Two years ago, the Montecristo brand celebrated its 80th anniversary. As expected, an anniversary cigar was made. Two actually. One was from Cuba, which in particular Habanos S.A. fashion arrived a year late; the other–this cigar–is from Altadis U.S.A.
This, as you might suspect, is due to the United States’ embargo against Cuba; there are two Montecristo brands even though Imperial Brands, plc owns all of Altadis U.S.A. and 50 percent of Habanos S.A.
The non-Cuban version was offered in a single 6 x 54 box-pressed belicoso size using an Ecuadorian Sumatra wrapper, Dominican binder and fillers from the Dominican Republic and Nicaragua. It was offered in both boxes and humidors.
I reviewed the cigar right around its release—here’s what I had to say:
Don’t let the color of the wrapper fool you, this is a very mild cigar. I still wait for the day that Altadis U.S.A. really presents us with a much different cigar than its core profile flavor/strength-wise, but for now, I think they’ve done quite well—all things considered. This is a cigar that any smoker of Montecristo White could smoke, and one with a bit more nuance and a bit more character, Construction was superb, amongst the best of any cigar I’ve ever smoked. At $22, many—particularly those that smoke cigars other than mild or mild-medium cigars—are likely to want more. What Altadis U.S.A. produced makes a ton of sense given how it positions the Montecristo brand, both from a premium standpoint and from the brand’s milder profile. It’s my favorite Montecristo from Altadis U.S.A. to date, but I can’t see myself buying any in the future.
- Cigar Reviewed: Montecristo 80th Anniversary
- Country of Origin: Tabacalera de García
- Factory: Dominican Republic
- Wrapper: Ecuadorian Sumatra
- Binder: Dominican Olor (2010)
- Filler: Dominican Pilotico, Nicaraguan Corojo ’99 & Criollo ‘98
- Length: 6 Inches
- Ring Gauge: 54
- Vitola: Belicoso
- MSRP: $22 (Boxes of 12, $264)
- Release Date: Sept. 2, 2015
- Number of Cigars Released: 3,000 Boxes of 12 Cigars & 50 Humidors of 80 Cigars (40,000 Total Cigars)
- Number of Cigars Smoked For Redux: 1
This particular cigar was stored in a small plastic bag, though that doesn’t appear to have protected it from all of the elements. There’s a small speck of wrapper missing in the front panel, but the more noticeable impact comes when I smell the cigar. While there’s a mild aroma of leather, chestnut and vanilla off the wrapper the foot is saturated of Spanish cedar. I manage to get some chestnuts, vanilla and a bit of chocolate ice cream, but it’s dominated by a very distinct Spanish cedar. The cold draw is familiar with some orange liqueur, medium-plus.
Those two flavors are present on the initial flavors along with some oak and burnt bark. Despite the overt woodiness, it’s quite sweet and very smooth. The orange liqueur disappears, replaced by some apple cider, but the woody flavors stay around. They are joined by some earthy flavors. By the midway point of the Montecristo 80th Anniversary a creaminess has emerged as the second flavor to the woody core, joined by the aforementioned apple and barbecue and toastiness. The biggest change flavor-wise in the final third is the drying out of my mouth. I think that’s due in large part to the attrition of the woodiness, but now joined in tandem by a dry peanut shell. The black pepper shifts to the white pepper and the barbecue flavors get much toastier, providing a bit of a fire-cured tobacco sensation on the back left parts of the tongue.
The draw starts a bit tight, not prohibiting smoke from coming out of the cigar, but a bit tight nonetheless. At the midway point of the Montecristo, I find the need to touch-up one part of the cigar. That ritual continues every 20 minutes or so until the final inch of the cigar. Flavor is full throughout, body starts full but recedes a bit to medium-plus while strength remains medium throughout.
Disclosure: I’m honestly not sure where this cigar came from, so there’s a chance it was provided by Altadis U.S.A.
I think this is a prime example of just how strict our scoresheet is. After smoking the cigar and looking at my notes from the original review, there are small differences, but only one major one: burn issues. A few touch-ups in the latter two thirds of the cigar are responsible for the differences between the scores. I think this is still a good cigar, even if our stricter standards might not show it.