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Staff Reviews

Montecristo Epic Staff Review

Shane K. K's picture

Shane K.

The iconic Montecristo brand originated in Cuba in the 1930s and has been among the most recognizable cigar labels in the world for generations. Today, Montecristo cigars are also produced in the Dominican Republic and Nicaragua, and I’m smoking a 6-by-52 Toro in the Montecristo Epic blend, a richer and stronger smoke from this traditionally mild brand.

Montecristo Epic cigars debuted in 2012 and were blended by a team of the longest tenured cigar-makers, called “Grupo de Maestros,” at the Tabacalara de Garcia cigar factory in the Dominican Republic. Altadis U.S.A., the parent company of Montecristo cigars sold in America, produces multiple bestselling lines in the same facility, including Romeo y Julieta and H. Upmann.

When the makers of Montecristo introduced Epic, they shifted from creating predominantly mild cigars, like the original Montecristo blend, to capture the growing audience for fuller-bodied cigars. Now, the Montecristo portfolio includes plenty of fuller bodied cigars like the top-rated Montecristo 1935 Anniversary Nicaragua. Let’s fire up an Epic Toro and find out how it stacks up in the collection.

The packaging of Montecristo Epic cigars is bold. Bright, canary-yellow boxes house 10 dark Toros precisely fitted into individual slots for a neat presentation when you flip the lid open on a fresh batch. Epic is blended from an oily Cuban-seed wrapper, grown in Ecuador, drawn over well-aged Dominican and Nicaraguan long-filler tobaccos. At the time of its release, Montecristo Epic was touted as a super-premium cigar blended from the finest tobaccos in the company’s possession by its most skilled cigar-makers.

A noticeable bouquet of leather and cocoa comes off the foot of the cigar when the cellophane is off. A hearty spice reaches into the recesses of my nostrils upon closer inspection. Epic cigars come with two bands; the top announces the brand name over the classic fleur-de-lis while the bottom reads “EPIC” in all caps. Subtle hints of caramel and hickory come through in the cold draw after I clip the cap and take a few puffs.

I’m left with nice expectations after considering the draw, construction, and complexion of Montecristo Epic. After toasting the foot, notes of pepper, birch bark, and cocoa mingle with hints of sage and nutmeg. Epic exhibits the hallmarks of a well-made Dominican cigar. However, after ten minutes of smoking, the cigar imparts a profile of salt and minerals that obscures some of its initial sweetness.

Luckily, a touch of cocoa persists despite the cigar’s moderately dry texture. Nutty notes of earth and cinnamon deepen the complexity of Epic throughout the middle with hints of wheat bread emerging slowly. The Toro performs wonderfully, leaving a stable ash as the cigar progresses.

After fifty minutes, the last band is off and I’m savoring the final inches. The finish is woody and a touch herbal, but I wish it was creamier for more variation. The aftertaste is bready while a spice lingers in the nose. Montecristo Epic is medium bodied and different than other blends from the brand. It’s a cigar you could enjoy with Scotch.

It's fair to count Epic among today’s best Montecristo cigars, but remember this isn’t the typical mild Montecristo you may be accustomed to. Eat before you smoke it. My biggest criticism is the price – over eighteen bucks for one cigar. While that’s not a completely egregious price by today’s standards, Montecristo cigars are regularly at least a few dollars more than comparable cigars from the competition. Order a few Montecristo Epic cigars and taste them for yourself before you go for a full box.


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