In September, a new Casa de Montecristo opened in Dallas, Texas, and with the new store came a new cigar, the Montecristo Dallas Series.
It’s a 6 x 50 belicoso made with an Ecuadorian habano wrapper, Nicaraguan binder and fillers from the Dominican Republic and Nicaragua. Just 10,000 cigars are being produced, split into 1,000 numbered boxes of 10 cigars and priced at $17 per cigar. However, if you were at the opening, you could have picked up a box for $79.99.
For those who are interested in the business side of the cigar industry, the opening of Casa de Montecristo Dallas is an interesting event and one that will certainly generate waves among the retail community.
While Tabacalera USA, the owner of Altadis U.S.A. and JR Cigar, has had a retail component to its operation for years, this is the first brand new, built from the ground up store the company has launched. The stores bearing the Casa de Montecristo name in Chicago and Boynton Beach, Fla. as well as the more recently opened locations in Las Vegas and Miami are all franchises owned and operated by other companies, not Tabacalera USA/Imperial Tobacco.
The company operates two stores in New York City—Cigar Inn by Casa de Montecristo—but those stores were acquired by the company and then rebranded over time.
- Cigar Reviewed: Montecristo Dallas Series
- Country of Origin: Dominican Republic
- Factory: Tabacalera de García
- Wrapper: Ecuadorian Habano
- Binder: Nicaragua
- Filler: Dominican Republic and Nicaragua
- Length: 6 Inches
- Ring Gauge: 50
- Vitola: Belicoso
- MSRP: $17 (Box of 10, $170)
- Release Date: Sept. 10, 2016
- Number of Cigars Released: 1,000 Boxes of 10 Cigars (10,000 Total Cigars)
- Number of Cigars Smoked For Review: 3
This three-banded cigar looks more trompeta than belicoso, as the taper is applied to a good amount of the cylinder of the cigar and not just the head. The earthy brown wrapper has a slick, oily feel on the fingers with only the veins offering texture. There’s a Goldilocks and the Three Bears range of give from sample to sample; one is a bit soft, one a bit hard, and one just right. None seem problematic, but the different is noticeable. The aroma off the foot is quite mild and suggests cereal grains, gingersnaps and cake donuts with nothing in terms of pepper or spice. I’m not surprised to see that the cold draw is a bit firm given the cigar’s tapered shape, but at times it can be a touch firmer than I expected and in one sample a good bit looser than anticipated. It too is quite neutral and nondescripts, with a bit of the same cereal and grain notes but also a very faint fruit salad sweetness.
The Montecristo Dallas Series starts on a fairly mild note with a bit of chalk and cream on the palate and a subtle suggestion at table pepper through the nose that will only bother the most sensitive of nostrils. An aroma of teriyaki beef begins to permeate the air and the lack of pepper makes it possible to get in several retrohales in search of a more direct experience with the aroma but it falls short of just letting the cigar rest. It’s not until the first clump of ash breaks off that an ebb and flow of black and white pepper begins to develop both in the nose and on the palate, along with an incredibly rich and complex meaty note that is along the lines of teriyaki beef but without the sweetness, as well as an aroma that reminds me a bit of eucalyptus. The cigar performs well through the first third with no burn issues and plenty of smoke.
While I wasn’t sure if I was getting eucalyptus earlier, it now seems almost certain that I am, and in particular what I remember from Dr. Bronner’s Eucalyptus liquid soap; it’s an interesting aroma that I have a love-hate relationship with, but for the most part find it to be fairly pleasant. The cigar wastes no time developing into a solid medium in terms of body and flavor, with the profile filling out and pepper becoming much more prevalent. Retrohales are certainly fuller and more pepper-laden, though there is also a very faint touch of mint starting to develop on the aroma. The combination of flavor and aroma that starts off the second third quickly establishes a new high point for the Montecristo Dallas Series, as the cigar shines its brightest when what it has to offer in flavor and aroma are experienced in equal measures, though the aroma certainly is the better of the two. One sample takes a real downturn after the second clump of ash lets go, turning sour and hard to enjoy; thankfully it is an issue that doesn’t arise in the other two samples.
There’s a gradual drop-off in the force of the pepper, though it isn’t really noticeable until the burn line crosses where the bands would be and the cigar begins to get a bit earthier and slightly charred. If anything, the pepper has become more prevalent in the lingering finish of the cigar rather than the first impressions of each puff, with the front third of the tongue left with a solid tingle that occasionally creeps out to the lips. An occasional touch-up may be needed depending on the particular sample and how quickly you can get into a rhythm with it, as it seems that the shrinking ring gauge is asking for a bit of an adjustment in terms of how frequently each draw happens, but for the most part it’s not an issue. The eucalyptus and teriyaki notes are still quite present in the aroma, with the cigar lacking sweetness and clinging to the pepper note it had established in the first third. If you’re in an environment to enjoy it, the aroma continues to really make the cigar, as it is much richer and more complex than what my palate has been able to detect thanks to a hearty steak on the grill note and even some occasional flavors that I associate with blended Scotch. The cigar finishes a bit hot with a decent amount of charred pepper, medium bodied and still putting off the fantastic aroma that it has had from the beginning.
- Altadis U.S.A has the rights to the Montecristo brand in the U.S. Its parent, Imperial Group plc, operates the Casa de Montecristo – Dallas location.
- On the first cigar, I was able to get a much more open draw—almost loose—by rotating and angling the cigar a bit. It was quite an interesting discovery, almost as if smoking two different cigars simply by way of the air flow.
- While I’m not knocking the three band look, I think you could move the foot band up to the primary position and have an equally if not slightly cleaner presentation, and one less band to have to take off and risk damaging the cigar with.
- The top two bands on each sample slid off quite easily thanks to the tapered shape and sparing use of adhesive.
- A $170 box of cigars for $79.99 at the opening of the store. That’s quite a deal.
- Final smoking time was one hour and 45 minutes on average.
- JR Cigar, another subsidiary of Imperial Group plc/Tabacalera USA advertisers on halfwheel.
- The cigars for this review were purchased by halfwheel.
- The only place to get the Montecristo Dallas Series is at Casa de Montecristo Dallas.
There should be no doubt if you read the notes that I liked the flavor and loved the aroma of this cigar, and the overall result if a positive one. While I could ask for a few additional things from the Montecristo Dallas Series in terms of depth, complexity and intensity of flavor, the one thing that I would most like would be to smoke it at the actual store. I'm a big believer in place affecting the experience, and I think smoking this at Casa de Montecristo Dallas might make this a slightly more appealing cigar.