Montecristo Ciudad de Musica Sublime

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If you’ve been following the retail segment of the cigar industry, you’re undoubtedly aware of the rapid growth of the Casa de Montecristo name. Imperial Brands, plc, the parent of Tabacalera USA, Altadis U.S.A, and JR Cigars, just announced the 28th location for the store, Casa de Montecristo by Mancave in Hallandale, Fla.. Of those 28 locations, 19 are owned by Imperial/Tabacalera USA.

Get to that size and be owned by arguably the largest cigar company in the world, and it would make sense to have an exclusive cigar, so Altadis U.S.A. enlisted the help of Crowned Heads to create the Montecristo Ciudad de Musica, a cigar whose name means “city of music” and is a reference to Nashville, Tenn. and its storied history in music.

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However, be sure to note that the initials of the cigar, CdM, just happen to be the same as that of Casa de Montecristo.

The cigar uses an Ecuadorian habano wrapper, Nicaraguan binder and Dominican and Nicaraguan fillers, with production handled by a frequent collaborator of Crowned Heads’, Ernesto Perez-Carrillo, Jr., at his Tabacalera La Alianza S.A. factory in Santiago, Dominican Republic.

The final blend was selected by Altadis U.S.A. from a group of candidates created by Carrillo and Crowned Heads.

It debuted in four sizes priced between  $11.95-16 per cigar, with the Piramide size an exclusive to Casa de Montecristo lounges:

  • Montecristo Ciudad de Música Corona Gorda (5 5/8 x 46) — $11.95 (Boxes of 20, $239)
  • Montecristo Ciudad de Música Robusto (5 x 50) — $14.75 (Boxes of 20, $295)
  • Montecristo Ciudad de Música Sublime (6 x 54) — $13.25 (Boxes of 20, $265)
  • Montecristo Ciudad de Música Piramide (6 1/8 x 52) — $16 (Boxes of 20, $320)

The cigar is a limited production, with 100,000 cigars being produced for each size.

In February, it was announced that the Ciudad de Musica would get a bit wider distribution by way of being offered to the roughly 80 members of the Tobacconists’ Association of America (TAA). Despite the increased availability, the Piramide remained exclusive to the Casa de Montecristo lounges.

  • Cigar Reviewed: Montecristo Ciudad de Musica Sublime
  • Country of Origin: Dominican Republic
  • Factory: Tabacalera La Alianza S.A.
  • Wrapper: Ecuadorian Habano
  • Binder: Nicaragua
  • Filler: Dominican Republic & NIcaragua
  • Length: 6 Inches
  • Ring Gauge: 54
  • Vitola: Toro
  • MSRP: $13.25 (Boxes of 20, $265)
  • Release Date: November 2017
  • Number of Cigars Released: 5,000 Boxes of 20 Cigars (100,000 Total Cigars)
  • Number of Cigars Smoked For Review: 3

In case you missed it in the photo, there’s a band on the Montecristo Ciudad de Musica Sublime, a fairly sizable one at that. The black and copper design is intriguing, notably for the three circular designs that all borrow from the original Montecristo logo to display the Crowned Heads logo as well as a singing bird to represent the Ciudad de Musica theme. While I leave the first sample’s band on simply for a photograph, this large piece of embossed paper would be removed promptly after taking the cigar out of its cellophane sleeve. What I can see of the wrapper reveals a fairly typical Ecuadorian habano wrapper by way of its coloration. There are a few small veins that emerge from underneath the band, while the leaf itself has a smooth, almost velvety texture with just a bit of oil on the fingers. The cigar itself is rolled firmly, with just a bit of give but a solid core. The foot of the cigar offers a mix of sweet cedar, peanuts and peanut butter, with little in the way of pepper. The cold draw is firm but not obstructed, with flavors leaning towards flavors of pencil wood and wheat grain, and some orange citrus sweetness appearing at times.

The Montecristo Ciudad de Musica Sublime opens on a somewhat dry, chalky note that quickly adds in a mix of black and white pepper, though the latter is the more prevalent of the two, particularly in the first retrohale. For the physical sensation of the cigar, the smoke comes across a bit thin in texture, though it’s still enjoyable. As I savor and dissect the first inch of the second sample, a sour note comes along and bites the front half of my tongue, almost as if a dropper of some strange liquid was dispensed on my taste buds. With the departure of the first clump of ash coming just ahead of the bottom of the band, I use that as an opportunity to slide the large piece of paper off. My next puffs have a lingering finish that brings the words waxy and chalk to mind, a somewhat foreign combination both in concept and execution, while the front of the tongue gets a focused, chalky sourness. The burn and draw have been quite good however.

While the occasional chalky sourness in the first Montecristo Ciudad de Musica Sublime was tolerable, it’s almost unbearable in the second and third samples, so much so that I’d put the cigar down at this point if it wasn’t being reviewed. It makes it hard to get anything else out of the cigar, be it flavor or any sort of pleasure. It holds for most of the section, though as the burn line gets more entrenched in the second third, there’s notes of bright cedar that begin to emerge, offering both a bit of sweetness and some gentle bite. By the end of the second third, the cigar has doubled down on the waxy chalk note, which now elicits a curling of the front half of my tongue as the finish lingers and gets a bit of a closing accent from white pepper. For its flavor faults, the cigar burns quite well with an even burn line, plenty of smoke and an ideal draw.

The final third of the Montecristo Ciudad de Musica Sublime does a commendable job of shedding the transgressions of the first two thirds, though still falls short of being a palate pleaser. Dry woods come out as the lead note while black pepper serves as an accent and a bit of sourness serves as the finishing note. While there was a respite from the cigar’s rough flavor and finish, it reappears in the final two inches of the second sample and I’m quickly made aware that this particular sample can’t be salvaged. It still burns well, though that’s small consolation given its flavor profile.

Final Notes

  • In addition to Casa de Montecristo lounges and stores, the Montecristo Ciudad de Musica was also made available to the Altadis U.S.A. Advisory group, which consists of about nine stores and distributors.
  • While I haven’t been there yet, Nashville is a city I’d love to visit for a week.
  • The city is home to the Nashville Sounds, the Triple-A affiliate of the Oakland Athletics, and they are known for having a guitar-shaped scoreboard at First Tennessee Park.
  • I usually make a note of the nicotine strength of a cigar, but the flavor is the main culprit here, so much so that I didn’t even make note of the cigar’s strength.
  • The cigars for this review were purchased by halfwheel.
  • Final smoking time was one hour and 45 minutes on average.
70 Overall Score

This cigar's romantic name had me doubting I could love it anymore than I did before lighting it. But like a band out of tune or a sound system riddled with blown speakers and a bad engineer, the Montecristo Ciudad de Musica quickly falls apart once lit. The biting sourness is brutal on the tongue, and had it not been for the sake of this review, the final two samples would have been in the ashtray before the midway point. This cigar is so odd and off-putting that I’m almost certainly going to try another one just to see if I got unlucky, or if it is actually as bad as the three samples I smoked suggest.

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Patrick Lagreid
About the author

I strive to capture the essence of a cigar and the people behind them in my work – every cigar you light up is the culmination of the work of countless people and often represents generations of struggle and stories. For me, it’s about so much more than the cigar – it’s about the story behind it, the experience of enjoying the work of artisans and the way that a good cigar can bring people together. In addition to my work with halfwheel, I’m the public address announcer for the Colorado Rockies and Arizona Diamondbacks during spring training, as well as for the Salt River Rafters of the Arizona Fall League, the WNBA's Phoenix Mercury and the Arizona Rattlers of the Indoor Football League. I also work in a number of roles for MLB.com, plus I'm a voice over artist. I previously covered the Phoenix and national cigar scene for Examiner.com, and was an editor for Cigar Snob magazine.

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