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Staff Reviews

Montecristo Classic Staff Review

Shane K. K's picture

Shane K.

Montecristo Classic No. 2 is a cigar that can get overlooked – or stumbled upon by novices – with so many different Montecristo cigars available today. The Montecristo Classic blend is a richer and more refined version of the original Dominican-made Montecristo, and I’m smoking it in the lauded No. 2 size, a Torpedo that’s just over 6 inches long with a 52 ring gauge.

Of course, the iconic Cuban Montecristo No. 2 is the cigar responsible for cementing the brand’s fame around the world over the past century. As Cuban cigar-makers fled the island in the wake the trade embargo in the 1960s, due to Fidel Castro’s oppressive nationalization of the cigar industry, new, non-Cuban versions of Cuban brands emerged, and Montecristo remains one of the most successful.

Montecristo cigars sold in America are handmade in the Dominican Republic and Nicaragua and are part of the Altadis U.S.A. portfolio, which includes the non-Cuban versions of H. Upmann and Romeo y Julieta cigars. Montecristo cigars are available in nearly every premium cigar store in the States and rank up there with Macanudo as one of the most popular brands for beginners, due to the mild and mellow flavor they possess. Let’s taste how Montecristo Classic stacks up against the original Montecristo.

There is unmistakable continuity between the Montecristo Classic Series and the original Montecristo blend, but that also makes the two lines difficult to distinguish from one another. Both blends are packaged in bright yellow boxes, and the cigars bear simple brown cigar bands with the fleur-de-lis centered under the Montecristo name. The Classic Series, however, gets a secondary band in bright yellow, and the fleur-de-lis on the primary band is printed in gold instead of white. Both blends are priced in the $13 to $20 range, too, making them a tad expensive for new cigar smokers.

Nonetheless, when you open a fresh box of Classic No. 2s, the top row is lined with perfectly tapering Torpedos finished in a golden-blond Connecticut Shade wrapper leaf. Underneath it is a creamy amalgam of premium Dominican long-fillers matured for maximum smoothness. What differentiates the Classic Series is the selectivity employed in assembling the binder and filler tobaccos, as well as the wrapper leaf, which is a touch darker and oilier than the original Montecristo blend.

As soon as I clip the tip, a mellow sequence of nutty notes flows seamlessly from head to foot as I take a few cold draws. Subtle hints of honey layer the taste buds with underlying nuances of fresh hay and coffee bean. Montecristo Classic No. 2 is easy to light and easy to smoke. You don’t have to eat a full dinner or wait until the end of the day to enjoy one. The Classic Series is a bona fide mild smoke, and more folks would probably smoke it after breakfast, but it’s a little pricey for an early morning cigar.

Tasting notes of cedar and buttered toast mingle with cashew, earth, and white pepper throughout the first ten to fifteen minutes. A creamy profile of almond and coffee bean culminates without loosing any of the cigar’s initial sweetness, and it stays the course without becoming the least bit bitter or intense. What makes Montecristo a household brand is its approachable flavor and unfailing consistency. You don’t have to be an aficionado to appreciate a mild Montecristo, but the brand name appeals to cigar lovers universally. The higher price point also elevates consumer perception. Should you spend the money, though?

Over nearly an hour of delightful and unobstructed puffs, the No. 2 performs magnificently. The ash is firm, the combustion is even and precise. Montecristo Classic No. 2 concludes with a soothing finish of cedar and creamy coffee with a perfect ratio of spices. It does not linger, and you could sip champagne with this cigar. There’s a reason Montecristo repeatedly lands on lists of the best mild cigars and the best Dominican cigars. I’ll let you decide if the Classic Series deserves a spot on your list of the best Montecristo cigars. It’s worth spending the money to find out.


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