Posted by Jack | in Montecristo Epic | on 04 Oct 2012 | at 5:04 PM | 1723 views
Way back in 1999 when I started smoking cigars, I recall seriously overpaying for a standard Montecristo to the tune of $22.  What did I know?  I had heard of the Montecristo brand and thought the price seemed excessive but normal for the best known brand outside of maybe Cohiba.  Needless to say, I stayed clear of them for a while and since then have only tried the Platinum and the White label.  I did enjoy both of those but not enough to rave about them.  After this past tobacco trade show, one of my favorite local shops, The Market, started showcasing some of the new offerings.  My latest trip there had me staring at a rather ostentatious display that included a three tier free standing rack flaunting all three of the Montecristo Epic sizes.  I was already carrying a fistful of my favorite cigars so upon seeing the rather exorbitant price tags, I paced the humidor mulling things over.  Obviously, I bought one.  How was it?  Let's see.....
I am trying a live smoke here. Usually my review take place after the cigar is finished with notes taken during the smoke - both mental and written.  So, please bear with me here.
Construction: Absolutely flawless as you can expect with a top-shelf Montecristo.  It is clear that Altadis is using their best torcedores with this line.  Only one vein that I can spot.  Heavy in the hand.  Nice firm triple cap.  I feel giddy at what lays in store.
Pre-light Aroma and Draw: There is no complexity to the unlit aroma.  Only fine sweet tobacco here.  I inspected the foot before clipping and ....yep, perfect draw!
Light and Burn: Ok, so....I live in Xenia, Ohio....which is an indian word for " big wind" .  That means lighting a cigar with matches as is my want typically is hit or miss....most often miss.  It's a blustery Fall day with a nice 75 degree temperature and plenty of sun.....and wind.  So I had to resort to the torch lighter which scorched the wrapper in a couple of spots around the foot.  The burn is excellent with only a few wonky lines mainly attributed to the breeze. There is a nice flaky dark gray ash persistent that falls off quickly after the first inch.  Watch your clothes!
Tasting:  Like most of the Altadis cigars, the start of this cigar was really harsh....and then it blossoms into something special. Into the first third of the cigar, I am picking up some heavy notes of unsweetened cocoa, burnt sugar, earth, and leather. ****  Into the second third now and there is a creamy tobacco note that is coating my palette.  This is by far the strongest Monecristo I have ever smoked....Just hit some of that ammonia flavor which means I am blasting through it too fast...need to let it rest a bit.  Alright, that's better....Back at it and I am getting a nice toasty pretzel flavor.  Still creamy and smooth. ****  It's softening up as I approach the final third.  Picking up more of that creamy leathery flavor.  Truly exceptional.  Part of me wants to pour a dram of my Laphroaig quarter cask Scotch and enjoy the weather in style....but that would mean setting the Epic down, so maybe next time.
Value: Buying this cigar was akin to a major purchase.  I even put a Tatuaje and Illusione back so I could justify paying the $13 price tag....way over the daily smoke barrier.  Worth it?  I would say so.
Final Thoughts: I am impressed....way more than I thought I would be.  I typically don't smoke Altadis cigars anymore - feeling them to be overly mass-produced in quality.  The Epic is truly an exceptional cigar and I would certainly watch for a 90+ rating in Cigar Aficionado sometime soon.
Wrapper: Ecuadorian Santi Espiritu Habano
Binder: Jalapa Nicaraguan
Filler: Esteli Nicaraguan and La Canela Dominican Piloto Ligero
Size: 5 x 52
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The cream filling?
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