Just before the 2017 IPCPR, Altadis announced that they have been working with AJ Fernandez to craft a special release of their famed Montecristo cigar. Altadis noted in a Cigar Aficionado article on the new blend;
“.. the new Monte is blended for the “adult consumer demographic with a taste for stronger, bolder smoking experiences.”
Altadis and AJ agreed that the name for this would be simply called the Monte by Montecristo AJ Fernandez. Left in the hands of AJ Fernandez, he decided the blend would be bold yet refined, consisting of:
- Wrapper – Ecuadorian habano
- Binder – Nicaraguan corojo 98
- Filler –
- Dominican piloto cubano
- Nicaraguan criollo 98
The team chose 4 popular vitolas in a box pressed format, to produce them in. Each vitola is available in 20-count boxes:
- Corona 5 x 44 (MSRP $10.92)
- Robusto 4.2 x 54 (MSRP $11.22)
- Toro 6 x 55 (MSRP $11.44)
- Belicoso 6.1 x 54 (MSRP $11.70)
For this review, I sampled the Monte by Montecristo AJ Fernandez Belicoso vitola
The Monte by Montecristo AJ Fernandez boasts a silky and gleaming, medium brown wrapper that I would describe as a rich milk chocolate color. Although it is described as a box pressed cigar, it is not firmly pressed but rather gently pressed. The edges are rounded. The head the cigar is well finished, showing the care that AJ Fernandez puts into each and every cigar he produces.
There are two bands on this cigar. The primary is the standard Montecristo band, but instead of just stating “Montecristo” it also states AJ Fernandez on the bottom. The Secondary band is a large sleeve that fits well under the primary band and is bold in design using a red, gold and black motif. The Red word “MONTE” is printed across the black background along the gold Montecristo logo stretched around the band.
Running the cigar across the nose, I picked up a sweet barrel but not much off the foot.
I proceeded to cut the head on a 45 degree angle (which allows the smoke to be directed to the top of the palate). A few cold draw puffs were limited to a faint butter note through a decent restriction.
With not much else going on, it was time to fire it up ad see what develops.
Cigar Review Notes
- First puffs offered a light buttery spice that was easy on the retro-hale
- Thick creamy smoke develops
- Sweet cream notes add to the early spice – very pleasant
- Light grey ash forms on a medium char line
- Extremely oiled wrapper has began to show
- Flavors continue to evolve as a chocolate note follows
- There is a spice and nut aroma wafting off the foot
- Ash fell after two inches and presented a flat, well centered burn cone
- The burn is absolutely pristine no wave or jagged burn so far
- Quite a pleasant smoke and a departure from the heavy pepper spice smokes I have been reviewing lately
- Coffee notes enter in the second third
- Aroma shifts to a fruity vanilla
- Cinnamon spice hits the palate in the final third
- Medium in Strength
- Total Smoking time was 1 hour and 35 minutes
Overall, the Monte by Montecristo AJ Fernandez was a delight to smoke. with a refined flavorful smoke and pristine burn. This is a cigar I thoroughly enjoyed and would say it could be smoked anytime of the day. The sweet cream and chocolate notes make it a perfect pairing with a cafe cubano. I will have to pick up some coronas, as that is my favorite Cuban Montecristo vitola just to see the difference.