How do you tweak perfection?
This had to be the lingering question as Montecristo, and AJ Fernandez contemplated the production of the newest Montecristo line, the Montecristo Nicaragua.
Dubbed the brainchild of Abdel Fernandez and Rafael Nodal, the Montecristo Nicaragua is the newest addition to the Montecristo “Core Line” after the White, Classic, Original, and Platinum series’.
About Montecristo Nicaragua
Cigar connoisseurs know that Montecristo cigars need no introduction. Since the release of the first Montecristo in 1930, these cigars have remained top-notch premium smokes for seasoned cigar aficionados. On the other hand, AJ Fernandez is the premier cigar maker of our time. Combine the two powerhouses, and the resulting product is a tantalizing cigar bursting with exquisite depth, a complex profile, and phenomenal flavors transitions.
Released just a couple of months ago at the 2018 IPCPR trade show in Las Vegas, the Montecristo Nicaragua is already a top-shelf smoke garnering a 93 percent score from CigarAficionado. This baby is a Nicaraguan Puro made from carefully hand-selected Nicaraguan tobaccos. The Montecristo Nicaragua, however, is not the first Nicaraguan Puro by Montecristo. In 2014, Altadis in conjuction with the Plasencia Family, produced the Montecristo Espada.
The Wrapper, Strength, and Fillers
Since this bad boy is a Nicaraguan Puro, the wrapper is none other than a Nicaraguan Habano and for good reason. Astute cigar smokers agree that nothing caps a strong medium-to-full strength cigar better than a dark, aromatic, and spicy wrapper. The Nicaraguan Habano wrapper comes in handy complimenting the dense, oaky, leathery flavors of the Nicaraguan blend fillers while adding extra tobacco kick to the overall smoking experience.
The Montecristo Nicaragua features lots of cedar, wood, vanilla, and peppery nutmeg spice with tons of milk chocolate. These flavors speak to the quality and blend of the fillers in play. Nicaragua is revered for its Viso, Seco, and Ligero tobaccos. Pepper in some expert blending and you got yourself a winner.
But maybe cigar newbies should pass on this stogie. The Montecristo Nicaragua comes very close to a full strength cigar. It is robust with dark, hefty flavors and a formidable nicotine rush. Cigar connoisseurs will be right at home with this stogie and may even enjoy it enough to add it to their regular rotation; I know I did.
Be ready to choose a favorite vitola from the Robusto, Toro, No. 2, and the Churchill.
Why is the Montecristo Nicaragua a different smoke than the regular Montecristos?
The Montecristo Nicaragua is the first Montecristo from the “Core Line” to be produced by a third party. All the other Montecristo cigars in the “Core Line” namely; the Montecristo White, Montecristo Classic, Montecristo Original, and Montecristo Platinum are produced in-house.
Also, this stogie is the only Nicaraguan Puro in the “Core Line.” However, it is not the only Nicaraguan Puro in the Montecristo brand. The Espada, released in 2014, is also made purely with Nicaraguan tobaccos. Altadis went third party with the Espada as well employing the expertise of the Plasencia Family.
The Montecristo Nicaragua does not get many firsts. It is not the first Montecristo to be produced by AJ Fernandez. The Monte by Montecristo AJ Fernandez, released in July 2017, is also a joint venture between Altadis and AJ Fernandez.
I would, however, comfortably rank the Montecristo Nicaragua above the Espada and Monte by Montecristo AJ Fernandez. It is stronger, darker, more delicious, and it maintains a stream of flavor transitions that ensure there’s never a dull moment.
Who made this cigar and why?
As earlier mentioned, the Montecristo Nicaragua was conceived by Abdel Fernandez and Rafael Nodal. Abdel Fernandez is a 3rd generation cigar genius and the brains behind the current success of AJ Fernandez Cigars while Rafael Nodal is the Head of Product Capability for Tabacalera USA. The Montecristo Nicaragua is hand-rolled at Tabacalera AJ Fernandez Cigars de Nicaragua S.A. in Esteli.
Altadis has been on an aggressive revamping mission to reawaken age-old brands. In this campaign, brands such as Montecristo, that have enjoyed decades of success, got new revolutionary tweaks to appeal to both the vintage and new customers. The Montecristo Nicaragua is the first of these revolutionary cigars to join the Montecristo “Core Line” cigars.
The Montecristo Nicaragua is a little expensive; is it worth it?
What is the monetary equivalent of a decadent smoking experience? You may be surprised to realize that for such a flooded market, finding a true premium smoke is not easy. Sure, long filler, hand-rolled cigars are a dime a dozen, but a legit top-notch stogie is hard to come by.
The Montecristo Nicaragua is a bona fide flavor bomb with a plethora of transitions and implicit complexity in perfectly balanced luxurious tasting tobacco. In this stogie, you can taste the quality, care, and expertise that went into creating such an exquisite smoke.
While some may find the $11 to $13 price a bit steep, in my opinion, the Montecristo Nicaragua is worth every dollar. Cigar enthusiasts who have enjoyed the Montecristo brand of cigars for nearly a century would not bat an eyelid when paying $12 for a Montecristo. Besides, the Montecristo Nicaragua is on the same price line as the equally famous Montecristo White and more or less the same as the other Montecristo cigars in the “Core Line”. What this implies is that the Montecristo Nicaragua is not exorbitantly priced.
Is the Montecristo Nicaragua an everyday smoke or a special occasion smoke?
The overall smoking experience delivered by the Montecristo Nicaragua is absolutely divine. But as much as I would love to declare the Montecristo Nicaragua an everyday smoke, realistically, it isn't.
An everyday smoke needs to be more affordable and, dare I say, less exquisite. You need to be able to put it down in case of an emergency without feeling like you wasted a premium stogie.
The Montecristo Nicaragua deserves a special occasion just to appreciate the complexity and depth that went into making it.
My Montecristo Nicaragua is a treat. It calls for an exclusive sit-down with my friends alongside a glass of the finest so we can pay tribute to a sublime cigar worthy of the time that goes into enjoying it.