2019 was a big year for Altadis USA. The company had two brands celebrating major milestones as H. Upmann was celebrating its 175th Anniversary, and Trinidad was celebrating its 50th anniversary. Both milestones saw signature releases with the H. Upmann 175th Anniversary and the Trinidad Espiritu Series No. 1. There was another milestone Altadis USA was celebrating and that is the one of its factory, Tabacalera de Garcia located in La Romana in the Dominican Republic. Tabacalera de Garcia is one of the largest premium cigar operations in the world. To mark the milestone, Altadis turned to its most premium brand, Montecristo, and came out with a special limited release to mark the occasion, the Montecristo Cincuenta. Today, we take a closer look at the Montecristo Cincuenta in the Toro size.
Altadis asked Elle Bleu to create a commemorative 100-count humidor. According to Altadis, the humidor is made using a method called marquetry, placing individual and shaped pieces of wood together. A total of 75 humidors were produced – each containing 100 Montecristo Cincuenta cigars in Altadis’ signature No. 2 figurado size. Lucrecia Valdez, known as the “Queen of Tabacalera de Garcia”, participated in making the Cincuenta No. 2 cigars. Valdez has 40 years experience in the factory and now serves as the master roller supervisor for each employee on the Tabacalera de Garcia floor. The humidor is one of the most premium items made by Altadis USA, with the 100-cigar package selling for $10,000.00.
Altadis took another strategy to bring the Montecristo Cincuenta to a more widespread audience. A Toro size of the Montecristo Cincuenta was also made available. This was made available in 8,000 10-count boxes. While it was priced a little more affordable than the humidor investment, the Toro still carried a price-tag of $350.00 per box or $35.00 per cigar.
Without further ado, let’s take a closer look at the Montecristo Cincuenta Toro.
Blend and Origin
The blend for the Montecristo Cincuenta is a multi-national one highlighted by an Ecuadorian Sumatra wrapper over Dominican binders and fillers. It’s not the first Sumatra wrapper release for Montecristo. The cigar is produced at Tabacalera de Garcia, which has been a home for many Montecristo branded releases over the years.
Wrapper: Ecuadorian Sumatra
Country of Origin: Dominican Republic
Factory: Tabacalera de Garcia
As discussed above, the Montecristo Cincuenta is available in two sizes.
Toro: 6 x 50 (Ten-Count boxes)
No. 2: 6 1/4 x 54 (100-Count Humidor)
The Ecuadorian Sumatra wrapper of the Montecristo Cincuenta Toro had a medium to brown shade of brown mixed with a dark cinnamon hue to it. There was a light sheen of oil on the surface of the wrapper. Any visible veins and visible wrapper seams were minimal.
There are two bands on the Montecristo Cincuenta. The primary band is an offshoot of the traditional Montecristo and. The band has a gold foil background with gold and red fonts. At the center of the upper portion is a red field with gold trim. On that circular field is a gold fleur-de-lis logo symbolic of Montecristo. Surrounding that circle is a gold ring. On the top of the ring is the text “MONTECRISTO” in red font. The lower part of the ring is the text “NICARAGUAN SERIES” while the lower portion has the Montecristo initials. The lower part of the primary band is also gold and has a pseudo-secondary feel to it. This has the text “CINCUENTA” in red font. The remainder of the band has gold embellishments. There is also red trim around the upper portion of the band.
The secondary band of the Montecristo Cincuenta is primarily red with gold trim. On the center of the band is the text “50 Años” in white cursive font. To the left of that text is the text “TABACALERA” and to the right is the text “DE GARCIA” – both in white font. The lower center of the band has the text “Dominican Republic” in small gold font. The far right is a fleur-de-lis logo on a small red circular field with gold trim. There is a repeated pattern of small diamond designs in different shades of red with gold centers.
A straight cut was used to commence the smoking experience of the Montecristo Cincuenta Toro. Once the cap was removed, it was on to the pre-light draw ritual. The dry draw delivered a straight-forward profile of sweet natural tobacco, earth, and leather. Overall this was a satisfactory pre-light draw experience. The next step was to light up the Montecristo Cincuenta Toro and see what the smoking phase would have in store.
The Montecristo Cincuenta Toro started out with notes of natural tobacco, hay, red pepper, and earth. Soon notes of cedar also entered the equation. There was no dominant flavor early on, but toward the middle of the first third, the natural tobacco emerged as the primary note. Meanwhile the hay, red pepper, earth, and cedar notes remained in the background and were joined by some citrus. An additional layer of cedar and red pepper was present on he retro-hale.
The second third saw an increase in the cedar as it joined the natural tobacco in the forefront. Meanwhile the hay, red pepper, citrus, and earth remained in the background. After the midway point, there was an increase in the red pepper notes.
As the Montecristo Cincuenta Toro entered the final third, the pepper notes joined the natural tobacco and cedar notes in the forefront. In the background there were still notes of citrus and hay present. This is the way the Montecristo Cinceunta smoked until the final puff. The resulting nub was slightly soft to the touch and cool in temperature.
The Montecristo Cincuenta Toro had a slightly jagged burn line at times. There also was a slight meandering of the burn path. For the most part, both of these issues were easily resolved with touch-ups. At the same time, I found there were frequent “quick” touch-ups that were needed. The resulting ash was silver-gray with some dark streaks. This was an ash that was skewed slightly to the firmer side. Meanwhile the burn rate and burn temperature were both ideal.
The draw to the Montecristo Cincuenta Toro performed well. It had a slight tug of resistance – which is something that I normally like on a cigar. This was a low maintenance cigar to derive flavor from.
Strength and Body
The Montecristo Cincuenta Toro delivered a medium strength, medium-bodied smoking experience from start to finish. Along the way there wasn’t much variance in the intensity levels of either attribute. In terms of strength versus body, both attributes balanced each other nicely with neither overshadowing the other.
Overall the Montecristo Cincuenta Toro is a cigar that I would describe as delivering excellent flavor and just enough in the way of complexity to keep me interested. It’s a cigar that has no problem achieving the Cigar Coop threshold for “standard of excellence” with a 90 point score. At $35.00, it certainly is not an inexpensive cigar, but one that I feel can compete with many of the ultra-premium cigars in that price range. If this were at $12.00 cigar, I’d have no problem of recommending a box purchase, but at $35.00, I couldn’t quite make that recommendation. At the same time, I’d still recommend this for purchase for any cigar enthusiast. As for myself, it’s a cigar that I would buy and smoke again – for a special occasion.
Key Flavors: Natural Tobacco, Cedar, Red Pepper, Citrus, Hay, Earth
Burn: Very Good
Finish: Very Good
Value: Buy One
Photo Credits: Cigar Coop