- Price: $18 USD (Box of 20, $350 USD)
- Made By: Habanos S.A.
- Factory Location: Cuba
- Dimensions: 6 1/4” by 52 ring gauge
- Shape: Torpedo
- Filler: Cuba
- Binder: Cuba
- Wrapper: Cuba
- Cold Draw: Espresso, Cedar, Light/Sweet Spices
- First Third: Cinnamon, Almond, Nutmeg, Pepper, Cedar
- Second Third: White & Black Pepper, Cinnamon, Leather
- Final Third: Cedar, white and black pepper
The Montecristo No. 2 is a giant. That has to be said first, before any other description. This cigar is a torpedo, or pyramid, shape, which means that it starts out tapered at the cap and head and then gradually becomes wider towards the foot. The Montecristo No. 2 has a 52 ring gauge at its foot, which is big for a cigar, but totally astounding for a Cuban that was first created in 1935.
The Montecristo No. 2’s is beautiful. It has a light brown wrapper that’s silky to the touch, and has a springy feel to it. It also has an oily sheen, and it makes you wonder what texture that will lend the smoke when it hits your mouth. The tobacco seems very well-packed. Each individual cigar is wrapped in a metallic, deep red band, with white lettering and a gold insignia in the middle.
Taste and Draw
Trying to do the Montecristo No. 2 justice with just words is a huge task. This cigar is a truly fascinating mix of contradiction and harmony. Its flavors are complex, yet subtle; rich, yet not overwhelming. It’s spicy and bold. The flavors of the Montecristo No. 2 blend together in this constantly changing dance, starting out with notes of old, well-conditioned leather before moving to espresso, and then the sweeter spices like cinnamon and nutmeg, then to almonds, and then switch gears into white and black pepper, and then on to more woodsy notes like oak, and finally back to a drier, shaper note of cedar.
The Montecristo No. 2 is a hand-rolled Cuban Puro, simply meaning it’s filled with purely Cuban tobacco. The filler and binder tobaccos are bunched and layered carefully by hand. This creates a cigar with tight-fit tobacco, but since it’s hand-rolled, it’s still open enough to give it an amazing draw. Something impressive about the Montecristo No. 2 is how consistent the draw remains throughout the cigar. This is a testament to its craftsmanship.
Espresso, Cedar, Sweet Spices, Oak, Creamy
Taking a cold draw on a cigar is like that first introduction you get to it. It’s like when you’re looking through a furniture or clothes catalogue and imagining what everything looks like in real life. You get glimmers and ideas of the products, so it builds your anticipation. In addition to getting hints about the cigar’s flavor, you’re also able to pick up on any construction issues the cigar might have.
The Montecristo No. 2 is rich and contradictory, and the cold draw tells you just that. There are hints of bold espresso and cedar that blend together and turn sweet like baking spices, and then turn creamy like old, well-conditioned saddle leather, before transitioning into woodsy notes of oak and cedar.
The cold draw on the Montecristo No. 2 leaves you with this huge feeling of excitement. The flavors are fascinating and their contrariness makes you wonder what that first pull will taste like when you light it. So far, there don’t seem to be any indications of problems with the draw and pull.
Cinnamon, Nutmeg, Almond, Cedar, Leather
The first third of the Montecristo No. 2 doesn’t disappoint. The cold draw on this Cuban was bold and surprising, with a complex array of flavors coming at you. The first pull starts out with hints of cinnamon, nutmeg, and almond. There’s nothing overpowering or offensive so far in this Montecristo No. 2, even as those sweet spices transition into creamy leather, and then to tangier, woodsy notes of oak.
The smoke coming from the first third of the Montecristo No. 2 is thin and pale, and oh so aromatic and lightly sweet. The viscosity is almost reminiscent of a good Pinot Noir, with its smooth, watery, yet almost buttery feel. It coats your mouth with a delicious, creamy texture. It smells just as amazing, and actually surprised the hell out of me because there’s a floral hint mixed in there, which isn’t something you pick up in the cold draw or flavor.
The Montecristo No. 2 starts out as a borderline-mild cigar, but as you work your way through the first third, it quickly becomes a solid, medium body. So far, the burn on this Cuban is perfect. There’s a great burn line, probably due a lot to the rich, oily wrapper, but mostly because its construction is so perfect.
Cinnamon, Leather, White & Black Pepper
After the perfection of the Montecristo No. 2’s first third, it’s almost hard to imagine how the rest of this cigar could match up. The first third tapered into woodsy notes, so you think the second third might pick up where it left off. But, like I mentioned, the Montecristo No. 2 is full of contradictions and contrast. The first notes you pick up as you start the second third are white and black pepper. This is followed quickly by a return to the cinnamon and creamy leather.
The smoke remains rich and delightful to smell, though it’s starting to become more pungent, probably indicating its shifting strength and body. The mouthfeel is still smooth and creamy and leathery, but it’s starting to pick up a drier, spicier feel.
The Montecristo No. 2 is dynamic. In addition to its shifting flavor profile, the strength is also changing and building. It starts out as a mellow-to-medium bodied smoke, but is solidly in the medium-to-full bodied camp by the end of the second third. The burn and draw remain perfect.
White & Black Pepper, Cedar
No one likes great things to end, but, since that’s the way of the world, you have to accept the end. The Montecristo No. 2 is no different. With the surprises and delights of the first and second thirds behind you, you catch yourself wondering if the end will be as good. And it is.
The white and black pepper from the second third have really taken over by the time you’ve reached this final, tragic section of your smoke. A drier, sharper cedar note has completely taken over the tangier notes of oak from the first third. The sweet spices from the first two thirds have almost completely disappeared.
The Montecristo No. 2 is officially a full bodied cigar at this point. It’s spicy and incredibly bold, but still manages not to become harsh or overpowering. The aroma and mouthfeel remain rich and delightful. The Montecristo No. 2’s burn perfection is really startling. Even at the end, the burn is consistent and straight and the tobacco is still well-packed.
The Montecristo No. 2 is a giant in both size and quality. It’s a cigar of surprises, contradictions and harmony, strength, subtlety, and complexity. It has notes of light, sweet spices like cinnamon and nutmeg and almond, paired alongside strong espresso and creamy leather. It brings in the woods with oak and cedar. And then it startles again with spicy white and black pepper. This cigar is possibly the boldest and richest of all the Cubans.
Each Montecristo No. 2 is handmade in Cuba. This traditionally has created a kind of hit or miss scenario as far as consistency from cigar to cigar. Whenever humans are the creators of something, the quality can be either exceptional, or not so much. However, the Montecristo No. 2 has none of these quality issues. The consistency of the tobacco is perfect. The construction is also exceptional, and it’s certainly an enduring testament to the idea that, when done right, real quality never dies.
I struggle to recommend an ideal time of day for smoking the Montecristo No. 2. It’s a cigar that makes any moment perfect. Because of its potency, it wouldn’t be a bad idea to have some food in your stomach. That way you can enjoy it uninterrupted, without feeling too strong a nicotine buzz. But then again, that might be your thing. What I will say is you need to set aside some time where you can sit and relax and just be awed by everything this cigar has to offer you.
I put together this list, but it’s in no way the end-all-be-all. Because the Montecristo No. 2 is such a rich, complex, sweet, spicy, alluring cigar, I didn’t want to overpower it by any beverage; my goal was just to compliment the flavor profile of the smoke, not overpower or alter it.
- Macallan 1824 Select Oak
- Moscow Mule
- Tawny Port
- Dogfish Head Raison D’ Etre
- Cuban Coffee
- Americano (Coffee)
- Sweet Tea
The Montecristo brand is a line of premium cigars that’s produced by the company, Habanos S.A., in Cuba. Montecristos are also produced in the Dominican Republic, but for the sake of this review, I’m focusing just on the Cuban Montecristo’s.
In 1935, Alonso Menendez created a brand of cigars called “Montecristo,” drawing inspiration from Alexander Dumas’s popular novel, The Count of Monte Cristo. Montecristo cigars are world-famous for their high quality, Cuban-grown and produced tobacco, which comes from Havana’s fertile Pinar del Rio region.
It comes as no surprise that the Montecristo No. 2 quickly become the most famous and well-liked cigar made in the Menendez, Garcia, y Cia factory in Havana. This puro has withstood the test of time. It’s the original “torpedo” shaped cigar, so it’s that beautiful, tapered shape that just begs to be held and smoked. Since its creation, the Montecristo No. 2 has remained a giant, with a length of 6 1/4” and a massive, 52 ring gauge girth. Cigar aficionados around the world also appreciate the Montecristo’s richly complex flavor profile and strength.
The Montecristo No. 2 is a cigar for the ages, and one that’s worth smoking at least once in your cigar smoking career!