After a week last month during which I smoked almost nothing but Cuban cigars, I think it’s been a month since I’ve smoked anything from the island south of Miami.
Given that we have relative freedom in picking our own redux reviews, I decided to change that with the Montecristo Dantés, an Edición Limitada release from 2017.
Technically this was part of the 2016 trio of Edición Limitadas, but as is often the case with Cuban cigars, it showed up a bit later than the date on the bands would indicate.
The Dantés measures 6 1/2 (165mm) x 48, technically known as the Hermosos No.1 vitola in Cuba’s library of different cigar size. Its name is derived from The Count of Monte Cristo., specifically Edmond Dantés, the protagonist of the book.
I reviewed the cigar shortly after it began shipping to stores and liked it but had some issues with construction:
I’d prefer to conclude this review with a series of expletives, but that is not how we do things. When the Montecristo Dantés is rolled properly, it is a fantastic cigar. But, of the three cigars I smoked for this review, one was anything but fantastic. I’ve said it time and time again: construction problems affect flavor. Perhaps more importantly, fantastic flavor cannot overwhelm poor construction.
- Cigar Reviewed: Montecristo Dantés Edición Limitada 2016
- Country of Origin: Cuba
- Factory: Undisclosed
- Wrapper: Cuba
- Binder: Cuba
- Filler: Cuba
- Length: 6 1/2 Inches
- Ring Gauge: 48
- Vitola: Hermosos No.1
- MSRP: $24.83 (Box of 10, $248.33)
- Release Date: Feb. 15, 2017
- Number of Cigars Released: Undisclosed
- Number of Cigars Smoked For Redux: 1
After a few hours of humidor organizing, I decided that I really wanted to smoke a Cuban cigar for this redux. What’s odd is that it’s not like I was organizing Cuban cigars for the most part. So, after quickly scanning our review list I dug into a cooler full of partially full boxes of Cuban cigars and found the Dantés, the same box I reviewed a few years ago. I was caught off guard when I opened the box because of how dark the cigar is, something that seems to be more of a thing lately of Montecristos than the ones I was smoking 10 years ago. Despite being stored in the box I’m only able to pick up some fresh leather and acidity, about medium-full. The foot is full and a lot easier to decipher: smoother wood flavors, the smell of chocolate chip cookie dough, rotten apple and acidity. Cold draws give me a lot of hope that this cigar is hitting its stride as far as the aging process concerned as it tastes like I’m drinking some sort of tobacco-infused Aperol cocktail, meaning lots of sweetness and developed flavors.
The first puff starts with some deep woodiness before shifting to peanuts, then a brown rice flavor and then back to peanuts. As I get to the one-inch mark, the profile of the Montecristo Dantés has settled to a mixture of sweet peanut butter—almost like a muted peanut butter ice cream—along with some root beer and a generic toasty flavor. Retrohales have leather and creaminess while the finish is a pretty typical mixture of woods with some sweetness. While the first part of the cigar was interesting, it’s clear that the Dantés isn’t at the point I’d hoped, something that gets amplified in the second third. The profile is more acidic, though retrohales have some sugar notes, along with something that reminds me of paper and some poppy seed muffins. The finish is a mixture of walnuts and peanuts along with a more basic rice flavor, though the acidity is also present. Fortunately, the acidity calms down in the final third. The Montecristo has lots of nuttiness and some Lay’s potato chip flavor upfront. Retrohales have more of the nuttiness along with some mineral touches and a weird pork flavor. Flavor starts full but ends up finishing medium-full with a medium-full body and medium-plus strength.
Where the Dantés struggles—and where aging isn’t going to fix anything—is the draw. It’s a bit tight at the first puff and gets slightly tighter as the first third progresses. Smoke production is about average, but I want the draw to be about 10 percent more open, something that I imagine a draw poker probably would achieve. Towards the end of the second third it seemed like the draw was about to get better, but it doesn’t improve. For what it’s worth, I never bothered to think about touching up the cigar as the burn line was about as good as any cigar and my ashtray finished with just four even chunks of ash, barely anything else falling from the cigar.
I really don’t remember what my initial thoughts were of the Montecristo Dantés; as I write this—which won’t make sense if you read this review from top to bottom—I still haven’t gone back to see what my initial thoughts were. While there’s a part of me that wonders if this would have tasted a lot richer and more developed if the draw was better, it’s just a small part. Even based on a single, not perfectly constructed sample, I’m led to believe this cigar needs more time before it’s going to have an opportunity to truly shine. Right now, it’s probably better than blindly smoking a fresh Montecristo No. 2 but I certainly wouldn’t recommend smoking this more expensive and limited Montecristo.