The volume of smoke was ample and pleasurable and the cigars burned even right down to the butt. I smoked each sample to less than a one half inch with out even a hint of bitterness. Send more cigars!
Richard Guider: This is a very mild cigar with little or no aftertaste. There was no burn on the tongue until the very end. I found it lacking in the flavor department. I found myself trying real hard to recognize any taste. It had a slight nutty taste, but very hard to detect. The draw was very hard. It was difficult to get a good puff of smoke. The cigar stayed hard throughout the entire smoke. I thought that it might loosen up, but it didn't. I was disappointed in the smoking experience since I was impressed with the pre-smoke.
Robert W. Huff Jr.: The flavor was ample with a modest medium strength. The body of the smoke was medium also. There was an excessive burn on the tongue with a light bitter saltiness.
Royce B. Garvin: At first, I seemed to notice a slight perfumy aroma, but this faded as I smoked the cigar. I would categorize the body of the cigar as medium to full (fuller as I smoked). The cigar had a nice, leathery taste. I might guess Honduran origin.
Shawn Pauling: Pretty good. Easy to light, didn't give any burn problems at all. I didn't like it as much as my favorites, but liked it better than those that aren't my favorites. Not bad, but not remarkable.
Dr. Bruce Miles: A very nice medium body cigar, it just misses being a great cigar (but it is better than good). That oily wrapper and the classy perfecto shape makes it elegant.
Eric Brown: An excellent smoke. I would recommend this cigar to anyone (if they can find them!).
Jeff Roy: Wouldn't mind adding some of these to my collection. Although not my favorites. They were good enough to last the entire time I took my kid trick or treating on Halloween.
Kevin Hall: This cigar was very tasty! Although, it is a lighter body than I usually enjoy, it was still very good. I am sure that if the burn problems were absent this would rate much higher. Maybe they needed to rest longer before I smoked them. ??? Overall, this cigar has a very likeable taste. I would like try them again to see if they burn better.
Michael Raymond: This is a wonderful cigar. Fine appearance, construction, burn, draw and aroma. A long, firm and beautiful ash. This cigar is so packed with flavor, you find yourself constantly licking your lips. A bolder smoke, this one is not for beginners. I cannot say enough good things about this cigar except that it is the finest non-Cuban cigar I have yet smoked!
Paul J. Sorrentino: Overall an excellent cigar. They were well constructed with quality tobacco and had complex flavors. Highly recommend. At the risk of putting my foot in my mouth, I would say these were a Dominican/Honduras blend (mostly DR) with a Cameroon wrapper even with the lack of tooth or bloom. These cigars were a true pleasure to smoke. Thanks a.k.a puro4pauli
Richard Guider: Overall, I was disappointed in this cigar. It is too bad that the cigar is wrapped so tightly. While it wasn't plugged, it was extremely irritating to try and generate adequate smoke. I was also disappointed in the taste of the cigar. I have had many mild cigars that had ten times the flavor and aroma.
Robert W. Huff Jr.: This smoke in my opinion was very common. It really didn't make me want to find out what it was so I could go out and buy it. That's why I didn't rate it to well. If it tasted as well as my samples where constructed it would have rated better in my book.
Royce B. Garvin: Overall, I would rate this as a good cigar. The draw was outstanding, and the cigar was well constructed and nice to look at. But the cigar did not possess the flawless appearance (wrapper) or depth/complexity of flavor to qualify as outstanding in my estimation. I enjoyed the smoking experience, though; and I love the traditional panatela shaped.
Shawn Pauling: This was the first perfecto tipped cigar I have tried, and it was very easy to light and had a good draw and burn. But other than that, I'd just say it was consistently "not bad".
|Dr. Bruce Miles||4.5||4.5||4.5||4.0||8.0||9.0||8.5||43.0|
|Paul J. Sorrentino||4.0||5.0||5.0||4.0||9.0||9.0||9.0||45.0|
|Robert W. Huff Jr.||4.0||3.0||4.0||2.0||6.0||6.0||7.0||32.0|
|Royce B. Garvin||4.0||4.0||5.0||3.0||8.0||7.0||7.0||38.0|
| To achieve the final score below, we throw
out the high and low total scores then average the |
remaining scores. For more information see the link for Review Methods below.
Final Score: 38.6 out of 50
4 Stars - Excellent
Cameroon wrappers are featured on some of the most popular cigars today including La Aurora, Cuesta-Rey, Partagas and some Fuente cigars, including the Hemingway line. Launching a new cigar line with Cameroon wrappers is, in my opinion, a smart move. In fact, some of our reviewers thought Cigar #47 was a Hemingway. The spicy African wrapper and the classic perfecto shape helped this cigar achieve high scores for appearance and the flavor and taste scores were some of the highest we've seen all year. An occasional draw and/or burn problem held this cigar back from what might have otherwise been a 4 1/2 star review. As it is, the Aristoff 550S Cameroon tied for third place for all cigars reviewed in 1998. That's an excellent first showing for a new cigar company. And with Aristoff cigars selling for less than $10.00 a piece, we think this cigar is a must-try.