Top 5 Montecristo Cigars for New Smokers
Despite their relative youth compared to some of the more historic Cuban cigar brands, Montecristo have long since carved out their place as one of the most iconic and influential forces in the cigar world. With that acclaim however does come a caveat: As one of the most popular brands Cuba have to offer, they have also amassed a sizable back catalogue of cigars which can be somewhat daunting for new smokers to approach. With such an extensive array of sizes, shapes and names, it can be difficult to know which will be the best for you, but in this article we’re going to try and help steer you in the right direction with five great jumping off points for your early forays into all things Montecristo!
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Officially the best selling cigar in recorded history, and for good reasons which we’ll expand upon, the Montecristo No. 4 makes for an excellent starting point for not only exploring the wonders which the brand has to offer, but also into the expansive world of cigars itself!
There are a few contributing factors to the long running success of the Montecristo No. 4: its size, strength, smoking time and ubiquitous availability.
Sitting decidedly in the middle of the spectrum of strength across Cuban brands, the Montecristo No. 4 acts as a great yardstick for ascertaining whether a new smoker will go on to prefer either stronger or more mellow sticks. Similarly, as a Corona size vitola clocking in at an average smoking time of 45 minutes, the No. 4 can help determine whether a cigar with a shorter length would be a more appropriate for your preferences going forwards; if when smoking you find a desire to put the stick down and return to it, then a smaller vitola will likely be the route for you to take, as a cigar is intended to be enjoyed in one sitting, allowing the smoker to enjoy the full progression of flavours from start to finish, where leaving it to extinguish (or worse, stubbing it out) and cool causes the oils and tar to coagulate and create an unpleasantly acrid smoke once relit.
Should you find that the No. 4 is perhaps too long for you, or worry about finding a free 45 minutes in which to kick back and fully immerse yourself in the smoking experience, fear not, as there are a whole host of shorter alternatives within the brand!
The little brother of the No. 4, and the most diminutive of the brand’s ‘numbered’ offerings, the Montecristo No. 5 features the same blend of tobaccos present in the vast majority of their product lines, but in a more succinct and compact format known as a “Petit Corona.” You will still find yourself awash in all of the typical earthy, leathery notes that the brand are renowned for, along with their characteristic bittersweet ‘tang’ often found in the early stages of enjoying a Montecristo cigar, which then gives way to sweeter tones later on, very reminiscent of chocolate, sweet spices and vanilla. On average, a Montecristo No. 5 should take around 20 minutes to smoke, extending to between 25 and 30 if enjoyed at a more sedate pace, making it that little bit more accessible than the No. 4 if time constraints are a pressing issue.
Which brings us to another excellent small stick in Montecristo’s arsenal:
Translating from Spanish as “Half Corona,” the Montecristo Media Corona was conceived at the beginning of the 20th century by an English cigar importer as a means of enjoying a brief but full-flavoured smoke during intermissions while at the theatre with his wife. Shorter in length than the No. 5, but with a slightly chunkier ring gauge (thickness) allowing for a slightly cooler smoke than narrower ring gauge vitolas would offer but taking roughly the same time to smoke. We highly recommend Half Corona sized vitolas as a great accompaniment to a relaxing coffee break, or again in situations where time is of the essence, e.g. having a brief smoke while walking the dog, or as tradition intended, during intermissions at events!
Something of an oddity when contrasted against the other vitolas presented in this list, the Montecristo OPEN Regata takes the form of a “Petit Belicoso,” a small torpedo shaped cigar. Effectively a scaled down version of one of Montecristo’s most beloved sticks, the No. 2, the OPEN Regata bears a more than passing resemblance to the No. 2 but that’s where the similarities come to an end; flavour-wise, the OPEN Regata is slightly lighter in strength but has been filled with a blend of tobacco intended to bring more flavour to the fore, with the intention being that the OPEN range should be best enjoyed outdoors (hence why every cigar in the range is named after a Golf tournament). On the palate you can expect to find more notes of leather than previous entries on this list, and a more pronounced sweetness which conjures strong motifs of vanilla bean and cocoa powder.
Growing steadily in popularity since the 1980’s, heavier ring gauge cigars are now the most popular format enjoyed by smokers today, with a myriad of chunky sticks with short lengths emerging since the mid 2000’s. Chiefly among those, the Montecristo Petit Edmundo has proven itself to be an enduring fan favourite and crowd pleaser, with some even going as far to declare it as being one of the very best ways to experience and enjoy the Montecristo blend! If you’ve tried any of the above options and feel confident to tackle a chunkier ring gauge offering, or are feel bold enough to take the plunge right off the bat with one, the Montecristo Petit Edmundo is an unparalleled way to get things rolling!
You can find all of these excellent vitolas and more on our Montecristo page, and for any further questions you may have, don’t hesitate to get in touch!