Team Cigar Review: Monte by Montecristo AJ Fernandez Toro

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Cigar Details: Monte by Montecristo AJ Fernandez Toro

  • Vitola: Toro
  • Length: 6″
  • Ring Gauge: 55
  • Country of Origin: Nicaragua
  • Wrapper: Ecuadorian Habano
  • Binder: Nicaraguan Corojo ’98
  • Filler: Nicaraguan Criollo ’98 and Dominican Piloto Cubano
  • Factory: Tabacalera Fernandez
  • Blender: AJ Fernandez
  • Price: $11.00
  • Release Date: July 2017
  • Source: Altadis USA

Aaron-Loomis

 Aaron Loomis

Jiunn-Liu

 Jiunn Liu

Pre-light Experience

The wrapper is medium brown and there are a few veins visible, but they are very well pressed. The seams are slightly visible and very smooth while the head is finished off with a well applied double cap. The cigar has a rectangle press to it. There are two bands, the first being the standard style Montecristo band but in a black and gold configuration with some red lettering, also with the addition of AJ Fernandez’s name on the front and sides. The secondary band is about two inches long and right around the middle of the cigar. It carries the line name designation and same color combination as the primary band. The aroma from the wrapper is a mix of barnyard and leather while the foot brings a very sharp white pepper and sweet hay mixture. The pre-light draw brings a soft and smooth leather along with a slight raisin sweetness. There is also a decent spicy tingle on my lips.

Pre-light Experience

The Monte by Montecristo AJ Fernandez Toro has an attractive slick and oily medium brown wrapper. Veins are well pressed and seams so tight that it’s nearly invisible. The box press is bunched and rolled very well with no hard or soft spots. The head is finished off with a thick double cap. Nosing the wrapper gives fresh barnyard and subtle white pepper. Smelling the foot tells white pepper, spicy cedar and rich nuttiness. Cold draw reveals a mixture of spicy cedar and white pepper.

First Third

Initial draws bring a very heavy and slightly creamy black pepper note. The same profile is realized through the retrohale. At a half inch in, the pepper begins to settle down as some wood emerges in the background while some cream is still present. At an inch in, the pepper has settled way down and the wood is now up front with a bit of mustiness and the slightly creamy pepper is in the background. The retrohale still carries a nice dose of pepper which provides a satisfying zing. As the third comes to a close, the mustiness is quite prominent with the wood with the creamy pepper still in the background. The strength in this third was slightly above medium.

First Third

First third’s mouth draw flavors creates a very distinct spicy cedar and naturally sweetened creamed mixed nuts. The retrohale gives robust spicy cedar and sharp black pepper. The finish is long and lingering with stale cardboard, cedar and minerals. Body is medium and strength near medium-full.

Second Third

As the second third begins, the mustiness recedes a bit letting the wood, now more defined as oak, shine through. There is still a bit of creamy pepper left in the background. At three quarters of an inch in, the mustiness is gone and the oak is up front with a little pepper in the background. The retrohale is carrying the same profile. As the third comes to a close, some mustiness comes back to the oak and the pepper is very light on the finish. The strength in this third was slightly above medium.

Second Third

Second third becomes mineral forward with the spicy cedar and mildly sweetened creamed nuts as secondary notes. The retrohale is still rich and robust with spicy cedar and sharp black pepper. The finish continues to be long and lingering with stale cardboard, minerals and cedar. Body maintains medium while strength moves to a spot on medium-full.

Final Third

As the final third begins, the oak gains a slight mesquite note to it and the pepper has completely gone away. At a half inch in, the cigar begins to heat up and with it comes some bitterness. With the bitterness the cigar presented, even trying a purge, it was a rare time a cigar was giving me tongue bite. I tried a few purges but got the same result and put the cigar down. The strength in this third was medium-full.

Final Third

Last third is primarily dry dirt and mineral focused with the spicy cedar being fairly faint and the mildly sweetened creamed nuts fairly non-existent. The retrohale is still intact with rich spicy cedar and sharp black pepper. The finish is still lathers the palate with stale cardboard, minerals and cedar. Body and strength is still medium and medium-full, respectively.

Burn

The burn line was wavy from the start and got far enough off in the second third that a touch up was required. The ash held on in close to two inch increments.

Burn

Aside from a minor touch-up within the first third, the cigar burned flawlessly, which is what I come to expect from AJ’s offerings. Ashes were solid with 1.5 inch increments. Cigar burned slow and cool the entire smoking time.

Draw

The draw was a bit more snug than I prefer, but I didn’t feel as though it effected the smoking experience.

Overall

Another cigar that AJ Fernandez did for someone else and another cigar that was passable. It’s unfortunate as he can put out some good cigars, but the ones he’s putting out for others are largely misses for me. A big blast of pepper up front was followed up by a typical wood and pepper centric profile. The way the cigar ended literally left a bad taste in my mouth. If you’re an AJ fan, I would say it’s worth a try to see if it fits your profile, but I’m going to hope that some of his newer blends that he’s putting out under his brand will fare better.

Aaron
Jiunn
Very Good Pre
Light
Very Good
Good First
Third
Good
Average Second Third Good
Poor Final
Third
Average
Good Burn Very Good
Very Good Draw Very Good
Average Overall Good

Draw

Very good draw that was on the tighter side of the spectrum. Draw never caused me to lose focus on the flavors.

Overall

Like I’ve said before, if you like Starbucks, you will no doubt like this cigar. Meaning, if you enjoy spot on consistency in construction (who doesn’t), flavor profile that’s full of mineral earthiness and spice, you should definitely purchase this cigar. Like many of AJ’s offerings, I found the cigar profile to be good and construction to be top notch. I can say with confidence, Altadis USA made the right decision in partnering with AJ to create this traditional and beloved marca.

Aaron Loomis

SCORE

5.05

Cost/Point

$2.18

Scoring System

Jiunn Liu

SCORE

6.57

Cost/Point

$1.68

Scoring System

Team Cigar Review: Monte by Montecristo AJ Fernandez Toro
Jiunn LiuTeam Cigar Review: Monte by Montecristo AJ Fernandez Toro

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