Late last year, Habanos S.A. announced its newest series of releases: Añejados.
Spanish for aged, the Añejados are exactly that—cigars rolled, placed into undecorated boxes for a minimum of five years, then reinspected, packaged with bands while the boxes get their dressing and then released. It’s a particularly interesting concept given the general consensus is that most Cuban cigars benefit with some age because of how cigars are made in Cuba, where most regular production items see far less time in pilones, tobacco storage or aging rooms than their Dominican or Nicaraguan counterparts.
Whether intentionally or not, Habanos S.A. has made some programs that attempt to resolve this trend. The Gran Reserva and Reserva programs use tobaccos aged for a handful of years and the wrappers for Edición Limitadas are said to age for at least two years.
Añejados is another attempt, only the aging is taking place after the cigars are rolled, not in the form of raw tobacco.
The series debuted with the Romeo y Julieta Pirámides, which began shipping in January, and was followed up a few weeks later by the Montecristo Churchill Añejados, a 7 x 47 vitola not part of the standard Montecristo offerings.
- Montecristo Churchill Añejado (7 x 47)
- Romeo y Julieta Pirámides Añejado (6 1/7 x 52)
The initial boxes are dated as being rolled in 2008 for the Montecristo.
- Cigar Reviewed: Montecristo Churchill Añejado
- Country of Origin: Cuba
- Factory: n/a
- Wrapper: Cuba
- Binder: Cuba
- Filler: Cuba
- Size: 7 Inches
- Ring Gauge: 47
- Vitola: Churchill
- Est. Price: $21 (Boxes of 25, $525)1
- Date Released: January 2015
- Number of Cigars Released: Regular Production
- Number of Cigars Smoked For Review: 3
There’s a soft box-press on each of the Montecristo Añejados I’ve seen. Habanos S.A. claims the cigars are rolled and boxed and then put down for rest with the bands applied afterwards and at least the bands show signs of being new. As for the cigars themselves, they look pretty good with various amounts of veins littering the cigar on a fairly vibrant and bright wrapper. The foot provides aromas that are very sweet thanks to a big caramel with a bit of cedar in the background. Sweet caramel is also present on the cold draw, which also has cedar and twang.
The Montecristo Añejado starts with sweet cedar, some earth, a bubblegum-like sweetness and leather with a grainy and bready finish. It’s a lot of flavors, many developed, potentially even too much. For better or worse, the Añejado doesn’t let up: lots of mushroom, a semisweet caramel, bread, earth and saw dust with a big coriander through the nose and a touch of harshness in the back. It’s full in flavor, medium-full in body and medium in strength. Through the first third of each cigar, construction is great with an even burn and solid ash.
By the second third, the burn is off and smoke production isn’t moving at a consistent pace, which is annoying, but I avoid having any samples go out. Flavor-wise, the sweetness fades and some flavors change, but the overall profile seems similar. Mushroom and raisins are up front with ginger, a rotting cedar and some harshness. A white pepper is now through the nose and there’s much more pepper on the back end. The declining sweetness and flavor transitions do help the cigar seem more cohesive, but the harshness and pepper are a bit overwhelming. Flavor backs off a bit to medium, full while the strength increases to medium-plus.
Each of the three samples I smoked had issues staying lit in the final third. Somewhat interestingly, the cigar improved after going out. While it became a bit less detailed, the profile got much sweeter with the bubble gum notes returning followed by cedar, nuttiness and then a big saltiness. It’s not the most complex profile the Montecristo offers, but it’s one that’s logical and enjoyable.
- I find the whole Añejados concept a bit interesting, if not suspicious. The idea that in 2008, Habanos S.A. decided to start rolling a Montecristo in a Churchill vitola and letting them rest in boxes for a handful of years seems somewhat strange.
- That being said, the cigar doesn’t taste like a fresh Cuban.
- There was actually an Añejados program before this, it appeared briefly at the 21st Encuentro de Amigos de Partagás in 2011. It seemed limited to the event—and as such a single location in Havana—whereas the more formalized Añejados program is global.
- I have not had the Romeo y Julieta Añejados.
- I found the secondary bands to be off-center on each of the cigars I’ve smoked.
- While it’s not a nicotine bomb, I was a bit surprised with the strength. It got right in the medium-full range on one sample, but I’d generally describe it as medium-plus.
- Cigars for this review were purchased by halfwheel.
- Final smoking time was two hours and 20 minutes on average.
My issue with the Montecristo Añejado isn’t the price, or wondering whether these are actually aged to what Habanos S.A. claims or honestly the construction issues. It’s simply that the flavor—while certainly a laundry list of sensations—isn’t all that great. After relighting each cigar and making it to the last two inches, the flavors seemed to work together, but by then the cigar was harsh and losing some of the complexity that defined the first third. I don’t think this is a bad cigar, but I certainly don’t see myself grabbing another one anytime soon.