Altadis U.S.A. is putting the men behind some of their most well-known blends into the spotlight, as today the company announced a new cigar called the Montecristo Grupo de Maestros Private Batch.

Montecristo Grupo de Maestros Private Reserve open box 2 feature

The company says that the cigar is similar to the same ones that the Grupo de Maestros have been making and smoking for years. For the batch being released to the public, the cigar uses a full-bodied and spicy Ecuadorian Sumatra wrapper from the 2010 crop of the Oliva Los Rios farm, while the binder is Dominican Olor from the 2010 crop of Villa Gonzalez, known for its natural sweetness. The filler comes from Nicaragua, a blend of 2010 Jalapa Criollo ’98 viso and 2012 Jalapa Corojo ’99 ligero, giving the cigar a strong, robust and aromatic core.

Montecristo Grupo de Maestros Private Reserve single cigar horizontal

The cigars were made at Tabacalera de García in the Dominican Republic and are currently in transit to the United States. A spokesperson from Altadis U.S.A. said that the cigars are expected to be on retailers’ shelves by mid-January.

The Grupo de Maestros is headed up by Javier Elmudesi, the Manager of Tabacalera de Garcia, and includes Victor Avila, Carlos Travieso, Nestor Rodriguez, Candido Rosario and Pedro Ventura. Collectively, they have over 150 years of cigar blending and manufacturing experience. Among their creations are ROMEO by Romeo y Julieta, VegaFina Fortaleza Dos and the Montecristo Epic.

The cigars are being released in a single 6 x 54 toro vitola, with an MSRP of around $15 per stick and packed in 100-count boxes, of which only 250 are being made for a total production of 25,000 cigars. The boxes are also unique to the project, as after the cigars were aged, the cedar shelves were taken down and made into the trunk boxes in which the cigars will be shipped. Each box is numbered and comes with a certificate of authenticity, while showing the natural wear of the shelves and giving each box its own unique character.

Montecristo Grupo de Maestros Private Reserve trunk

Montecristo Grupo de Maestros Private Reserve open box

Montecristo Grupo de Maestros Private Reserve certificate

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Patrick Lagreid

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 previously the Arizona Rattlers of the Indoor Football League. I also work in a number of roles for Major League Baseball, plus I'm a voice over artist. Prior to joining halfwheel, I covered the Phoenix and national cigar scene for, and was an editor for Cigar Snob magazine.