In October 2020, Altadis U.S.A. announced it would be releasing a new cigar to commemorate the 85th anniversary of the Montecristo brand, which was founded in 1935 by Alonso Menéndez. The appropriately named Montecristo 1935 Anniversary Nicaragua debuted the next month with four regular production soft box-pressed vitolas made by Abdel Fernández, who has previously made a number of cigars for the company, including the H. Upmann Nicaragua AJ Fernandez Heritage and Romeo y Julieta San Andrés.

As the name suggests, the Montecristo 1935 Anniversary Nicaragua is a Nicaraguan puro made with tobacco grown on Fernandez’s farms, although the exact tobacco details remain undisclosed. In addition, the line is being rolled at Fernandez’s San Lotano factory located in Ocotál, Nicaragua.

“To honor the age-old tradition of soft-pressing cigars, the Montecristo 1935 Anniversary Nicaragua will be introduced as a soft-pressed series of four sizes,” said Rafael Nodal, head of product capability for Tabacalera USA—parent of Altadis U.S.A.—in a press release at the time. “The cigar offers a luxury showcase from seed to smoke that combines classic craftsmanship and extra-aged estate tobaccos from Nicaragua’s best growing regions.”

Three of the four box-pressed vitolas in the line are packaged in 10-count boxes, while the 5 1/2 x 46 Demi is being sold in 20-count boxes.

Here is what I said in my original review back in February 2021:

After almost getting my head blown off by the overwhelming combination of black pepper and spice in the first 10 puffs, the Montecristo 1935 Anniversary Nicaragua No. 2 calms down nicely in the final two thirds which in turn allows some very enjoyable flavors to emerge, including freshly brewed black coffee, oak and cinnamon as well as a nicely integrated caramel sweetness. While the profile is almost too bold at certain points—which has the effect of reducing the balance in the blend enough to hurt its overall score—the overall construction was amazing for all three samples I smoked, with only one touchup needed in almost five total hours of smoking time. Due to the high price this will not a cigar from everyone, but if you are looking for a full strength, bold blend with some decent flavors that you literally don’t have to think about after the first light, you have found it.

  • Cigar Reviewed: Montecristo 1935 Anniversary Nicaragua No. 2
  • Country of Origin: Nicaragua
  • Factory: San Lotano Factory
  • Wrapper: Nicaragua
  • Binder: Nicaragua
  • Filler: Nicaragua
  • Length: 6 1/8 Inches
  • Ring Gauge: 52
  • Vitola: Belicoso
  • MSRP: $16.43 (Box of 10, $164.30)
  • Release Date: November 2020
  • Number of Cigars Released: Regular Production
  • Number of Cigars Smoked For Redux: 1

From a visual perspective, the Montecristo 1935 Anniversary Nicaragua No. 2 is very similar to what I remember from the first review: it is covered in a dark espresso brown wrapper that has plenty of tooth and some very obvious oil. In addition, there are a multitude of extremely prominent veins running up and down the length of the cigar and it has quite a bit of give when squeezed. Aroma from the wrapper is a combination of wood, earth, leather, generic nuts and manure, while the foot’s aroma includes notes of sweet oak, creamy almonds, barnyard, dark chocolate and black pepper. Finally, after a v-cut the cold draw brings flavors of the same sweet oak, gritty earth, cocoa nibs, sourdough bread and baker’s spices.

Right off the bat, there are some major differences compared to the first samples I smoked almost exactly a year ago. While there is still an enormous amount of both black pepper and spice as soon as I light the foot, both quickly calm down to manageable levels, which in turn allows the main flavors of sweet oak and espresso beans to emerge. Additional notes of cocoa nibs, leather, pencil lead, toasted bread, gritty earth and slight cinnamon make themselves known at various points, while a very distinct maple syrup sweetness combines nicely with a large amount of black pepper on the retrohale. Flavor comes in at a solid medium, body is medium-plus and the strength ends the first half just over the medium mark, but still increasing noticeably.

Although the sweet oak flavor is still going strong, there are a couple of changes to the profile during the second half of the Montecristo 1935, including a new powdery cocoa nibs flavor that replaces the espresso beans note from the first half. Secondary notes include leather tack, bread, earth, more cinnamon, popcorn and a touch of a vegetal flavor, while both the black pepper and maple syrup sweetness continue to be quite distinct on the retrohale until the end of the cigar. Flavor ends up just at medium-plus, body ends up at full and the strength easily hits a point between medium and full by the time I put the nub down with a bit less than an inch remaining. Construction-wise, the Montecristo 1935 Anniversary Nicaragua No. 2 gave me features excellent construction in all aspects. Finally, while the strength continues to be extremely obvious in the profile, it is also noticeably more balanced with the rest of the profile, steadily rising from its starting point on the upper end of mild to end firmly in-between medium and full as I put the nub down after one hour and 42 minutes of smoking time.

90 Overall Score

In my original review, I described two main issues with this cigar: first, the amount of spice and black pepper in the first third overwhelmed just about any other flavors that were present; second, that combining with the blend's full strength—which seemed to hit all at once in the final third—had a negative impact on the overall balance. Almost exactly one year later, that situation has improved dramatically. While there was still plenty of both spice and black pepper at the front of the profile, both evened out nicely by the middle of the first third, allowing some great flavors of sweet oak, espresso beans and cocoa nibs to flourish. In addition, the caramel sweetness on the retrohale from the first samples has morphed into a very distinct maple syrup note that is very prevalent throughout the smoke. All that, combined with the excellent burn, draw and smoke production as well as a reduced strength level, and the end result is not only a better overall cigar but also a cigar that seemingly still has quite a bit of gas left in its tank.

Original Score (February 2021)
87
Redux Score
90

Brooks Whittington

I have been smoking cigars for over eight years. A documentary wedding photographer by trade, I spent seven years as a photojournalist for the Dallas Morning News and the Fort Worth Star Telegram. I started the cigar blog SmokingStogie in 2008 after realizing that there was a need for a cigar blog with better photographs and more in-depth information about each release. SmokingStogie quickly became one of the more influential cigar blogs on the internet, known for reviewing preproduction, prerelease, rare, extremely hard-to-find and expensive cigars. I am a co-founder of halfwheel and now serve as an editor for halfwheel.