Disclaimer: This review was originally published at Cigar Tower after the Habanos Festival in Cuba. This review (text and pictures) is being republished on Stogie Review with the full approval of its creator, Peter Agardi. I want to thank Peter for bringing this to our attention and for filling in for my usual slot as I was away traveling this past weekend and didn’t have time to record two videos this week.
One of the most awaited announcements during this year’s Habanos Festival was the introduction of a new series in the original Montecristo family. Although there has been a number of new sizes in the Montecristo brand, it has been 74 years since the last new line came out.
The new cigars, called Open, will be easy to recognize as they’re all equipped with a second green band under the usual Montecristo band. The second band has two golden strokes, the golden Open label and white name printed on it. The cigars are targeted mainly at the occasional smokers, who are only smoking cigars during special events like celebrations or other freetime activities. Habanos would like to get them more involved in the cigar culture.
There are four sizes in the Open series:
– Junior: 110mm (4 1/3 inches) x 38rg
– Regatta: 135mm (5 1/3 inches) x 46rg
– Master: 124mm (4 7/8 inches) x 50rg
– Eagle: 149mm (5 7/8 inches) x 54rg
So the market goal sounds exciting and the design looks like it’s ready to support it. I was very excited to try how all these come together when I received the Junior and the Eagle, the smallest and the largest ones in the series.
Montecristo Open Eagle
This oversized robusto has a very nice silky wrapper with a lighter tone, rolled in a good quality. It had a clear dark chocolate smell before lighting up. Since it’s a relatively fresh cigar, I expected a powerful start. However, this was not the case. After a few puffs it set it’s strength to a medium level with cedary, sweet notes. This was a quite nice aroma, rich but I wouldn’t call it too complex. It just delivered what it wanted in a clean, moderate way. I was interested to see if that changes in the second third, so I slowly continued.
Although the draw and the smoke was perfect, I had problems with the burn quality. The Eagle burnt aside in the beginning, and it didn’t rush to correct itself. The ash as a bit loose but it had a nice texture. The cigar seemlessly entered the second third, where it was still very gentle and creamy. The aroma didn’t change a bit, it continued evenly. I guess I expected a more complex blend from a size like this, but I have to say I really liked the simplicity I got from it especially in the second third. Now don’t get me wrong: by simplictiy I don’t mean losing the quality even a bit, it just focuses on a few selected notes in a very good way. Because of this I think it’s enjoyable even for beginners as their first Cuban cigar.
The last third brought the wooden aroma in front, it got a little bit stronger and that’s how it finished. Montecristo clearly continues the trend of middle-bodied blends it set with Edmundo, but the Eagle is definitely an improved cigar that I would recommend.
Montecristo Open Junior
The small Montecristo cigars always came as a surprise to me, as one wouldn’t expect that these are such powerbombs. Just think of the No. 5 and you’ll know what I mean. The small sized Junior cigar is no exception. You can only smell natural tobacco before you light the cigar. Also, the wrapper leafs have a more raw look then on the Eagle. The overall look was good.
The cigar gets right in the middle after lighting. The sweetness of the Eagle can only be found in traces, the dominant notes are oak and leather. It burnt precisely leaving a strong, dark ash behind. By the second third it slowly turned into a toasty, middle-bodied smoke. The draw was good, but the agressiveness stopped the development of any clean aromas or complexity. The last third seemed a bit more gentle and creamy. Overall the Junior is a very well constructed cigar with a less interesting characteristics then the Eagle.