Cigar Review Wednesdays — Montecristo No 2
The quintessential Montecristo that everyone should try at least once in a lifetime. Hint: it will not be just once.
When we talk about classic Cuban cigars, it’s impossible to not talk about the Montecristo No 2. It not only belongs to a league of its own, but it practically created it. The iconic torpedo shape is a true delight to the eyes of every cigar smoker.
The first No 2 was introduced in 1935 and remained untouched ever since, being considered one of the most consistent cigars ever built. There is something special about holding a cigar that won the #1 position in Cigar Aficionados’s ranking in 2013. There are a lot of controversies and mixed feeling around this cigar. Some say it is an amazing cigar, perfect for every occasion. Others may say it is not good at all because of the most various reasons. The No 2 is like a celebrity, either you love it or you hate it, there are no middle opinions about it, but it remains iconic and always famous.
Strength / size
Medium — Full / 6.13"x52
Before lighting up
The Montecristo No 2 is an impressive cigar, there is no doubt about it and you will notice immediately that this is not your average cigar. The shape is a pronounced pyramid that slowly increases its ring gauge from the pointy cap until the foot, that ends in an impressive 52 ring gauge. Considering that this blend was created in 1935, it was a massive ring gauge for the time. The second thing you’ll notice is the beautiful light brown wrapper, very soft to the touch and a bit springy, but very well packed with tobacco. Like every other Piramide cap, we cut as little as possible to concentrate the flavors in one single spot. This way, you can always keep cutting if the draw is too tight.
This is a cigar of contrasts and contradictions. The first smoke that ever comes out from the foot is packed with hints of cinnamon and almonds but when you take the first draw, the flavors you get are quite strong such as espresso and cedar. The smoke is very thin and pale but also very aromatic to an almost sweet point. It starts in a very friendly way and on the medium side when you light it up but it is now evolving to more of a medium profile. The burn is very consistent so far and the light smoke remains cool and classy. There are also notes of nutmeg, leather and sweet spices that coats your mouth with a creamy delicious texture.
This blend of tobacco was made with leaves only grown in Piñar del Rio, which gives it a very typical profile. As you continue to puff, the strength evolves into a beautiful medium to full body cigar, maintaining its smoothness along the way. The aromas are becoming more and more pungent bringing a very nice floral note to the entire room. The draw is becoming better and better as you go along and then it hits you: you can feel why this is a top seller cigar and why it has been around and unchanged since 1935. The quality and consistency are just outstanding. The oily wrapper is letting the cigar burn in a perfectly straight line, a razor-sharp burn that is a delight to every cigar smoker. Yes, the way it was stored has a lot to do with the way it burns, but so does construction. You can never make a badly built cigar burn properly, no matter how perfect storage conditions were.
It is now evolving to a medium to full body cigar with just that right amount of spiciness showing up. Notes of cedar, white and black peppers start to show up and an extreme sadness starts building in. That sadness comes from the fact that you are now almost burning your fingertips and you don’t want to put it down. You have to take your time with this cigar otherwise you’ll get a surprise. It’s like that guy that’s only your friend until you start contradicting him, then he becomes your enemy. Not that the Montecristo is a hard cigar to smoke, because it isn’t, you just need to be aware that it strength profile evolves quite rapidly and you should be prepared.
We simply adore the Montecristo No 2. We are big advocates of it and have enjoyed many hundreds over the years. It is a majestic blend that takes you back to a time that cigars were smoked freely everywhere and the aroma from it perfumed the streets. Without being too excentric, this cigar is a statement of good taste and when you have this iconic shape on your hand, even non-aficionados will identify it. It’s like having a Rolex Submariner, the watch is so popular that everyone follows the wrist it is on. The consistency of this cigar’s construction has been remarkable — and we know that’s a pretty hard goal to achieve when it comes to Cuba’s quality control — with only just a tiny portion of them having burning issues or plugged ends. As for the flavor, that’s a different story. Because it is so bold and has so much character, the Montecristo is not widely loved by everyone. However, we have to recognize that personal taste is very… well… personal thing. You might not like that beautiful caviar, but does that make it bad? No, no it doesn’t. It is still exquisite.