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Staff Reviews

Montecristo Monte Staff Review

Shane K. K's picture

Shane K.

Montecristo Monte, sometimes spelled in all caps as simply MONTE, scored 93 points with the critics in Cigar Aficionado and a ‘Top 10’ ranking in 2014 for the Jacopo No. 2, a box-pressed Torpedo just over six inches long with a 54 ring gauge. When the cigar debuted, Altadis U.S.A., the parent of company of the non-Cuban Montecristo and Romeo y Julieta brands, was in the process of revamping its most recognizable brand names with new blends and packaging. Let’s revisit this renewed version of a Cuban-legacy classic to taste its staying power today.

Montecristo Monte is medium to full-bodied, making it stronger than the Connecticut-wrapped Montecristo cigars that have made the brand popular with their mild and mellow flavor. Monte is drawn from an oily brown Ecuador Habano wrapper leaf and a commanding bend of Dominican long-filler tobaccos tucked within a Nicaraguan Corojo binder. The iconic brown and gold Montecristo cigar band is applied above a secondary black and gold band announcing MONTE in oversized red letters.

After plucking a Jacopo No. 2 from a fresh box, I give the tapered cap a clean snip with my Xikar Xi1 Cutter. The cigar draws easy and exhibits consistent density from head to foot. The wrapper is toothy, while hints of leather and spice impart a zesty first impression throughout a few cold draws. An enticing aroma of fresh tobacco permeates the air as I inspect the remaining cigars in the box and am impressed by their uniform oiliness. 

When I toast the foot and take a few puffs, notes of coffee bean, cocoa, and pepper mingle. Monte isn’t your typical Montecristo profile, but that’s okay. It was blended to broaden the brand’s audience by appealing to fans of heartier cigars, and the spicy sensation that weaves its way through my nostrils is a strong indication Monte can satisfy cigar lovers in search of a meaty smoke. Monte is handmade in the Dominican Republic, but you can taste hallmarks of the Nicaraguan tobacco in the blend.

After ten minutes of smoking, the cigar could stand to be a bit sweeter or creamier while its intensity continues to unfold. Instead, a charry texture underscores earthy notes of leather and tree bark. The draw is smooth and agreeable, though, which is a nice consolation from its on-and-off stiff taste. Monte displays a wavy burn, but it corrects without any support from my torch lighter as the first half concludes.  

Because the Jacopo No. 2 is a Torpedo, the cigar’s taste is more concentrated than in other sizes. Notes of mesquite and leather roll over the palate with a toasty, slightly musty aftertaste. Monte turns bitter for a moment, but bready notes of pepper and coffee bean prevail. As I peel off the band, creamy nuances of molasses bring balance. Forty-five minutes have passed, and there is still plenty of cigar left to smoke in the nub, although the Jacopo gets hot in the final stretch.

The finish is peppery and damp, but I take extra time in between draws to let the Torpedo cool while notes of hickory and coffee deliver contrast. Montecristo Monte isn’t a cigar I would smoke on a hot summer day under the sun, but it isn’t so strong you have to save it for after after a ten-course meal. It's fair to include Monte with today’s best Montecristo cigars, but I would pair it with a neat bourbon to coax more sweetness across your palate for better equilibrium.

Montecristo Monte isn’t special occasion material, but it’s a solid, well-rounded smoke you can rely on. However, I’m docking a point for price and rating it 89 at the end of the day. The $10-12 vicinity for a single is a little steep, so my advice is to buy Monte on sale.


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