The wrapper is a light brown with a couple of medium sized veins that run down the length of the cigar. The seams are smooth but visible and the head is finished off with a well applied triple cap. The cigar has two bands, the primary band is the standard Montecristo band and the second band is the standard Edicion Limitada band signifying the year of this release. Something that stands out about this cigar is the large ring gauge, especially being a Cuban and even more because of the release being in 2012. The aroma from the wrapper is of the faintest wood. The foot aroma is a little fuller and is more defined as cedar. The pre-light draw brings a mix of leather and aged cedar.
The cigar is rolled very well. It has a nice triple cap and few veins are present throughout the wrapper. There are some medium sized ones here and there, with some impacting the actual texture of the wrapper but nothing crazy. The wrapper has a light coloring to it, somewhere between Natural and Colorado and it is fine in texture. There is a slight bit of fine grit present, but overall smooth. The foot of the cigar is giving off an aroma of hay, earth, stone fruit and spice while the wrapper is showing some smokey leather and earthy qualities also. The cigar is firm from foot to cap and it has a nice cold draw which is slightly firm.
The Montecristo 520 Edición Limitada 2012 has an attractive, spot on Colorado red shade wrapper. A nice deviation from the dark, maduro limited edition wrappers. Veins are well pressed and seams are loose and visible. The cigar feels fairly light in weight, but bunch and roll feels well executed with a uniformed give and no soft spots. The head is finished off with a well applied triple cap. Nosing the wrapper tells faint notes of cedar and white pepper mixed with floral notes. Nosing the foot tells dry nuts, meatiness, white pepper and a natural tobacco sweetness. Cold draw reveals dry cardboard and white pepper on the lips.
Initial draws bring a slightly spicy and slightly charred cedar. At a quarter inch in, the char goes away and some saltiness becomes present with the slightly spicy cedar. The retrohale is cedar without the slight spice. At three quarters of an inch, the spice goes away leaving the cedar and slight saltiness which together is just a bit drying on my palate. At an inch and a quarter, the retrohale gains a nice toasty note to go along with the cedar. As the third comes to an end, some char pops in from time to time, but the cedar and salt are the mainstays. The strength in this third was slightly below medium.
The first third opens up by delivering some classic flavors of the brand. I am picking up some cedar notes that have a touch of saltwater to them and with that is a smoky character. There are some earthy notes present as well and it has a finish that is showing some chai spice with cream and mocha notes. You can tell there is age on the cigar and it is in its prime. The construction is not bad, though not great and I am getting a slightly uneven burn line with a charcoal colored ash on the end. In terms of flavors, body and strength, I would classify the cigar as being at the medium level in all areas.
Initial flavors bring forth a balanced mixture of mixed nuts, cedar and medium light bodied sweetened milk cream. Quarter inch in, spice is detected in the form of white pepper, especially on the tip of the tongue. The retrohale consists of sharp white pepper, dry minerality and mixed nuts. The finish is rather mundane with a lingering dry wood. Body and strength is at the medium levels.
As the third begins, the cedar and saltiness are creating a very nice mix. At a quarter inch in, the cedar moves up front and a slight char returns while the salt is still present in the background. At an inch in, the char makes its way to the retrohale to mix with the cedar. At an inch and a quarter, the cedar transitions to oak and loses the char and there is still a bit of salt in the background. As the third comes to a close, along with the salt that has been present, some minerality joins in to backup the oak note. The strength in this third was right at medium.
When I get into the second third of the cigar I find the flavor profile remains somewhat in line with the first third. There is a soft smokiness present and it matches up with the salt and cedar notes well. There are touches of earth here and there and with that is some chai spice notes. The creamy aspects have faded, mocha notes as well and it is a solid second third. I would classify the strength, body and flavors as still being medium and the construction has improved showing an even burn line with a firm charcoal ash on the end. The draw is still slightly firm and it is to my liking.
The second third is slightly cedar centric, but all the other flavors from the first third remain intact. Flavors of mixed nuts, medium light bodied sweetened milk cream and white pepper. The retrohale continues to deliver a mixture of sharp white pepper, dry minerality and mixed nuts. The finish is more interesting with the pre-existing dry wood, and now picks up a dry minerality. Strength and body is unchanged at medium.
As the final third begins, the minerality goes away and a slightly charred and dry oak remains. At a half inch in, the char reduces while the oak is up front. The retrohale is just oak. At an inch in, the oak isn’t as dry but remains the primary flavor note. As the cigar comes to an end, it is primarily oak with a slight char in the background. The strength in this third was right at medium.
The final third really is a continuation of the second third in many ways. It delivers a flavor profile that is showing touches of cedar and chai spice, and it has a bit of smokiness and earth present as well. There is not as much saltiness present as there was throughout, and I found that it faded the same way the cream and mocha notes did. It was still a solid cigar though, well aged and it was balanced to the end. I would classify the cigar as being medium in strength, body and flavors to the end, same as it was in the first and second third and the construction was great as well. The charcoal ash held on the end firmly to the even burn line and the final draw was cool as well.
The first inch or so of the last third is the same as the second third. Past that mark, the profile becomes heavily sharp cedar and intense white pepper forward. The sharpness deepens through the retrohale and finish, at times with a sharp hay note coming through in an intermittent fashion. Even with all the sharpness, the profile is still medium in body and strength.
The burn was slightly wavy the entire time. The cigar did go out once in the final third requiring a re-light. The ash held on in inch and three quarter increments.
From beginning to end, the cigar produced a nice burn line and I had no problems with the smoke. I didn’t have to touch up or re-light the cigar throughout and the ash was firm throughout each third.
I cut the cigar a little deeper than I intended, but thankfully it didn’t effect the draw. The draw was just slightly tighter than I prefer.
This cigar had a nice flavor profile through the first two thirds with cedar and some saltiness which I tend to enjoy when I find cigars that present it as an accompanying flavor. The final third seemed to run out of steam a bit as it was just an average oak note. This wasn’t special enough to carry the Edicion Limitada moniker, but it was still a good cigar. Not sure if more age will improve things, so they are probably best smoked now if you have some or come across one. I have a few more and will enjoy them from time to time.
One of the things I love about Habanos is that they have a tighter draw overall. I find a lot of non-Cubans have a loose draw and with that comes a lot of smoke and a quick smoking time. A Habanos typically has a concentrated amount of smoke that is produced with each draw and with that tighter draw it puts you in a place where you don’t have to work at taking your time in smoking, it just naturally happens.
If you are looking for a Habanos brand that has a limitada that is fairly in line with the flavor profile that is delivered by the regular production vitolas in that brand, Montecristo is it. I feel that the Montecristo Limitadas are the most reliable of limitadas to be released and smoke well young and with age. After about five years they typically go downhill, but for five years they are spot on. The Montecristo 520 Edición Limitada 2012 delivers those core Montecristo flavors that so many enjoy and does so in a size that many modern smokers gravitate towards. I don’t think it captures the great flavors present with the 2010 Grand Edmundos or 2008 Sublimes, but I believe it is aging better than they did. Do I think it is a truly special limitada? No, but a solid one nonetheless. As a cigar, it is aging well for the four to five years it has been since it was first released and it does a nice job of delivering some enjoyable flavors of spice and mocha. I would definitely recommend for someone to purchase if the opportunity is there as you can enjoy these now or with more age.
The draw was slightly snug for my liking but is still considered very good.
The main question I have with every Cuban cigar is, is it time for me to rage (smoke a lot of) on the box? In the example of the 520, the first two thirds tell me yes, while the last third tells me no. The last third was too sharp in earthiness and spice, making me believe this cigar needs more time. Not much more time as my raging will probably happen within another year.
|Good||Second Third||Good||Second Third||Good|
|Very Good||Draw||Very Good||Draw||Very Good|
Leave a Reply