Size: 6.125 x 52 “Torpedo”
Price: £21.70 ($33.45 using today’s conversion rate)
Today we take a look at one of the most highly lauded cigar blends in the world. The Montecristo No. 2.
Thanks to Johnny Piette of Prime Cigar Co. in Brookfield, WI. He sent me a few more goodies that I will review in the short future.
Cigar Aficionado rated this cigar No.1: “The 25 Best Cigars of the Year 2013.”
From CA’s web site:
“The undisputed king of torpedoes is the Montecristo No. 2. The stately smoke with the pointy tip is known the world over and ranks as one of the best-selling cigars in the Cuban cigar portfolio. And unlike some things that sell well, Monte 2s combine commercial success with critical acclaim. We have rated Montecristo No. 2s dozens of times in Cigar Aficionado blind tastings. The first time was more than 20 years ago, when we gave it a score of 94 points. This score of 96 is the highest rating we have ever bestowed on the cigar in a blind taste test.
“Recent production Monte 2s (those we smoked were from April 2013) are extraordinary, teeming with rich but not overwhelming flavors of leather, such sweet spices as cinnamon and nutmeg and the cigar’s trademark tangy wood note. They have enough flavor and power to satisfy those who smoke cigars on a regular basis without overwhelming those who puff less frequently.
“The Montecristo No. 2 is anything but new. The cigar is one of the original sizes of the Montecristo brand, which was created in Cuba by Alonso Menendez in 1935 and became the best-known of all the cigars rolled at Menendez, Garcia y Cia., the biggest cigar company in pre-Castro Cuba.”
A very rustic looking stick. Lots of imperfections. Lumpy, bumpy, wrinkles, etc. But tight seams, and an oily, toffee colored wrapper. It is very toothy but so small I doubt my photos will pick them up.
The cigar is consistent in how packed it is. The perfect give where you want it to do so.
And look at the gorgeous triple cap. This is art.
AROMAS AND COLD DRAW NOTES:
From the shaft, I smell light notes of cream, cocoa, spice, black licorice, coffee, and cinnamon.
From the clipped cap and the foot, I smell the same with the addition of some hay.
The cold draw presents flavors of hay, sweetness, spice, black licorice, coffee, cinnamon, and charred oak
The draw is great.
Oh, lawdy, lawdy, mama…the flavors are smooth and sexy. A nice plush tuck n roll bit of spiciness, heavy cream, cedar, strong coffee (espresso with a dusting of cinnamon), some sort of sweet fruit, and black licorice.
Strength is mild.
A perfect start. Smooth and delectable. I can feel my testicles pop.
“Squeeze me baby, till the juice runs down my leg.
“The way you squeeze my lemon, I’m gonna fall right out of bed.
“I’m gonna leave my children down on this killing floor.”
And then the worst that can happen, happens: a huge canoe occurs. It happened in mere seconds. I torch the shit out of some of the wrapper and then let the cigar rest to allow the char line to cool down and allow the rest of the wrapper to catch up. Goddam the Pusherman!
I think all this brouhaha about eventually being able to buy cigars direct from Cuba is overblown. Yeah, there are a few great cigars coming out the communist country. But weather and soil conditions have been rough on the cigar industry in the last few years. Plus the journeymen expatriates flowing out of Cuba to Central America has drained their best blenders.
A few minutes pass and the char line has rectified itself. Safe to smoke. Fingers crossed.
And then flavors come pouring in: Creaminess, licorice, charred steak, oak, cinnamon, coffee, cocoa, sweet cedar, sweet red bell pepper, dried fruit, and rich earth notes.
I’m a little in shock over the wavy char line. The cap displayed the work of a #9 roller. The rest of the rolling displays the work of a #3 roller. There shouldn’t be burn issues on such a highly lauded cigar.
Strength hits barely above mild+.
Johnny didn’t tell me how old this cigar is or how long he’s had it. Based on how mild it is, I’d say a long time.
There is something about the Cuban soil that gives a “good” Habana a taste all its own. I don’t think it’s worth $30+. That’s nuts.
But it beats the shit out of the Padrón Dámaso I reviewed yesterday which was a $17.50 stick.
The Montecristo No. 2 is a cigar to be savored.
Smoke time is 30 minutes.
I apologize for my photos this morning. I have a terrible case of the tremors that even my arm sling cannot overcome. My bad.
The Montecristo No. 2 is singing to me now. “La Vida Es Un Carnaval.”
This is a poorly rolled cigar and it is ruining this beautiful experience for me.
I’m spending more time fucking with the burn issue than I am smoking the cigar. Pisses me off. (Not your fault Johnny).
On the rare occasion I get to smoke the cigar instead of fixing it, it is pure heaven.
The creaminess is delightful. I harken back to my most decadent dessert ever: Scones with clotted cream. Something I first ate at the home of Curved Air’s leader’s mom’s house in Devon, England.
Darryl and I drove from London, together in his little ’68 MG, to the far West Country to meet commitments to perform. The most beautiful countryside in England. Story book land.
Back to the Montecristo No. 2.
Strength moves up to mild/medium body.
The transition from first third to halfway point will be short due to torching the damn char line.
Wonderful complexity, balance, and a luscious, splendiferous, long, chewy finish. The Lion Sleeps Tonight!
Smoke time is 37 minutes.
The flavors: Creaminess, sweetness, cedar, coffee, cocoa, spice, raisins, oak, charred meat, licorice, sweet red bell pepper, and cinnamon.
Huzzah! The malts show up: Biscuit Malt, Coffee Malt, and Flaked Oats Malt. (See Malt Chart).
The Montecristo No. 2 is a near complete package. This blend may have gotten a 96 from me as well if not for the construction issues. The rating will suffer dramatically.
At last, with 2-3/4” to go, the burn issues seem to be subsiding.
Any time I smoke or review a Cuban, I am a bit leery of its origins. Is it fake? Is it real? But Johnny is a pro. He works in the cigar industry so I trust him implicitly. I just got a clunker rolled by a drunken torcedor.
I read some reviews that claimed this blend got all the way up to medium/full strength. Ain’t no way this cigar will do that. In fact, if it hits solid medium, I will be surprised.
And the char line goes whacky again. Oh God….I followed thy covenants. I read from the Torah during my Bar Mitzvah. I was a good Jewish lad. Why? Why oh why?
The duration of this smoke will be disastrously short.
I may take a break and review another cigar since I started this review at 5am. Back pain made me get out of bed.
Smoke time is 45 minutes.
Getting the cigar band off is a real bitch.
The Montecristo No. 2 is sailing. I haven’t been required to do a major touch up of the burn for a bit so the tobacco shines.
And it hits a solid medium body.
I’m very conflicted about rating this cigar. While the flavors have been utterly outstanding, the construction was a disaster. What does one do in this situation? You don’t make No.1 Cigar of the Year with Cigar Aficionado for no reason. So I will give it the benefit of the doubt and discount the terrible burn issues. Every great blend gets a clunker cigar now and then. The roller needed a pee break and had his dog, Pancho, roll the cigar for him.
Transitions are nice. Complexity is on the money. Balance and finish are well done.
But if you have to pay $35 for this stick, I’d give it a pass. In my eyes, there is no cigar on the planet worth $35. I don’t care if it was grown and rolled on Uranus.
Or even Pluto. Woof.
I really looked forward to this review. Johnny is the kindest man. I hate having to trash a cigar that was a gift. It just doesn’t sit well with me.
“Whether I’m right or whether I’m wrong
Whether I find a place in this world or never belong
I gotta be me, I’ve gotta be me
What else can I be but what I am”
Final smoke time is 55 minutes.
Categories: CIGAR REVIEWS
Perhaps $35 a stick at a B&M in London. $275 per box online.
Thanks for the review Katman, I always look forward to and enjoy them! You’re by far the best reviewer and I am always thoroughly entertained.
Thank you Tom!