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Staff Reviews

Montecristo White Staff Review

Shane K. K's picture

Shane K.

Now that we’re finally embarking upon warmer temps across the country, golf outings, barbecues, and weekends at the beach represent ideal occasions for enjoying a good cigar. It’s common for a herf or two to pop up on the calendar, too, since smoking outdoors can easily attract a crowd. As a result, it’s worthwhile to keep a handful of Cuban-legacy cigars on the radar.


The big name Cuban-heritage brands are well known among seasoned cigar lovers, but they also bear familiarity with guys who only smoke very occasionally. Even people who don’t smoke cigars have heard of Montecristo, Romeo y Julieta, and Cohiba. Often, these brands can make for a decent purchase when you need to pick up a box to share with a group – but it also depends on your budget, as some are quite a bit more spendy than others.

Today, let’s pop the hood on Montecristo White. Few brands are better known than Montecristo due to its extensive Cuban origins and a backstory that pre-dates the embargo by decades. The original Dominican-made Montecristo is considered a classic, with mild, approachable flavors and the iconic bright yellow boxes the brand is packaged in. Montecristo White is notched up a touch, strength-wise, with an Ecuador Connecticut wrapper leaf and an intricate recipe of Dominican and Nicaraguan long-fillers.

I’m indulging in the Churchill with solid dimensions of 7-inches and a 54-ring-gauge. Visually, the cigar is pristine. The golden wrapper leaf exhibits a slightly dark, honey-colored shade. A pair of double bands denote the White Series with the brand’s well-known fleur-de-lis emblem on the primary label. Notes of dried grass, nuts, and honeysuckle comprise the cigar’s cold aroma and unlit draw.

As I light up, faint, chalky spices register. Cool and creamy puffs of smoke arrive in a series of seamless draws that are sufficient, but uneventful. I think it’s important to point out the distinction between a Connecticut Shade wrapper and an Ecuador Connecticut leaf at this juncture. A Connecticut Shade wrapper is a Natural leaf that is actually grown and cultivated in the state of Connecticut, i.e. the Connecticut River Valley. True Connecticut-grown wrappers impart a unique sweetness that is mild, rich and hard to miss.

An Ecuador Connecticut leaf refers to a Connecticut-seed plant that is grown and harvested in Ecuador, as in the case of Montecristo White. Although Ecuador Connecticut wrappers mirror the Connecticut Shade varietal in certain ways, they really are very different, due to the vastly disparate climates of the two regions. When an Ecuador Connecticut wrapper is aged and blended to its maximum potential, a wonderful balance between creaminess and spiciness occurs. When the results are less remarkable, it’s common to perceive a somewhat bitter or even papery taste.

In the case of Montecristo White, I’m a bit on the fence. By the halfway mark, creamy notes of oak and cedar have emerged. The fact that White Series is an assuredly medium-bodied smoke is apparent by this point. However, its creaminess somewhat dissipates in favor of a papery, chalky profile which travels in and out. While I don’t consider the taste off-putting, I also wish it could be more complete. Its spices are ardent, however, without being overbearing. 

If you’re accustomed to smoking Ligero-laden cigars that are as strong as an ox, but you’re looking for a blend you can handle in the afternoon while the sun is beating down on your head, Montecristo White could be the ticket. It’s actually an ideal cigar to match up with an ice cold beer. I believe its dryer, more leathery flavors would benefit the palate more so with a crisp, carbonated beverage in hand. But, I have to stop short of labeling it as a “golf ‘gar,” and that is simply due to price. For the $10-15 range, Montecristo White is a little rich for my blood, but that doesn’t make it a bad cigar.

The finish on Montecristo White reveals an uptick in woody spices with traces of creaminess and coffee beans fighting through, but it does not verge on lingering. Give this one a shot if you’ve got a round of golf to play, but try a few singles and gather your own impression before you splurge on a box. Decide if this Dominican dandy winds up on your list of the best Montecristo cigars


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