Agile Cigar Reviews are cigar assessments where we use a lightweight, shorter format. These will never take the place of our comprehensive reviews. They are only used on blends we have previously assessed. This might be a blend we are re-scoring or giving a score for the first time. It might be a blend we are looking at in a different size. Today we look at the Montecristo Artisan Series Batch 1 that was re-released as a TAA Exclusive. This is a cigar line we assessed back in April 2017 when it was first released.

Montecristo Artiisan Series 2018 TAA Exclusive

 

Wrapper: Ecuadorian Habano
Binder: Dominican
Filler: Dominican, Honduran
Country of Origin: Dominican Republic
Factory: Tabacalera de Garcia
Toro: 6 x 54

In 2016, Altadis USA released an ultra-premium limited edition cigar known as the Montecristo Artisan Series Batch 1. The Artisan series features blends produced by select members of Altadis’ famed Grupo de Maestros all-star cigar production team utilizing some of the best tobaccos Altadis has. Since the release of the Batch 1, there have been two subsequent batches (Batch 2 and Batch 3). With 2018 being the 50th anniversary of the Tobacconist Association of America (TAA), Altadis decided to bring back the Montecristo Artisan Series Batch 1 as a part of the 50th anniversary TAA Exclusive Series. Today we revisit the Montecristo Artisan Series Batch 1 that was re-released for the TAA. This is a cigar that has been aging in the Cigar Coop humidor for approximately 10 months.

The TAA Exclusive Series consists of cigars made by leading manufacturers that are exclusively sold at TAA member retailers. The TAA is a small group of retailers. At press time the number of retailers is approximately 80. The TAA has defined itself as:

The Tobacconists’ Association of America, Ltd. is a trade organization established in 1968 by visionary retail tobacconists. By providing education, communication, research, advocacy, and member discount programs, the TAA works with our members and the industry they support to offer the tools and relationship building opportunities needed to maximize professionalism and success.

Since 2018 was the 50th anniversary of the Tobacconist Association of America, there was a large number of releases as a part of the 2018 TAA Exclusive Series.

TAA Exclusive Series 2019

TAA Exclusive Series 2019

The Montecristo Artisan Series Batch 1 was the first release by Altadis U.S.A for the TAA since 2015’s Por Larrañaga TAA En Cedro. The 2018 re-release of the Montecristo Artisan Series Batch 1 TAA Exclusive features the same blend as the original 2016 release. The cigar utilizes an Ecuadorian Habano wrapper, a Dominican binder and a combination of Dominican and Honduran filler. The Montecristo Artisan Series Batch 1 was re-released in the same 6 x 54 Toro size as the previous release. Appearance wise, the one difference is the re-release has a special secondary band to commemorate 50 years of the TAA.

The Montecristo Artisan Series Batch 1 delivered a flavor profile consisting of cedar, natural tobacco, chocolate, and earth. There was no dominant flavor early on, but an excellent fusion of the notes. As the Montecristo Artisan Series Batch 1 moved through the first third, the chocolate and natural tobacco emerged as the main flavors. During the second third, some black pepper emerged. Together with the cedar, the black pepper increased in intensity. By the last third, there was a bit of a spicy kick.

The flavors delivered by the Montecristo Artisan Series Batch 1 were medium-bodied. This was countered by mild to medium strength early on – which increased to medium strength in the second half.

OVERALL ASSESSMENT

Final Thoughts

My first experience with the Montecristo Artisan Series Batch 1 was solid. With the TAA re-release, the Montecristo Artisan Series Batch 1 went to another level. Whether it was additional factory aging, a different vintage, or the extra time in my personal humidor, I’m not sure. What I can say is the Montecristo Artisan Series Batch 1 re-release  was a better balanced and more flavorful cigar experience. This release fell under the radar with the 2018 TAA Exclusive Series probably because it was a re-release, however, it should not be overlooked. In recent years, many TAA releases have underwhelmed – not so much with the Montecristo Artisan Series Batch 1 re-release. This is a cigar I would recommend to a novice or experienced cigar enthusiast. As for myself, even with the $18.00 price point, it’s one that easily is worthy of a box purchase

Summary

Key Flavors: Natural Tobacco, Cedar, Chocolate, Pepper, Earth
Burn: Excellent
Draw: Excellent
Complexity: Medium Minus
Strength: Mild to Medium (1st Half),  Medium (2nd Half)
Body: Medium
Finish: Very Good

Rating

Value: Box Purchase
Score: 92

References

News: Altadis U.S.A. Brings Back Montecristo Artisan Series Batch 1 for 2018 TAA Exclusive Series
Price: $18.00
Source: Purchased
Brand Reference: Montecristo
TAA Exclusive Series 2018 Reference: 2018 TAA Exclusive Series

Photo Credits: Cigar Coop