Origin : Cuba
Format : Grand Panatela
Size : 192 x 15.08 mm (7 1/2 x 38)
Ring : 38
Weight : 10.29 g
Box code : LSO OCT 05
Price : ~$13 each
More info about purchasing Montecristo cigars...
It's not often that I decide to go for a panatela. This time, it wasn't really my decision because I smoked this cigar (more precisely, three cigars) at my friend's house who owns a box dated 2005. Montecristo Especial No. 1 is a grand panatela, over 7 inches long, with a ring gauge of 38. It is not as long as the monster Montecristo A, but still requires well over one hour to finish, depending on your pace.
Although the colorado wrapper has some obvious veins, the overall look of this cigar is very neat. It seems to be rolled by a real professional as it is regularly packed. The triple cap is carefully applied and the pig-tail (which you can't see as the cigar on the picture has already been cut) looks accurate. The pre-light aroma is mostly aged tobacco.
Whereas the construction was largely satisfying on three cigars that I tried, according to my friend and other reviews that can be found online, it is not always the case. Both the burn and the draw seem to be affected and the problem usually concerns the whole box. I would avoid purchasing a box without the possibility of returning it if not satisfied, especially considering the price (over $250).
The flavor is definitely complex. It starts out almost mild, with light leathery notes and a hint of the famous salty twang. Of course, there is also some cedar and black pepper in the first third. The power gradually increases as flavors of nuts and coffee can be distinguished. Subtle earthy flavors are also present. The strength reaches its peak in the beginning of the last third and the cigar deploys aromas of gingerbread/honey cake. This is really as complex as it can get.
Definitely worth the price tag, the Montecristo Especial No. 1 is quite a good deal.
Overall Rating :
This must be one of the best panatelas currently available on the market, along with the Partagas Serie du Connaisseur No. 2, previously reviewed by Karen. If you get a good box, especially aged a few years, this cigar is pure bliss.