Team Cigar Review: Montecristo Epic Craft Cured Toro

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Cigar Details: Montecristo Epic Craft Cured Toro

  • Vitola: Toro
  • Length: 6″
  • Ring Gauge: 52
  • Country of Origin: Nicaragua
  • Wrapper: 2006 Nicaraguan Rosado Oscuro
  • Binder: Nicaragua
  • Filler: Nicaragua
  • Factory: Plasencia
  • Blender: Undisclosed
  • Price: $15.75
  • Release Date: December 2017
  • Source: Altadis USA

Aaron-Loomis

 Aaron Loomis

Seth Geise

 Seth Geise

Jiunn-Liu

 Jiunn Liu

Pre-light Experience

The wrapper is medium brown with a few slightly raised veins that carry a shade of lighter brown. The seams are visible but smooth and the head is finished off with a well applied double cap. There are two bands with the primary band carrying the traditional non-Cuban Montecristo design and having the line name underneath it. The foot band is a rustic paper color with a gold strip on it and denotes the special wrapper used on the cigar. The aroma from the wrapper is a lot of barnyard with leather and white pepper while the foot is a very creamy leather note. The pre-light draw brings a nice floral perfumey note along with some leather.

Pre-light Experience

The cigar is firm in hand with no soft spots throughout. The wrapper is right around a Colorado Maduro and it has a dark brown and red clay color. There are few veins present in the wrapper and those present are medium in size. The wrapper is smooth in texture showing no signs of oil, silky or gritty texture. The foot of the cigar is giving off an aroma of rich earth, fruit bread, raisins and a slight sweet spice with the wrapper having a nice woody and earth aroma with some leathery aspects present. The cold draw is easy and it is giving off some cedar and grassy aspects.

Pre-light Experience

The Montecristo Epic Craft Cured Toro has a gorgeous oily Colorado Red wrapper shade. The cigar is packed full of tobacco with very little give. Veins are well pressed, seams tight and head finished off with a deep triple cap. Aromas from the wrapper gives campfire, cedar, hay and dry barnyard. Aromas from the foot tells nuts and cedar. Cold draw gives cedar, sawdust, black pepper and nuts.

First Third

An interesting flavor profile of floral perfume, cinnamon and wood start things out. At a quarter inch in, some cream joins the profile to bring a bit of balance to the preceding flavors. The retrohale is primarily wood with a slight floral note. At an inch in, the floral note has dropped the perfume portion and mellowed a bit as did the cinnamon while the wood is at the front of the profile. There is still some cream binding everything together. At an inch and a half, the cinnamon is fairly faint while the wood, floral note and cream are pretty even in fullness. The strength in this third was slightly below medium.

First Third

The first third begins with a nice walnut flavor profile and it has some strong mineral and woody qualities with that. There are some soft pepper and spice notes and it is a white pepper flavor profile. Overall, the cigar has a woody, peppery and nutty quality and it is very enjoyable. The pepper level increases as the cigar progresses and I would say the cigar begins at a medium level in terms of strength, body and flavors. The construction is top notch and I am getting an even burn line with a nice light charcoal colored ash. The ash is holding on well and with each draw a great bit of smoke is produced.

First Third

The first third gives an abundance of toasted bread and baking spice zing. The flavor profile is very mouth watering. Retrohaling provides focused flavors of baking spices, black pepper and nuts. The finish is nuanced with bread and soft wood. Strength and body is medium.

Second Third

As the second third begins, the wood has moved up front and gained a slight char while the floral note and cream are supporting notes. At a quarter inch in, some bitterness joins the charred wood which makes the floral and cream notes a bit hard to detect. At three quarters of an inch in, the bitterness eases up a bit to leave the charred wood up front and the floral note in the background as the cream has left the profile. The retrohale is primarily wood with a slight floral note. As the third comes to a close, the bitterness picks up again to pair with the charred wood as the floral note is no longer detectable except on the retrohale. The strength in this third is right at medium.

Second Third

When I get into the second third of the cigar, I find the first half of the second third showing a lot of the characteristics that were present at the beginning. The walnut flavors are still pairing with wood notes of cedar and oak while the white pepper flavors are present on the finish with some mineral qualities. As it progresses though, some earthy aspects begin to emerge and they have a dry soil quality. The cigar remains at a medium level for flavors, strength and body and it is an approachable cigar. The construction is still perfect and I am getting a lovely burn line with a nice charcoal colored ash that is holding on firmly. The draw remains cool and with that a nice bit of smoke.

Second Third

The second third ups the ante from the first third. The flavors become even more focused and full. Still the same great mouth watering flavors of toasted bread and baking spices. There’s also dried nuts and soft aged wood lingering on for minutes on end. Retrohaling brings out dark chocolate, black pepper and dried nuts. Strength is moving towards medium-full while body maintains medium.

Final Third

As the final third begins, the bitterness eases up quite a bit and the slightly charred wood note is the primary flavor component. At a quarter inch in, the wood loses the char and gains a slight toast. The retrohale also carries the toasted wood. At a half inch in, a hint of the floral note rejoins the toasted wood. At an inch in, the char comes back replacing the toasted note and the floral note is gone as well. As the cigar comes to a close, it begins to heat up which brings some mintiness to go along with the charred wood. The strength in this third moved up to slightly above medium.

Final Third

I am in the final third of the cigar now and finding the flavor profile to be going downhill. It has lost that white pepper and wood quality and is now showing earth and mineral qualities. There is a slight sourness present as well and it is not pleasant with the mineral flavors. It is still smoking at a medium level in terms of strength, body and flavors and with that the construction has remained top notch. The draw is still cool with a nice bit of smoke and if the flavors were still present it would have had a nice finish.

Final Third

The last third, to my surprise, becomes nicotine heavy towards the middle, hovering a tad stronger than medium-full. Leaving me with a head buzz, the flavors are still enjoyable although less complex as the second third. The flavors are now mainly centered around a heavier and spicier baking spices and toasted bread. Body finishes medium.

Burn

The burn was slightly wavy the entire time, but never needed any attention. The ash held on in inch and a half increments.

Burn

The burn from start to finish was great. I came across no problems in that area and it was a well rolled cigar. The cigar had a firm ash and it was an ash that held on throughout each third.

Burn

The burn was a mess. Three major touch-ups as a result of an uneven burn. Aside from that, the ashes were tight and the burning temperature was cool.

Draw

The draw was perfect with just the right amount of resistance that I prefer.

Overall

The cigar started with a very unique combination of floral notes, cinnamon and wood. Early in the second third, bitterness entered which really masked the flavors other than wood and never really relented which is a shame. I was hoping to see how the floral note would mature, but that wasn’t to be. Strength was right around medium and construction was great. I had high hopes with how the cigar started and was disappointed in how it progressed. I’d definitely like to revisit this cigar to see if the bitterness was an anomaly in this sample as this cigar could be really good if it’s normal performance omits that.

Draw

Like the burn, the draw was great from beginning to end. It produced a great bit of smoke and it was not too loose or tight. As I said earlier, it was a well rolled cigar.

Overall

When the final third of a cigar has a poor finish it is hard to look back on the overall experience being enjoyable. If you have a poor or slow start, it will affect the overall rating, but having a poor finish in my opinion is worse. I am not sure if age is going to improve this experience and to be honest, I would not invest the time in aging these to see if they do improve. I just don’t see the aging of this cigar taking it to a whole new level. That goes for each third. I remember the original Montecristo Epic, that was a really good cigar and the same goes for the Epic No. 2. It is sad to see the line/brand go down this road and I really wish they had made this in the Dominican Republic like they did in the past. I liked when the blends were composed of tobacco from multiple countries rather than try and make a puro. They could have done that with this cigar being made at Plasencia, why they didn’t I don’t know, but it seems like this was not blended by the Grupo de Maestros as the past blends were.

Draw

The draw was overall good but was fairly snug.

Overall

May I have another (and another) non-cuban Montecristo? A saying I never thought I’d say until now. The Montecristo Epic Craft Cured Toro was full of flavors that are straight to the point and focused. I typically am not all that excited to smoke a non-Cuban Montecristo (don’t judge by the brand I know) but this one completely changed my perspective. Time to track down more of these.

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

Aaron Loomis

SCORE

6.00

Cost/Point

$2.62

Scoring System

Seth Geise

SCORE

5.13

Cost/Point

$3.07

Scoring System

Jiunn Liu

SCORE

6.82

Cost/Point

$2.31

Scoring System

Team Cigar Review: Montecristo Epic Craft Cured Toro
Jiunn LiuTeam Cigar Review: Montecristo Epic Craft Cured Toro

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