28 Jan 2014
This limited edition Cuban Montecristo celebrates the “520th anniversary of the arrival of Cuban tobacco to Europe.” Never mind that Christopher Columbus’ famous journey of 1492 didn’t return to Europe until March 1493. (Perhaps Habanos S.A. means the 520th anniversary of Europeans being introduced to tobacco?)
Not to mention that it didn’t go very well for the pair of Europeans who first ventured inland and saw the natives smoking. Rodrigo de Jerez introduced tobacco to Europe, only to find himself jailed for seven years by the Spanish Inquisition because “only the devil could give a man the power to exhale smoke from his mouth.” His partner Luis de Torres stayed behind when the Santa Maria sank to found a settlement known as La Navidad, which was wiped off the earth by the time Columbus returned later in 1493.
None of which is pertinent information for evaluating this exclusive, expensive, limited edition Habano. The Montecristo 520 comes in a new size known by the factory name as “Maravillas No.3,” which is 6.1 inches long with a ring gauge of 55. Prices vary greatly by country depending on their tobacco taxes, but expect to pay at least $30 for the Montecristo 520.
It’s a sharp-looking cigar: a deep brown wrapper with broad proportions framed by the double band. It reminded me of another Montecristo Limitada, the Montecristo Sublime Edición Limitada 2008, one of my very favorite Cuban cigars.
Once lit, it started with a bit of grassiness that I wouldn’t have expected from the well-aged tobaccos used for Edición Limitada. Fortunately, ten minutes or so in, that faded away and more standard Cuban-esque flavors revealed themselves: roasted notes, coffee, cocoa, and sweet cedar. From there it was a pleasant, if largely uncomplicated, cigar that smoked for almost two full hours. It suffered none of the construction flaws that sometimes ruin Habanos.
The result is a very good cigar, but it’s not the masterpiece that the Montecristo Sublime Edición Limitada 2008 is, as it’s lacking the complexity and finesse that made that cigar such a standout.
And let’s face it, given the steep price, you’re owed more than just a very good, flaw-free Cuban. So even though I had hoped for great, the final product is still quite good, which earns the Montecristo 520 Edición Limitada 2012 a rating of four stogies out of five.
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photo credit: Stogie Guys