Montecristo Reserva Negra | Cigar Review

Wrapper: Mexican San Andres Morron
Binder: Nicaraguan
Filler: Honduran, Nicaraguan
Size: 6.12 x 52 “Belicoso”
Body: Full
Price: $9.00-$11.50 (Approx. $6-$7 with the Monte Hope Pack on Famous)




This ain’t a cheap cigar unless you are happy to find it in a four cigar sampler called: “Montecristo Operation Hope 4 Pack with Slimline Cutter Cigar Sampler.”

I won a “Hope” pack on for $24. Famous sells the sampler box for $40 and a very reasonable deal at that.

This stick is made at Tabacalera de Garcia in the Dominican Republic. The cigar was released in 2008 and was the first Montecristo to have a maduro wrapper. The Robb Report put it on their “Best of the Best” list in 2009.

This is a popular cigar as I found out by going from one online store to the next only to find them out of stock. Plus, this cigar will require that you pay top dollar for them, when they are in stock, so this single in the sampler pack needs to be looked at as a treat.

Famous Smoke offers a robusto 5 pack (5 x 54) for $23. Or a 10 pack for $45. Nice deal.

This stick is a big honker. The 52 ring gauge looks bigger so I measured it and it comes out as a 54 ring gauge, not 52. I still have my construction calculator that allowed me to do geometry and trig on the run in the field when a whole crew of men were stumped about some ridiculous problem.

The calculator allows me to work in 64ths. So these days, I use it for checking cigar ring gauges.

Construction is pug ugly. The ultra dark wrapper has very little sheen to it. It feels very toothy. And it looks slapped together with huge veins and wrinkles. The entire wrapper looks like it was made by Dr. Frankenstein.

The cigar band is unusual. It is the standard design but in black and gold.

The PR machine says that the binder is a square pressed plug…almost Entubar style. I can’t see it when I scrutinize the foot.
I clip the cap and find aromas of spice, cocoa, leather, cedar, peach and apricot jam (Depending on where you sniff.), earthiness, and dried fruit.
Time to light up.

The draw is a bit tight. I massage the cigar hoping that I won’t need to use my cigar awl to thread the needle; so to speak. Drat, I need the awl. But I don’t have to insert it very far, maybe 2” and all is well.

I’d like to shill for a product in which I have no idea who makes it. You’ve seen one in probably every cigar shop you’ve visited. It is a stainless steel cutter with four holes. All different sizes. Two are V cutters and two are guillotine cutters. So when I say I clip the cap, 90% of the time, I am using this very precise machine and, most often, V cutting. Even the torpedo caps. It’s a great tool. I got mine on CM 2-3 years ago for $40. Haven’t seen it lately. Famous no longer carries it but I found the guy that distributes it on his online cigar store for $60., the thieves, want $127.00. Ptooey!

The flavor profile starts off slowly. Very dry in the beginning. It takes ¾” before something interesting shows up. A low lying black pepper does a fly by. A rich earthiness is the most interesting flavor. A cinnamon element appears giving it some zing.

There is a plug right behind the cigar band and since this is the only cigar I’ve got, I’m not risking cracking the wrapper with my awl.

And inch in, flavors show up in force. Creaminess, sweetness, woodiness, leather and cocoa. Now we’re talking. I was afraid of either smoking a dud or an old school cigar needing a year of humidor time.

The char line has been a champ.

Some caramel enters and really moves things along nicely. And then black cherry. Nice.

The cigar went from 0-60 in 10 minutes. Not a fast mover but it got there.

The cigar is terribly out of round making photographs damn near impossible without a steel shim.

As the first third ends, the black cherry and creaminess and sweetness are powerful. While cherry leads the flavor profile, it is really the flavor of natural tobacco that makes the biggest impression. It is meaty and rich.

The second third finds a list of flavors: Earthiness, black cherry, creaminess, sweetness, cocoa, spiciness, wood, and leather.

This blend is made for sophisticated palates. It is not one of those Nicaraguan exuberant cigars with a circus full of bold flavors.

Rather, it is full of subtlety and nuance. This is not a cigar you smoke sitting around with friends. It is a cigar you smoke alone giving you the opportunity to focus and concentrate on what your palate is receiving. It is a great trainer for newbies. Especially since the body, at this point, is classic medium.

The halfway point is rich with wonderful flavors. Flavors that are understated and delicate. This is not what I expected. But now I see why it got so many awards. Smokers with astute palates will love this cigar.

Not much change, except for intensity and complexity, changes as I move through the halfway point. Flavors are keen and shrewd. The delicacy of this cigar should make it the first cigar of your day before you fry your palate from your 5th cigar.
Except for that plug, which seems to have disappeared, the construction is another star of the cigar’s character. The char line has been close to being dead nuts the whole time. The ash won’t let go but I am afraid of it falling on to my keyboard so after 1-1/2”, I knock it off.

The last third begins. This is one of the few cigars that I believe is worth the $9 price point. The fact that you are getting a single for around $6 is terrific. The cigar is unique. Nothing stereotypical about it.

The complexity actually rolls all the flavors into one and ping your palate now and then to remind you they are there. Sweetness is delightful. Creaminess and cherries are a treat; while in other cigars might just be expected. I can taste the whole cherry-eating experience. The burst of flavor as you bite into it. The juices flowing around your mouth. The difference between the skin and the pulp. That’s complexity.

The strength is medium/full into the last third. Only a bare hint of nicotine.
10 is still auctioning this pack off. There are two types of samplers. One is the four cigar type with a crappy V cutter. The other is a three cigar sampler with a cutter and a lighter. I would stick with the four cigar sampler. Who needs another crappy free lighter? As I write this, there is one of each available on One is called Montecristo Operation Hope ’09 (3 cigars), and the one I won: Montecristo Operation Hope 4 Pack with Slimline Cutter (4 cigars). You can get them for retail of $40 on Famous: Montecristo Operation Hope 4 Pack with Slimline Cutter…. Montecristo Operation Hope ’09.
I hope I didn’t confuse you with all the links.

The cigar finishes with a flourish. Flavors become bolder. The strength increases. It is like the piñata at a birthday party.
I highly recommend this cigar and this deal. Go get ‘em.


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1 reply

  1. I’ll start it off. Sometimes I am in the mood for one of the large ring gauge cigars they prduoce a lot of smoke and flavor. Most of the time they are not for me.I do like the full bodied smokes, IF they are properly balanced. I make sure that the fullest bodied cigar that I smoke is the last one of the day.