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04-Jun-2008
Montecristo No. 2 (Cuban)

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 ? out of five stogies.


Source: Stogie Guys Online Cigar Magazine