Origin : Cuba
Format : Maravillas No. 1 (Double Robusto)
Size : 7-1/8" (182 mm) x 55
500 “books” of 20 produced in 2005
Box Date : FIM – September 2005; Box #150 of 500
Price : Market Value roughly $1,600/book or $80/cigar
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The Montecristo Colección Habanos 2005 commemorated the 70th anniversary of the brand. It is the fifth “volume” of the Habanos Collection Series which began in 2001. The Colección releases are notable for both quality and the unique presentation (see photographs).
I meant to smoke and review this in the summer, but just never got to it. I purchased this “book” at initial release and have smoked a few. I recall enjoying these, but not being blown away. Now that we are into its 9th year, I thought it was a good time to see how they are developing. Reviewing this on a cold, rainy night while sitting next to an aromatic fire, paired with a very dry, gin martini (my preferred libation with Montecristos and Cohibas).
Natural (between Claro and Colorado Claro), very flat sheen, no perceptible flaws. While I’ve smoked many Maravillas vitolas, this still feels surprisingly huge. At a 55 ring, it is at the extreme edge of what I am comfortable with.
Pre-cut, it looks and feels perfect. I’d prefer a slightly firmer draw, but I think most people would find it excellent. Consistent throughout. Average amount of smoke initially, growing in volume in the second half. Burn was superior, and never required any form of touch-up. White ash on the wrapper, dark ash on the filler. Ash was loose, but not flakey, and came off every inch or so. The only negative is that, given its size, I’d have expected any Maravillas to last significantly over two hours, but it only made it to an hour and forty-five minutes.
Pre-light aroma is nearly nonexistent. The cigar opens very mild, with a blend of light cedar, hay and leather as the initial flavors. A touch of café a lait. If I didn’t know better, I would have thought it a well aged, lesser Cohiba with muted flavors. Wonderful, but too mild.
If I could condense the taste and double its strength it would be an incredible cigar, but I’m having to work too hard to discern the flavor components. Expelling it through the nose reflects more of the same; very smooth, but no spice. An inch or so in, I get a bit of tea as well. This cigar has a relatively short finish. Towards mid-smoke, the flavors have strengthened quite a bit (whew!). Same flavors, hay and tea becoming more dominant, perhaps a hint of black pepper. Typically, I equate tea with tannins which indicate aging potential, and so despite the mild first half, I think a few more years will improve this cigar, but it will never be a flavor bomb.
Towards the last third, there is no question of this cigar’s Montecristo roots; it is quite similar in profile to a late-90s Monte #2.
Overall Rating : (3.75)
Milder than I expected or remembered, the Montecristo Colección Habanos 2005 had the characteristics of a 20+ year old cigar in the first half. Then it developed a stronger profile of a classic medium Montecristo with further development potential. Very nice, just not enough to justify the market value. For a collectors’ cigar, it is a 3 of 5; compared with regular production Montecristos of a corresponding age, it scores 4.5 of 5. Side note: for a mild/medium cigar, it packed a nicotine punch that really surprised me about an hour after I finished!