Last November came word of Altadis U.S.A.’s latest collaborative project, the Montecristo Ciudad de Musica. This project is a three-way collaboration among Altadis U.S.A., Crowned Heads Cigars, and Ernesto Perez-Carrillo Jr’s Tabacalera La Alianza factory. The past four years have seen Altadis U.S.A. teaming up with other factories and brands for collaborations, but for Crowned Heads this was the first project of its kind. This project provides an opportunity for the Nashville, Tennessee-based Crowned Heads to lend its name to one of the world’s most iconic brands. The name Ciudad de Musica means “The Music City” and is a name Nashville is known by. Music has been a theme incorporated into many releases by Crowned Heads. Today, we take a closer look at one of the cigars in the line, the Montecristo Ciudad de Musica Robusto.
For many years, the Montecristo brand has been produced at the famed Tabacalera de Garcia factory in La Romana, Dominican Republic, but since then there have been several releases to come out of other factories. The Montecristo Ciudad de Musica marks the first time any Altadis product has come out of Tabacalera La Alianza. The Montecristo releases that have been done outside Tabacalera de Garcia include:
- Espada by Montecristo (Plasencia)
- Espada by Montecristo Estoque (Plasencia)
- Montecristo Crafted by AJ Fernandez Toro (Tabacalera Fernandez)
- Monte by Montecristo AJ Fernandez (Tabacalera Fernandez)
- Montecristo Ciudad de Musica (Tabacalera La Alianza)
- Montecristo Epic Craft Cured (Plasencia)
It is also worth noting there have been several other Altadis brands that have come from other factories including Romeo y Julieta (Tabacalera Fernandez and Plasencia), H. Upmann (Tabacalera Fernandez), Trinidad (Tabacalera Palma), and Gispert (Tabacalera Fernandez).
Altadis has also been working with several other brands on collaborations. These brands include:
- Romeo by Romeo y Julieta Aging Room Small Batch F25 (with Boutique Blends in conjunction with Tabacalera Palma)
- Henry Clay Tattoo by Altadis U.S.A. (with Tatuaje; done at Tabacalera de Garcia)
- Montecristo Ciudad de Musica (with Crowned Heads in conjunction with Tabacalera La Alianza)
The choice of Tabacalera La Alianza for the Montecristo Ciudad de Musica was not a surprising one. Crowned Heads selected Tabacalera La Alianza to make its first brand, Four Kicks. Since then, the factory has served as the exclusive home for all of Crowned Heads Dominican-made cigars. (My Father Cigars serves as the exclusive home for its Nicaraguan-made cigars).
While Crowned Heads has put its name on the cigar, it is currently sold and distributed by Altadis. Currently, the Montecristo Ciudad de Musica is a limited production cigar. The first batch went to members of the Tobacconist Association of America (TAA). The subsequent allocation was then extended to Casa de Montecristo retailers.
Without further ado, let’s break down the Montecristo Ciudad de Musica and see what this cigar brings to the table.
The Montecristo Ciudad de Musica utilizes an Ecuadorian Habano wrapper over a base of Nicaraguan and Dominican tobaccos.
Wrapper: Ecuadorian Habano
Filler: Nicaraguan, Dominican
Country of Origin: Dominican Republic (Tabacalera La Alianza)
The Montecristo Ciudad de Musica is available in four sizes. Each is presented in 20-count boxes. Production was limited to 25,000 cigars per size (100,000 cigars)
Corona Gorda: 5 5/8 x 46
Robusto: 5 x 50
Sublime: 6 x 54
Piramide: 6 1/8 x 52
The Ecuadorian Habano wrapper of the Montecristo Ciudad de Musica Robusto has a roasted coffee bean color. There was some mottling on the surface of the wrapper. In addition, there was some oil on the surface of the wrapper. This was quite a smooth wrapper with any visible veins on the thin side. Most of the wrapper seams that were visible were minimal.
The band to the Montecristo Ciudad de Musica is black with copper font. It is a large band that covers nearly 2/3 of the length of the Robusto vitola. The center of the band has three circular logos. The top logo is the Montecristo Fleur-de-lis logo. The second logo represents Crowned Heads – it has the initials “CH” in the center with the text “CROWNED HEADS” at the top and the company’s slogan “CYOP” at the bottom. The third logo has an image of a bird with the text “CIUDAD DE MUSICA” above it and the initials “CDM” below it. The left and right side of the band have the text “CIUDAD DE MUSICA” in large font arranged in landscape mode. The remainder of the band contains copper colored adornments.
One interesting note is that I found under the band there was a layer of wax paper used to buffer the band and the surface of the cigar.
Preparation for the Cigar Experience
Prior to lighting up the Montecristo Ciudad de Musica Robusto, I used a straight cut to remove the cap. Once the cap was removed, I moved on to the pre-light draw. The dry draw delivered a mix of natural tobacco, leather, and cedar. I found the pre-light draw of this cigar to be satisfactory. It was time to now light up the Montecristo Ciudad de Musica Robusto. Note: I opted to leave the large band on the cigar through the early phases, but some may choose to remove it early because of the sheer size of it.
The start to the Montecristo Ciudad de Musica Robusto delivered a mix of natural tobacco, black pepper, cedar, and a tangy-citrus note. The natural tobacco moved into the forefront early. This wasn’t an overly sweet natural tobacco – in fact, there was a slight bitter component; however it had a savoriness and richness to it – and together with the other flavors, I found it worked well. Meanwhile, the cedar, black pepper, and tangy-citrus settled in the background. There was also an additional layer of black pepper on the retro-hale.
As the cigar moved through the first third, I found the tangy notes to vary in intensity. Once the Montecristo Ciudad de Musica entered the second third, the coffee bean notes increased and made their way into the forefront with the natural tobacco. For most of the duration of the second third, while both the coffee bean and natural tobacco were primary, the coffee bean notes had the edge. The cedar notes present early on dissipated. There still were background notes of black pepper and tangy-citrus. Like in the early stages, the tangy-citrus varied in intensity.
As the Montecristo Ciudad de Musica Robusto moved through the last third, the natural tobacco notes once again took control as the primary note. The coffee bean notes returned to the background. There was a slight increase in the black pepper and the tangy-citrus was still present. This is the way the Montecristo Ciudad de Musica came to a close. The resulting nub was firm to the touch and cool in temperature.
Burn and Draw
As I mentioned above, I opted to leave the band on. In truth, I would have pulled it off if it wasn’t for photo purposes. This is noted here because the burn will reach the band rather quickly. The burn line and burn path remained relatively straight and were low maintenance from start to finish. The resulting ash was tight and firm with a light charcoal gray color. The burn rate and burn temperature were both ideal.
The draw to the Montecristo Ciudad de Musica Robusto also scores nicely. This cigar had a pleasant touch of resistance to it.
Strength and Body
When it comes to strength and body, I found the Montecristo Ciudad de Musica Robusto to be a solid medium. Along the way, the body slightly increased, but the strength pretty much remained constant. While there was a little more body at the end of the smoke, I still found this cigar to still be in the medium-bodied range.
In terms of strength versus body with the Ciudad de Musica Robusto, I gave a slight edge to the body.
While I’m not sure exactly how this blend fits into the Montecristo profile, I can say this is an excellent blend – and one of the better non-Cuban Montecristo branded releases in some time. I found a very nice synergy with the flavors delivered. The overall profile had a nice balance of spiciness and sweetness throughout the smoking experience. While I made a couple of comments about the band being big, I still really like the design on it. This is a cigar that I would recommend to a novice or experienced cigar enthusiast. As for myself, I really enjoyed this cigar in this particular size. This is not only a cigar I would smoke again, but it’s one I would purchase a box of.
Key Flavors: Natural Tobacco, Coffee Bean. Tangy-Citrus, Black Pepper, Cedar
Complexity: Medium Plus
Finish: Very Good
Value: Box Purchase
News: Altadis U.S.A. and Crowned Heads Team Up for Montecristo Ciudad de Musica
Source: Crowned Heads
Brand Reference: Montecristo, Crowned Heads
Photo Credits: Cigar Coop, except where noted