Montecristo No.2

(Size: 6 1/8″ x 52  —  Time: 1hr 40mins)

IMG_0962

Sometime ago, I believe Thatcher and Reagan were both in power at the time, one of the true BOTL in this world was kind enough to gift me a Montecristo No.2.  It transpired on the UK Cigar Forums that I had not smoked this legendary cigar, and Simon ‘Bolivar’ decided to right a wrong. So, this review is for Simon, who was interested in my thoughts.

So, I’ve finally got around to smoking it, and I have to admit that it began a bit of a cigar binge for me.  Having gone months without a Cuban (or indeed a non-Cuban), I hurled myself headlong into a weekend of hedonism and herfing.  The Scotch flowed without hinderance, and the cigars followed one another.  Tony Bennett playing in the background as I enjoyed a couple of wonderful evenings of reclusion and relaxation.  This is the one which kick-started my 2013 smoking year…

IMG_0964Appearance /15

This cigar had a chocolatey, fairly dark, oily wrapper. The oiliness was not towards the top end, however, and left the surface with a satin-like feel.  There was a noticeable seam along the cigar, and a couple of fairly solid veins.  It was firm to the touch – almost hard, but not solid (this was likely of my own doing, as my humidity has dropped a bit low due to the long winter and central heating).  The foot was nicely packed, with reasonable give, all things considered.  13

Smoking Characteristics /25

The pre-light aroma of the Monte No.2 was slightly chocolatey, with a slightly strawy note – not at all unpleasant.  The cigar lit with a small degree of difficulty – taking longer than I’d anticipated, and taking a while to get onto the straight and narrow.  Unfortunately, this was a sign of things to come…  The early burn was weak and uneven, not instilling any confidence.  After a few touch-ups during the first ten minutes the cigar settled down and burnt more evenly.  However, around the 40 minute mark the cigar went out, and again around the 80 minute mark, shortly after I’d had to remove part of the wrapper.  The ash was a little flakey, but held quite well.  The pre-light draw was excellent, offering and ideal amount of resistance – this was true throughout, and inspite of burn issues, the cigar produced an adequate amount of smoke.  18

Flavour /25

The dry draw provided a herbal flavour, with very subtly menthol notes.  After lighting, the early draws were woody, with lots of cherry notes and hints of chocolate.  Soon after lighting the woodiness became more defined – with vaguely peppery cedar becoming quite noticeable.  The slightly tart, fruity, notes of the cherry remained, but moved towards the background, along with hints of vanilla, cocoa and coffee.  Gradually the flavours changed towards more grassy notes – with the slightly metallic feel that you often get with Montecristo cigars.  The grassiness was soon accompanied by more woody flavours – predominantly an oak note, which was akin to oak chips which had been soaked in a sweet cider vinegar.  As the cigar entered the final third, it became deeper, with a leathery woodiness.  There developed some more notes which were reminiscent of the tannic notes from a slightly under-aged Claret.  The strength ramped up in the final five minutes, though there were never any tarry notes.  23

IMG_0965Overall Impression /35

The Montecristo No.2 turned out to be a pleasant surprised for me.  I’ve never been a huge fan of the Monte marque, with only the Petit Edmundo and Sublimes (LE) really doing anything for me.  This was an enjoyable smoke, with good progression through the stick – however, the complexity of the cigar seemed to come and go in spurts, and the depth really only developed in the final third.  When I consider my overall impression, I have to recognise that it was an incredibly annoying cigar at times, with regular touch-ups and relighting being required – I also note that its draw was excellent, and I have to account for the reduced humidity that the cigar has been stored at over recent months.  As such, I’m going with my gut, and calling this a good one.  Thanks again, Simon, you’ve introduced me to a classic, and I’ll definitely be having more.  33

Grand total… 87/100 (with an expectation to be a couple of percentage points higher)

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