A Guide To Montecristo Cigars
With a brand history stretching back almost an entire century, Montecristo have become one of the most immediately recognizable cigar brands the world over and have become more or less synonymous with the very concept of cigar smoking. With such an extensive back catalogue of highly venerated vitolas and a handful of product ranges to sift through, it can be something of a challenge to decide where to start with Montecristo as a brand, but fear not, as we’ve compiled a handy guide to walk you through the myriad options available from arguably the world’s most beloved Cuban brand!
1. Linea Clasica
The core of Montecristo’s offerings, Linea Clasica is made up of over a dozen wildly varying vitolas, covering an immense spread of shapes and sizes; from long, elegant Lanceros and Lonsdales, to Coronas of all shapes and sizes, and now with the inclusion of the Edmundo range, a trio of Robusto variants!
As we have discussed in our “Top 5 Montecristo Cigars For New Smokers” article, the Montecristo No. 4 makes for a great starting point for the brand, offering an earthy, floral smoke with sweeter notes of baking spices and a hint of vanilla. The Montecristo No. 2, also contained within the Linea Clasica range, provides an incredible Piramedes vitola to the line-up, and the Media Corona has proven tremendously popular with fans of shorter length sticks with reasonable ring gauges.
Also of note is the Montecristo ‘A’, a relic of a soon-to-be bygone era of cigar production, clocking in at a whopping 9 ¼” x 47 ring gauge, making it the longest vitola produced by any Cuban brand, though the vitola is produced in smaller quantities with each passing year, and can often prove a challenge to acquire of late.
Though the longer, more elegant sticks like the Especial et al may prove somewhat of a challenge to procure, you can always rely on Montecristo’s family of Edmundos for an immersive modern smoking experience.
When selecting a vitola from Montecristo’s Linea Clasica range, you can be assured to experience a medium to full strength smoke, with rich earthy tones, a light smattering of spice, which develops into sweeter notes reminiscent of vanilla pod supported by tones of leather, cedar wood, cocoa, coffee and the brand’s iconic bittersweet tang!
Seen as something of an oddity and treated to much scepticism and derision from the cigar community upon their release, the OPEN range was intended as a lighter expression of the Montecristo line targeted towards golfers and casual smokers, with every vitola in the range being named for a golf tournament. Initial reviews were not entirely positive, but opinions have shifted as the OPEN blend has matured, albeit with a lingering degree of misconception about the range’s purpose and identity, though this is slowly but surely subsiding. The blend is slightly milder than the core Montecristo series, while still offering a creamy and complex smoking experience with the classic Montecristo flavours of coffee, cocoa, vanilla, earth and leather.
The OPEN range covers a healthy array of sizes and shapes; with a diminutive Petit Corona in the OPEN J (known outside of the UK as the OPEN Junior), a Petit Belicoso in the form of the OPEN Regata, a stunning Robusto with the OPEN Master, and a big hefty ring gauge offering named the OPEN Eagle, which prior to the Linea 1935 Leyenda was the chunkiest ring gauge cigar offered in the entire Montecristo brand.
There have been no additions to Montecristo’s OPEN range since it launched, but as is always the case with the capricious world of cigars, never say never!
3. Linea 1935
The newest member of the Montecristo family is the Linea 1935, introduced at the 2017 Festival del Habanos and eventually seeing their release in 2019. Created to celebrate the creation of the Montecristo brand in pre-revolution Cuba in 1935, Linea 1935 is a new premium range of bolder, more powerful iterations on the classic Montecristo flavour profile! Taking a healthy degree of inspiration from Cohiba’s tremendous Behike series, the Linea 1935 range are produced with only the very finest tobaccos available from the legendary Pinar del Rio region, famed for producing some of the finest premium tobaccos the world has ever seen, and are immaculately dressed with three bands: the instantly recognizable Montecristo fleur de lis, a second band featuring the vitola name, and a final third band to protect the foot of the cigar.
Measuring in at ever-so-slightly longer and more slender than a standard Robusto format, 5 ¼” (133mm) x 49 ring gauge, the Dumas is an excellent introduction to the marvels contained in the Linea 1935 range; bringing all the iconic Montecristo flavours in a slightly tweaked manner, presenting a more defined woodyness and spiced character.
Taking a step up to the middle entry of the range, the Maltes, is a noticeable jump in size and intensity, 6” x 53 ring gauge, the vitola shape is known in the factories of Cuba as a ‘Sobresalientes’ (translating to English as: ‘Outstanding’), a seldom produced vitola shape reserved for extra special stogies, an accolade which the Maltes can more than deservedly claim.
Which leaves us with the most thoroughly impressive stick in the range, the truly monolithic Leyenda! Stepping into the considerably sized shoes of the now-passed Montecristo 80 Aniversario, the Leyenda takes the form of a Maravillas No. 2 and with its 6 ½” x 55 ring gauge sits at the apex of not only the Linea 1935 range, but also the entirety of Montecristo’s impressive roster of legendary stogies, with the exception of the ‘A’ of course!