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Stogie Reviews: Montecristo No. 2 (Cuban)

4 Jun 2008

This cigar, quite simply, is a Cuban icon. Montecristos account for roughly half of worldwide Habanos SA sales, and the pyramid-shaped No. 2 is among the legendary brand’s best-selling vitolas (the No. 4 currently holds the top spot).

With a reputation for full flavors and a clear draw, this Cuban puro is no stranger to praise. Among its many accolades is an inspiring rating of 94 in the February 2008 issue of Cigar Aficionado. The publication also recently named the Montecristo No. 2 its “Cigar of the Week.”

Unexpectedly, this 6.1 inch by 52 ring gauge stogie doesn’t exactly have the look of one of the world’s elite smokes. It is slightly crooked, moderately lumpy, and on the veiny side. Two water spots—harmless yellow circular imperfections that likely indicate where droplets of rain hit the wrapper leaf during the curing process—slightly blemish the head and foot.

The seams on my three No. 2s also appeared hastily applied. Maybe the torcedores who rolled my sticks were paying more attention to whatever the rolling floor lector was reading them. (The brand gets its name from The Count of Montecristo novel, apparently a popular choice among rollers when Montecristo was established in 1935.)

Fortunately, these aesthetic imperfections have no bearing on taste. An oily, earthy bouquet opens the cigar with well-balanced notes of oak and clove. The smoke is moist, abundant, and cool with little spice and no harshness. The draw is clear, but the ash isn’t as stable as you’d expect.

A buttery almond backdrop joins in after the first inch or so to provide a pleasant creaminess that’s similar to the taste of the Petit Edmundo. This is about when it becomes necessary to periodically correct the burn. The second third is a bit bitter, and the finish is characterized by an increase in spice.

Overall, while I’d prefer a cleaner appearance and more reliable physical properties, this is still a wonderfully enjoyable cigar—even for the price. Boxes of 25 sell for around $270, and three-packs can be had for $31 (I’d recommend the latter option before the former). For complex, delicious flavors, I give the iconic Montecristo No. 2 four and ½ out of five stogies.

[To read more StogieGuys.com cigar reviews, please click here.]

Patrick A

photo credit: Stogie Guys

Drew Estate

22 Responses to “Stogie Reviews: Montecristo No. 2 (Cuban)”

  1. Nunez FL Wednesday, June 4, 2008 at 8:43 am #

    I've always loved this cigar despite its physical imperfections. The flavor's just too good! Thanks for the review.

  2. Cigar Inspector Wednesday, June 4, 2008 at 10:04 am #

    Just smoked one from a box RAO JUN 06. Wonderful construction and flavor. It's a pity that sometimes there are construction issues with this stick..

  3. Kevin D. Korenthal Wednesday, June 4, 2008 at 10:40 am #

    I understand that the quality of rolling has greatly decreased in Cuba in the last 3 decades. Whereas the tobacco is still among the best in the world, all of the great cigar families have moved operations to free nations. This could explain the poor physical quality of an otherwise outstanding puro. By comparison, the Dominican #2 is a cleanly rolled, perfectly geometrical masterpiece.

    I never smoke Cuban cigars while on U.S. soil. Just doing my part to continue pressure on the Cuban government to make concessions to its people and in its ongoing battle with America.

  4. ReggieW Wednesday, June 4, 2008 at 10:58 am #

    Doing your part, Kevin, isn't actually doing anything. It's your choice what to smoke and where (even though it's illegal for Americans to buy Cubans outside of the U.S. as well), but don't kid yourself.

    Castro's regime, while no doubt terrible, is one of the most stable in the world–even after 50 years of embargo. By your logic, I assume you also don't purchase fuel from Saudi Arabia or Venezuela?

  5. Kevin D. Korenthal Wednesday, June 4, 2008 at 11:14 am #

    Stable? Sure. If your idea of stable is abject poverty. The Cuban people live at a standard considered poor even by 2nd world standards. The nation remains stably POOR and its people are unable to obtain even the most basic luxuries (like DVD players and microwaves) though under Raul this appears to be changing. It is pretty sad when the communist country of China is considered more liberal than Cuba but that is a fact jack!

    On can not avoid purchasing fuel from 2 countries that combined account for ore than 55% of the America's gas. One can however choose to smoke Dominican or Nicaraguan puros over those produced under slave labor conditions in Cuba.

  6. Mac and Nudo Wednesday, June 4, 2008 at 12:18 pm #

    I'm sure what ReggieW meant by "stable" is that the regime is in no danger of toppling. Cuba's searing communism has undoubtedly left the country in poverty but, despite the objectives of the hypocritical embargo, the government is still on solid footing. Many economists point out the country would be in better shape (and the government in more danger of being overthrown) without the embargo.

    You cannot deny that the embargo has failed in bringing change to the country (while, on the other hand, liberalized trade has brought reform to China). Its only accomplishment has been further impoverishment the people of Cuba. That's a fact, jack.

  7. Solid Saturday, June 7, 2008 at 1:07 pm #

    I've stopped smoking Montecristo No.2s in favor of the Petit Edmundo. Full of flavor in a reasonable time, plus the price is nice on these sticks!

  8. David Glassman Friday, December 18, 2009 at 11:19 am #

    TO: Kevin D. Korenthal

    So, you will smoke a CUBAN outside the US? The penalty for smoking a Cuban cigar ANYWHERE on the planet by a US citizen is 55,000 USD$ per cigar. Thats right…ANYWHERE on the planet. All we do is hurt the Cuban people with this embargo not Castro.

  9. Kevin D. Korenthal Friday, December 18, 2009 at 1:45 pm #

    I never go out of my way to obtain a cuban cigar and would never knowingly purchase one. That is not to say that I have never smoked them.

    I believe that the continued embargo on Cuba will eventually result in an improvement in that country's horrific human rights record and may even one day prompt the tiny island to join the rest of the developed world in economic and social justice.

    In the meantime, the Castro brothers can suck it!

  10. David Glassman Friday, December 18, 2009 at 2:15 pm #

    LOL..the embargo has only hurt the Cuban people for the past 47 years. I am not Cuban however look at the results. Tell us, what has the embargo accomplished since 1962 ? We see Cuban nationals running from their country, limited trade since they now have limited exports without trade and the people pay the price. Embargo's only work if the intent is to hurt the government. In this case it only hurt the people and not Castro.

    If the embargo was never sanctioned Castro would have lost his power sooner as a better economy in Cuba would have empowered a coup d'état. This embargo helped Castro stay in power as the people have no resources to over throw the government.

    Castro is a putz and so is his moron brother. However, Castro did attend Harvard Univ. and still hates the USA. This is right but he has no right to destory people in the name of his political ideology.

    As for Cuban cigars…I have smoked many and prefer Montecristo #2's and Cohibas. El Ray de Mundos are great too. While I lived in Italy I had no problem purchasing them though its a crime to spoke them anywhere. Its totally insane that the US government can impose an embargo on US citizens outside the border of the country. A US citizen can go to the Netherlands, purchase pot and smoke it legally. If that same person purchased a Cuban cigar they could be fined 55,000 $. Though its very unlikely you would get caught its still technically a crime. is that right?

    The US could if they want to declare war on Castro and hang him and his brother like a pig as they did to Mussolini, why don't they ? Why has the US taken this crap for 47 years ? Think about it..Where is Guantanamo bay ?

  11. Kevin D. Korenthal Friday, December 18, 2009 at 2:26 pm #

    We can go round and round about this all day. This is a matter of ideology. You believe it is the embargo that has hurt the Cuban people whereas I believe it is the policies of this closed-off communist regime. We'd be wise to not reward Cuba for managing (somehow) to stay afloat for 50 years by relinquishing the one ace we have that could one day cause the Cuban people to rise against their totalitarian keepers.

  12. David Glassman Friday, December 18, 2009 at 2:44 pm #

    Look at history. Look at Cuba. Has the Embargo helped the USA in any fashion? The only group of people hurt were the Cuban people and not Castro. This is clear.

    The issue is more than just communism since we have relations with China and other communist countries. The majority of people in Cuba do not like the government and are trapped. The people had 47 years to rise up. Its time to break the embargo as this administration will do and ideally get the Castro's. However, to even suggest the embargo did anything is just ignorance.

    Every time we purchase a box of Cubans we truly help the Cuban people more than we help Castro. So I will buy my Cubans in total defiance to US policy. There are a few sites that permit one to purchase Cubans and I say…LETS DO IT. I have yet to be sited for ordering them.

  13. Kevin D. Korenthal Saturday, December 19, 2009 at 8:39 am #

    I argue that once Conservatives are back in power, a prospect looking increasingly likely these days, the proper message will be sent to Raul and that message will force a change. The people of Cuba are counting on us to keep the pressure on. This is an indisputable fact. Your way rewards for bad behavior. Whether in raising children or fighting thuggery, that option always spells defeat for freedom and the well-being of the citizenry.

  14. David Glassman Saturday, December 19, 2009 at 9:04 am #

    One can make assumptions on how a country will look before its formed. We know that before Castro in the '50's Cuba had a better economy but with Mafia controlling the president. Again…this embargo hurts the people not Castro. If this was not the case why do so many Cubans attempt to escape ?

    The issue is…who does the embargo hurt and the answer is: The People. So, buy Cubans from Spanish and other sites as you will help Cubans and defy a stupid law on the books that can not be enforced. Arnold Swartzenager purchased a Cuban in Canada last year. all knew in a few days and he did not pay a fine. Buy the best…and help the Cuban people. Thats my motto.

  15. Kevin D. Korenthal Saturday, December 19, 2009 at 9:16 am #

    We disagree on the fundamental issue. This is not about how the embargo hurts Cubans, it is about how easily Castro can be free of that which has kept his regime weak, poor and pretty much a non-player in world affairs for the last 50 years. Simply human rights advances. If you think that the tight communist state will allow any benefit from a wholesale end to the embargo without making that a condition therein, you're a crazy socialist denier and simply not worthy of any further debate. We disagree. We have presented our cases and are not going to convince each other. We'll just have to wait for history to give us the answer to which one of us is right.

  16. PtheK Friday, April 2, 2010 at 5:03 am #

    The USA is the only country involved in the embargo. European countries, Canada, Central & South American countries, Australia, and others all trade freely with Cuba. Combined, their trade is much greater than the pre-embargo USA trade. The USA embargo has not hurt anyone – the government has. Trade goods from other countries don't really make it to the Cuban people. Like banana republics, the head monkeys get the bananas. Lifting the embargo would have no effect on the Cuban people.

  17. Peter Brown Friday, December 19, 2014 at 2:04 am #

    This is a cigar you do not want to rush or risk ruining the taste of this fine cigar. I have fully enjoyed the amazing flavors of this cigar.

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