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San Cristobal Cigars – A Brief History

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Are you a fan of cigars? If your answer to that question was yes, then you will love this piece about one of the biggest brands of cigars in the industry.

San Cristobal cigars is a name any cigar aficionado will take right out of your mouth before you are done saying it.  One can conclude that its popularity is because of its longevity and the unique timeline of its creation. It is not so old that cigar lovers who are 80+ years old would have it on their top three list, and it is also not unpopular that they wouldn’t know all about it.

In this article, you will learn about its unique history and what makes it so special. If you’ve never tried or heard of it, this tell-it-all article about its rich history might be the convincer you need to procure your first San Cristobol Cigar.

History/Origins of San Cristobal Cigars

There is no telling the story of the San Cristobal cigar brand without talking about the man that started it all.

San Cristobal, the cigar brand’s story starts at the hands of a man who has been plying his trade since he clocked 11 years of age.

His name is Jose Pepin Garcia. Don Pepin, as he is fondly called, started his journey into the cigar industry at the low age of 11 when he chose to work in a factory owned by an uncle of his.

If that age shocked you, it is important you know that this was 1961 in Cuba, so the labor laws weren’t as strict. Moreover, it was a factory owned by a relative, so he must have gotten royal treatment from his co-workers.

Don Pepin showed skill and a quick mind, so by 1963, he switched factories and was there until 2001 before moving away to Nicaragua. The total number of years he spent in Cuba learning his skill is approximately 30 years.

two san cristobal cigar edition

Thirty years making cigars is no joke, and by the time he left, Pepin had gathered enough knowledge, which would later prove useful in launching one of the best cigar brands anyone has ever smoked.

While in Cuba, Jose won many awards, notable among them is the Productivity Award for rolling 320 Julietas in about four hours. It earned him accolades in the press, where one newspaper compared his ability to that of a magician because the way he rolled cigars and the speed at which he rolled was just breathtaking.

In 2007, San Cristobal was launched. It was launched at a time when Don Jose was at the peak of his career. Don Pepin and his son demonstrated in-depth knowledge and passion for cigar making that impressed Robert Levin and Sathya Levin of the Ashton Brand.

This move profited the brand a lot because it churned out some of the finest cigars. Since its inception, the brand has continued to boast of top-quality and highly rated cigars.

Today, San Cristobal’s portfolio is impressively versatile, and that is owed to Don Pepin and his family, who gave their all at the inception of the brand. Pepin, till today ensures every cigar made by San Cristobal retains the traits that have made thousands fall in love with it.

Where are they made now?

When the brand was launched, its trademark was held by the Levins, and it was registered in the US. However, it is widely known that although the Ashton brand targets the US cigar market, it is made out of the legendary Tabacalera in the Dominican Republic.

There is no official word on whether production was moved even though Don Pepin opened a factory in Cuba.

Most Popular Cigar

San Cristobal’s most popular cigar is, ironically, the San Cristobal. It is a dark-brown Cuban-seeded cigar with its interior filled with Nicaraguan filler and binder tobacco substances.

Bottom Line

San Cristobal is a cigar brand that is still relatively young, considering how customary it is to find established brands aged 50 years or higher. If the brand were a human, it’d merely be a teenager. The brand being so young yet so good is what makes it impressive. Usually, it takes brands several years to achieve a great reputation in the industry.

It does feel like San Cristobal has been able to skip that learning curve and go straight to the top, and they have Don Jose Peppin to thank for that. San Cristobal does not have many cigars under their belts, but the ones they do own have a premium feel to them.

It does feel as if thirty years from now, the brand will become a leader in the industry, and their cigars will be coveted by many because, like fine wine, Don Jose has been aging gracefully with his cigar skills waxing even stronger. Visit for more expert information!

Cigar cutter Prestige Royal
Dan Stevenson
Dan Stevenson

I have been smoking cigars for 30 years and counting, I started at 18 years old with mild Cubans and worked my way up to medium and now bold. I own 4 humidors, that I try to keep stocked at all times.

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