MONTE by Montecristo Pre-Release Review

MONTE by Montecristo Review

During the 2013 IPCPR Altadis showcased a new release to their Montecristo line, the MONTE by Montecristo. The regular line Montecristo is a very well-known brand; the MONTE is one of the extensions of the Montecristo brand that has been around for a while and was re-imagined with a richer, fuller line of aged tobaccos. I was fortunate enough to get one of the new offerings and wanted to share the review with you.

The facts:

  • Maker: Montecristo
  • Size: 6 inches
  • Ring gauge: 60
  • Vitola: Monte
  • Wrapper: Ecuador Habano
  • Binder: Dominican Olor & Nicaragua Corojo
  • Filler: Dominican
  • Origin: Dominican
  • No. smoked: 1

The Review:

Looking over the cigar, the wrapper quality was excellent. It was firmly packed but the cap was a little squishy. Basically it just didn’t feel as filled as it should have been. The wrapper was a nice Habano color, rich, brown and soft to the touch. The two bands were placed well on the cigar. The aromas that I picked up from the wrapper were wood and wax (not unlike a crayon). The foot had a delicious chocolate aroma.  The pre-light taste was definitively chocolate. The aroma from the fresh lighting was a delicious chocolate mixed with rich tobacco and slight undertones of hay and wood.

MONTE 1_3

The first third of the cigar had huge flavors of cedar and sweet wood on the palate. There was a slight pepper aroma on the retrohale as well as within the smoke.  The surprise of this first part of the cigar was the saltiness to mix in with the pepper. The combination was smoothly done and was a very nice change from the standard Montecristo. I also noted that there were some very slight flavors and aromas of ammonia. The ash was a light gray with streaks of a darker gray therein.

MONTE 2_3

The second third found more of the pepper and big cedar flavors. The pepper was just starting to scale back a touch to be replaced slightly by butterscotch. This cigar was definitely going for the medium strength area of power. It developed a creaminess that really coated the tongue well. Underlying all of this, and perhaps because of the saltiness, was a meaty quality. I would say that this MONTE had hit the sweet spot. Burn was good with no touch ups needed at all – quite impressive considering the 60 ring gauge.

MONTE 3_3The final part of the cigar started to ramp up the power toward full. It never really hit that mark but I was able to take note of it. The salty profile still had some drive in the finish. In addition to the meatiness I had the flavor ideas of salted caramels. The creaminess of the smoke had a very long, lingering finish that was quite pleasant. It took 1 hour and 30 minutes to smoke this cigar.

MONTE fin

MONTE bandsThe bands are very striking but I think the size of the word MONTE seems too large. It wraps around the band and considering the ring gauge, that’s a big word. But the flavors are BIG and I think the boldness of the band showcases this fact.

The double binder is a great decision for this cigar. The larger ring gauge really needs some strong flavor to come through and by using the olor and corojo binders, the profile really builds character. But I think the smaller ring gauges might not be able to handle this robust double binder blend (but we shall see when they come out).

MONTE by Montecristo will be released in boxes of 16.

This smoke after a nice grilled filet, especially a Steak au Poivre, would be a perfect pairing. The drink to go with this would have to be a nice, rich, spicy merlot wine.

One of the impressions that I received from this smoking experience was grilling steaks over a campfire. At one point, the woody flavor had me thinking of pine logs crackling underneath a great steak I had while on a recent hunting trip.

According to the good folks at Cigar Aficionado, this is the third reincarnation of the MONTE line of Montecristo cigars.

The strength was medium to start and medium-full at the finish. The flavors were bold and assertive.

Overall, this cigar is bold and flavorful. I have always enjoyed Montecristo – the Afrique is my favorite – and it’s good that they are putting more emphasis on an existing line. The redesign of the tobaccos to such a robust, full flavor is very welcome and I think that with this ring gauge the people-of-the-leaf will enjoy the renewed offering.

My recommendation: keep this one stocked in The Humidor.