Montecristo Texas Connoisseur Edition | Cigar Reviews by the Katman

Wrapper: Ecuadorian Habano
Binder: Dominican
Filler: Dominican
Size: 6 x 60
Strength: Medium/Full
Price: $13.95 MSRP

Today we take a look at the Montecristo Texas Connoisseur Edition.
Thanks to Miguel C. for the stick.
Released in 2012.
These cigars were initially only available in the states that the cigar is named after.
There are 4 different editions of this series:
Texas (6″ x 60)
Chicago (6″ x 50)
Las Vegas (6″ x 54)
New York (6″ x 60)

DESCRIPTION:
A nicely constructed stick with tree trunk sized veins and invisible seams. A gloriously shiny and oily wrapper with colored hues of hickory, espresso, cocoa, gingerbread and cinnamon. And lastly a beautiful triple cap.

AROMAS AND COLD DRAW POINTS:
From the shaft, I can smell fresh floral notes, coffee, chocolate, cedar, caramel, marshmallow, vanilla, heavy cream and white pepper.

From the clipped cap and the foot, I can smell big notes of malt, white pepper, chocolate, and *see above.

The cold draw presents flavors of nutty caramel…almost like a Snickers bar, cream, malts, chocolate, coffee, cedar, and naturally earth, wood, and leather.

FIRST THIRD:
Any excuse to charge an arm and a leg over a gimmick. Does the PR machine ever get a rest? Don’t think so. So let’s see if this Texas stick reminds me of Kobe beef and Colt .45’s.

Right off the bat, flavors wash over my palate like a warm blanket. Elements of cream, pepper, chocolate, cedar, salty pretzel, caramel, vanilla, almonds, lemon zest, and a wallop of malts all upset the apple cart of what I had expected.

I expected a non-descript combo of hay and cedar but instead have been treated to a great start with some real punch to it.

Strength is a solid medium.

In only a few minutes, complexity begins, transitions line up, and the finish is working on making me proud.

I could go back and delete my comment about this blend being a big gimmick but what’s the fun in that? You know I’m an idiot so why not go with it?

The cigar is packed solid but I don’t need my PerfecDraw cigar poker which totally surprises considering how firm the stick is. As a result, this behemoth redwood tree is going to be a 2 or 2-1/2 hour smoke. Oh boy. Now a stick with that kind of staying power is great for a herf but for a review…it’s torture. About halfway through, I want to eat breakfast but I can’t. Poor me. Guess I will have to live off my hump til the cigar is finished.

I was at my local B&M yesterday meeting a reader from Georgia who was in town to see his family. I watched in amazement as I saw the long line of 50 somethings buying and smoking massively large cigars. They’ve been brain washed by Cigar Aficionado’s claim that 7 x 70, and larger, sticks are the wave of the future. Who in their sane mind would pull a telephone pole from a walk in humidor and proceed to smoke this green blend that will take close to 3 hours to smoke? And I’m not talking about some fine boutique brand…oh no…they are smoking catalog brands like Punch and La Gloria Cubana. Yum. Where is that earth, leather, and wood?

The Montecristo Texas Connoisseur Edition is a very good cigar. But do I need to say it? For $14, it better be and I expect it to swallow afterwards.

The burn line ain’t doing so hot though.

The ash is very delicate and flaky. Doesn’t last long before it is jettisoned into the fish tank. I have a tank of piranhas who like cigars. I get them vaping versions of Gurkha and Rocky Patel. What the hell…they’re just fish…they don’t know they are getting stiffed.

Creamy. A touch of root beer. Complex. Transitions galore (Pussy’s sister), strong citrus, waning pepper, disappearing chocolate, heavy on the malts, still got that salty pretzel thing going, and very cedary.

I’m going to be here all day at this rate. It’s taken me 30 minutes to smoke an inch. Oy.

So a rabbi, minister, and a priest walk into a bar…wait, you’ve heard this.

My friend from Georgia, Matthew McDaniel, and I discussed cigars yesterday til it was coming out of our ears. We both shook our heads in disdain as we lamented the bullshit PR that manufacturers use to jack up the price of their blends. While this Montecristo Texas Connoisseur Edition is a good cigar, the $14 price tag is stupid fucking nuts. This is a good $8 cigar; nothing more. But name anything Montecristo and you can expect a 30% hike in price point.

We smoked RoMa Craft sticks yesterday and here were fine examples of brilliant blending and they were basically $7-$8 sticks. Skip Martin is smarter than Montecristo.

The blend is still hovering at medium strength.

SECOND THIRD:
Smoke time is 45 minutes.

The blend really kicks in at this point. It kind of pisses me off that it seems to be a constant thread through the world of expensive cigars that the first third is only a prelude to a better blend as one meanders into that second chapter.

Flavor elements are ramped up considerably. Transitions are flowing like lava. Yet the finish is nothing to brag about. No lip smacking required. Nothing there.

I must give Montecristo props for excellent construction…the burn line notwithstanding. The cigar smokes consistently and gives off large plumes of smoke that surrounds me until I look like Pigpen from Peanuts.

The Montecristo Texas Connoisseur Edition is a good $8-$10 cigar. They are available online everywhere and everyone is charging the limited edition MSRP price point of $14. Ptooey on them. No way is this blend worth it.

I’m disappointed that the spiciness is all but gone at this point. It drains the swamp of all the zestiness I crave in my cigars…creating a somewhat flaccid attack.

It was a dumb move making the Texas version a Gordo. Thankfully they didn’t go overboard and head down the road of 7 x 70. That would be a nightmare and require a second mortgage on your house. I’m just not a Gordo fan. Big cigars just don’t have the intensity smaller ones have.

The Montecristo Texas Connoisseur Edition hits a sudden traffic stop as it goes a little bland on me. The earlier listed kitchen sink flavor profile is a mere shadow of itself now. All that’s left is creaminess, cinnamon, malts, nuts, and cedar. Spiciness returns in the form of black pepper…my least favorite of the ha-cha-cha types of pepper. It sits in the back of my throat like a flounder giving me the false sense I need to cough.

Halfway home after one hour and 15 minutes. Oy 2.0.

You know that if this were a great blend, there would be hardly any complaints emanating from my fingers. There is a noticeable gap of reviews for this 2012 release. I think I found 2 or 3. Didn’t impress the reviewers. Especially the ones sponsored by Montecristo. So what do you do when your sponsor makes a dud? You don’t review it or you lie. Your choice. Such bullshit.

The char line is a constant pain in the arse. “Once more unto the breach, dear friends, once more; Or close the wall up with our English dead.” (Just another flashback…no worries).

I take back all my glory talk about the construction. It’s a mess.

At least I know why the big reviewers didn’t come within a ten foot pole of a critique of this blend. Don’t bite the hand that feeds you.

No change in strength. Still at a muddy medium.

Transitions have come to a halt. I don’t get it. It is the last part of the cigar that should shine; but instead, the Montecristo Texas is lying there like my first wife on our honeymoon. A flounder.

I’m going to skip to the last third to ease my suffering.

LAST THIRD:
Smoke time is 2 hours.

Oh the horror. Will this ever end?

BTW- This stick has more than enough humidor time. I sure ain’t smoking a green stick. So no excuses Montecristo for foisting this poodle on an unsuspecting public.

Daylight.

Red pepper. Halle-fucking-leujah! A return of dense creaminess. A large volume of malt. Some nuttiness and sweetness. The black pepper still lies quietly at the back of my throat despite the introduction of the glorious red pepper.

Strength makes the leap to medium/full.

Pathetic. The cigar finally begins to strut its stuff with less than 2” to go. Pathetic. No wonder the big reviewers refused to review this stinkeroo.

I would qualify the Montecristo Texas Connoisseur Edition as a nonstarter in terms of being an option for your hard earned dough. At this point, even if it were priced responsibly at maybe $7 or so, not worth it. A failed attempt by Montecristo to dazzle.

Consistency is the key to any good blend. Start at point A and get to point B by constantly surprising the palate with interesting and ever changing flavors. The Montecristo Texas Connoisseur Edition has none of these qualities. Without consistency you have a Quorum.

I was just forced to listen to songs by Bob Seger and The Eagles, one after the other, from the cable music channel. A bad omen.

Daylight disappears. What a shock. The Montecristo Texas Connoisseur Edition is a dud. I’m inclined not to even publish this review as it is a waste of my time. But then after spending 3 hours on this review, damn the torpedoes…and publish it and forget about it.

RATING: Snake Eyes

And now for something completely different:
The Sonja Chronicles.
I was tasked during our first tour to keep a secret from the band about Sonja’s rehab. She was a morphine addict. She was getting help from a private doctor who put her on methadone injections 3 times daily.

Within days, this task nearly gave me a nervous breakdown. Here I was. A kid from California and whisked away into the big time, from being a bar band bassist, to one of the biggest progressive rock bands in Europe, Japan, and South America. They just couldn’t budge in North America. They tried but just couldn’t break. Probably because they sounded like a combo of Jefferson Airplane and It’s a Beautiful Day (“White Bird”).

Sonja’s instability, while tapering off her morphine addiction, was horrifying. Never saw anything like that. Realized just how middle class America I was. I was really naïve.
She had some serious insecurity issues…always asking everyone how she did and telling us how she altered the song a little bit to make it better. It was like a dog humping your leg.

On the albums, before this tour, Sonja sang with a lovely, soaring feminine voice.

On this tour, the addiction really fucked her up and she thought she was Janis. Some of the written reviews of our concerts were devastating for her. Time after time they wrote that the band was brilliant; but they trashed her for bizarre vocals.

Every time Sonja read a review, suicide attempts came within hours.
She used to cut her wrists a lot. But she would use blunt instruments to do so. All she accomplished was to brand her wrists and arms with the mark of a junkie.

We played in Dover one night. Jeff Beck was there. Jazz violinist Jean Luc Ponty was there. And Mahavishnu Orchestra violinist Jerry Goodman was there. They even jammed with us during our encores.

In the dressing room, after the show, I shoved Sonja into the bathroom and told her to change. I had to get back to the hotel and get her to shoot her methadone. She never shot up before a concert because it made her high. Of course, the rest of the band members were high on either hash or alcohol. But no matter. They’d gone through this with Sonja for years and the caveat for doing the album and the tour was that she remained straight the whole time. So they couldn’t know she was a recovering junkie. At that time, Stewart Copeland and Sonja became an item. Stew was the only person to know because he had moved in with her. And me…the new guy who would keep his mouth shut to keep his job.

All three of those monster guest musicians were visiting in the dressing room and I forgot about Sonja.
All of a sudden, I remembered and I dashed to the bathroom. She had been in there for over an hour. I knocked. No answer. I knocked again and again. No answer.
That was it. I couldn’t take it anymore. I went back to the dressing room and told the band what was going on. They were livid.

We all tried to cajole Sonja out of the bathroom but she never made a sound so we broke the door in.
There she sat. On the toilet. Unconscious and her arms extended away from her body with blood running down them. They were superficial wounds caused by a bottle opener.

We carried her to the couch in the dressing room and I went into my gig bag and got her methadone and a needle. Minutes later, she was fine.

The tour lasted 8 weeks. The band was in an uproar when they found out Sonja didn’t keep her word. Darryl threatened to quit the tour.

I was the peacemaker as I was only 24 and had finally found the big time and didn’t want to lose it. Naturally, this position made me rife for being the eventual scapegoat a couple years later. Someone had to be sacrificed for a poor recording of an album; so why not pick the one least responsible for the problems? The bassist, of course. The peacemaker.

Sonja and Stewart Copeland eventually married. Years later, after popping out a few kids, Copeland dumped Sonja for a young hottie. Sonja blew up like a balloon and her ex band mate Francis Monkman referred to her as Mama Cass.

Back then, Stew was not half the drummer as he was in The Police. He would constantly solo like Keith Moon. And this pissed off Darryl something awful. He and the guitarist would be up front and center on the stage trading riffs and Stew was soloing. They had no idea where “1” was. So I started playing quarter notes and accenting the 1 count so they knew where they were. I had to abandon my cool riffs to play quarter notes.

Like clockwork, Stew got fired by Darryl every single week. A brouhaha would break out and Sonja would threaten to leave the band if Stew went.

So every week, fired…re-hired…fired…re-hired. Tiresome for the morale of the band.

Sonja finally got well after that first tour. She became productive and began to write songs again. But the rancor between her and Darryl never went away.

Darryl was probably the most arrogant S.O.B.’s I had ever met in the music biz. It was impossible to please him and, of course, his shit didn’t stink.

Darryl invited my girlfriend and me to move in with him in the little town of Datchet outside of London. It was a great deal and we would save money. Darryl still approved of me at that time in the band.
But as things do, shit happened….

 

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