An evening with Montecristo
20 October, 2005
 

Montecristo is one of the top premium brands from Cuba - its biggest in terms
of sales and best known;
the benchmark of Cuban cigars
for size and flavour.

Theo Rudman wrote: "Brands success has a lot to do with unique tangy flavour. This partly created by storing ligero leaves for filler in special type of cedar wood boxes, partly because of unique technique of arranging filler leaf. Generally slightly milder than Cohiba with less ligero leaf in their blend."

We read in one of our copies of Cigar Aficionado: Enrique Mons, one of Havana's great cigar aficionados and the head of the humidor room at La Casa de Habano, the city's most prestigious tobacconist, could smoke anything he wants, considering the vast selection of cigars in his shop - all the sizes and shapes of Cohiba, Hoyo de Monterrey and Punch, among others - but when he decides to smoke a cigar he usually picks a Montecristo. "I have always smoked a Montecristo", says Mons. "It's a unique cigar with unique character. The blend is rich, but more importantly, the wrappers are very special."

So our Montecristo evening will offer some "very special" smokes:
On arrival you will be offered a Montecristo Mini
(Mini cigarillo) (80mm x Ring 20)
Machine made using all Cuban leaf this has a smooth, light Cuban taste with an unusually easy draw for such a small cigar. Ideal to start the evening, preparing the taste buds for the richer flavours to follow.
(If you're early, you may have time for two.)

As you are seated you can select your Montecristo Especial No.2
(Panatella, 152mm x Ring 38)
The Ring 38 panatella is the size which Castro preferred. The narrow ring gauge means that the draw is a little tighter than usual and it requires a slightly different smoking technique. If you draw too hard in order to get a full mouthful of smoke you may cause the cigar to burn hot, which will ruin the delicate flavour. Draw softly - and if you need a larger volume of smoke, take a slightly longer draw and/or draw a little air alongside the smoke. A gentler smoke - suitable for sipping between courses.
The batch we'll be smoking at the dinner has a light claro leaf with a lovely glowing wrapper.

Now for "ta da"- the Montecristo"C" Edición Limitada 2003
(Corona Extra, 143mm x Ring 46)
In 2000 the Cubans started production of their limited-edition cigars (Edición Limitada)
I am indebted to James Suckling's articles in Cigar Aficionado for the following:
"The concept behind the smokes was to produce a small number of cigars in a shape normally not found in a particular brand using aged filler and wrapper. According to Fernando Lopez, the head of all Cuban cigar factories, the Limitada range was never designed to be a Maduro line of new smokes, like many Cuban cigar lovers believe. Rather, he said, it's always been the aim to make the limited sizes with an aged wrapper of two to three years that shows a slightly darker brown colour than the norm."
The leaves come from the upper part of the tobacco plant (the corona), which get the most sun and are picked last. This makes the leaves richer and riper - not Maduro, but Colorado Oscuro or Oscuro (dark brown to very dark brown). The cigars have a richer, slightly more spicy flavour than normal Montecristo cigars.
This sumptuous cigar will round off the evening.

See you there!
Colin Wesley

The Cigar Aficionado articles we refer to can also be read online:
Magazine archives
Limited Editions
Montecristo

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