Altadis U.S.A. has announced the latest addition to the Montecristo brand, a new regular production line called the Montecristo Pilotico Pepe Mendez.

Montecristo Pilotico Pepe Mendez

The new cigar is based around Pilotico, a type of Cuban-seed Dominican tobacco that was first featured in the Montecristo 80th Anniversary released at last year’s trade show. Alongside that varietal in the filler is Nicaraguan tobacco, which is covered in a Dominican binder and Ecuadorian Sumatra wrapper. Altadis U.S.A. calls the flavor profile nutty, leathery, and sweet-tasting, while the aroma is robust.

It will be offered in three sizes: Robusto (5 x 50, $15.60), No. 2 (6 x 50, $16.60) and Toro (6 1/4 x 52. $17.60), all packed in 20-count boxes.

The cigars are being made at Tabacalera de Garcia, Altadis U.S.A.’s factory in La Romana, Dominican Republic. While the full roll out of the new line will happen in September, a limited number of stores will get the cigars in late July according to an Altadis U.S.A. spokesperson. This will ensure that new line meets the FDA’s Aug. 8 deadline to have new products on shelves without getting the agency’s regulatory approval first.

To grow this new generation of Pilotico, which is known for being very prone to disease, Jose Mendez & Co., the noted tobacco growers, planted seeds brought over from Cuba by the farmer Jose “Pepe” Mendez in the Navarette region of the Dominican Republic, an area the Mendez family has been growing in since the early 1960s. To honor Mendez, the cigar bears his name as well as that of the tobacco he helped grow.

The Pilotico project was undertaken in the Cibao Valley as a joint venture with Altadis U.S.A., as the cigar grower has had a long relationship with the cigar maker. Altadis U.S.A.’s Grupo de Maestros were personally involved with the production of both the tobacco and cigars.

The Montecristo Pilotico Pepe Mendez will be on display during the 2016 IPCPR Convention & Trade Show, which happens July 25-28 in Las Vegas, Nev.

Shortly after this story was published, a representative from Altadis U.S.A. sent over a press release and an image of the cigar, which have been added. Additionally, shipping date information was updated on July 13 after receiving clarification from Altadis U.S.A. The company had originally announced a September shipping date with no mention of the cigars arriving earlier than that.

Davidoff is the official sponsor of halfwheel's coverage of the 2016 IPCPR Convention & Trade Show.
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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.