Team Cigar Review: Montecristo Espada Oscuro Guard

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Cigar Details: Montecristo Espada Oscuro Guard

  • Vitola: Toro
  • Length: 6″
  • Ring Gauge: 50
  • Country of Origin: Nicaragua
  • Wrapper: Nicaraguan Habano Oscuro
  • Binder: Nicaragua
  • Filler: Nicaragua
  • Factory: Plasencia
  • Blender: Grupo de Maestros
  • Price: $13.80
  • Release Date: June 2019
  • Source: Montecristo

Aaron-Loomis

 Aaron Loomis

Seth Geise

 Seth Geise

 John McTavish

Pre-light Experience

The wrapper on the Montecristo Espada Oscuro Guard is dark brown and has a few slightly raised veins present. The seams are slightly raised in some areas and the head is finished off with a well applied double cap. There are two bands with the primary being the traditional design for the brand but with a gold, white and red on black color combination. It denotes the brand and line. The secondary band is placed between the primary and the foot and it has some detailed artwork with the brand and line in the upper portion and denotes who and where the cigar was blended as well and who and where the cigar was produced in the lower. The aroma from the wrapper is damp wood and subtle tobacco sweetness. The foot brings wood and light white pepper. The pre-light draw is creamed cherries along with a medium level spiciness on my lips.

Pre-light Experience

The Montecristo Espada Oscuro Guard is lovely in hand and has a wrapper that is slightly toothy. It is bumpy in texture and it has a leather like feel. Firm in hand, it has a nice Oscuro coloring and is a dark chocolate brown. Few veins present, those there are medium in size and I am getting aromas of manure, earth, minerals, spices, chocolate cake and cherries.

Pre-light Experience

The Montecristo Espada Oscuro Guard is a very elegant looking cigar. The double, almost triple banding is ornate with the Montecristo Espada Oscuro as the primary band, and the second band indicating Espada along with an attached third gold band indicating the blending group and associated signatures. The combined bands take up just over three quarters of the length of the cigar. Measuring the construction with digital calipers I showed 49 ring gauge at the band, and 47.5 RG in the bottom third. Total length of the cigar measured at exactly 6 inches. Aromas from the wrapper was a sweetness, floral, with sweet bread in the foot.

First Third

The cigar begins with a mix of wood and cinnamon. At a quarter inch in, the wood becomes a bit dark as some light mustiness joins the profile. The cinnamon has morphed into baking spice and is at the same level as the mustiness. At an inch in, the baking spice picks up and is between the dark wood and mustiness. The retrohale has a zing of baking spice up front with slight musty wood not far behind. At an inch and a half, the wood becomes more defined as oak and the baking spice is now right behind it. The strength in this third was slightly above medium.

First Third

The first third opens up with some chocolate and pastry notes and it has this chocolate croissant quality. I am getting some nutty and toasty qualities as well and the finish is of spices, cinnamon and pepper. I would classify the cigar as being medium in strength with a body level between medium and medium-full. The flavors are right in line with the body and are medium-full as well.

First Third

Floral cedar comes through on the retrohale and finishes with baking spices and lingering spices with pepper on the post draw. The middle of the profile is bready. The post draw spices move immediately up to medium, almost medium-full intensity. A sort of malty sweetness joins the middle of the profile as the cigar settles in. By the 35 minute mark, the spice intensity has receded to light plus, with bready notes joining the retrohale. By the halfway point, post draw leather at medium strength settles in quickly.

Second Third

As the second third begins, the baking spice has converted to black pepper and is even with the oak while the mustiness is now right behind. At a half inch in, the black pepper has a slight lead over the now evenly paired musty oak. At three quarters of an inch in, some char joins the oak. At an inch and a quarter, the black pepper is full bore and the char has increased a fair amount on the oak while the mustiness is now slightly behind. The retrohale has a full mixture of black pepper and mustiness with oak just behind. As the third comes to a close, the black pepper becomes a bit dull as the charred oak and mustiness are all even. The strength in this third remained at slightly above medium.

Second Third

I am in the second third cigar now and finding a change in flavor profile. I am getting some peppery spice up front and it is paired with some mineral qualities. It has a dry earth profile present as well and the finish is nutty and toasty. Like before, the cigar is medium in strength and between medium and medium-full in body and flavors.

Second Third

Bready cedar defines the retrohale moving into the second third. Cedar fills in the middle of the profile. Earth joins the middle of the profile by the mid point of the cigar.

Final Third

As the final third begins, the musty and charred oak is up front with the dull black pepper right behind. At a half inch in, the black pepper loses the dullness and is back up front. At an inch in, the char and black pepper take a step back and a vegetal note joins in. The retrohale brings musty oak and the vegetal note. The cigar warms up as it wraps up which brings a toasted note to the oak along with the mustiness and vegetal note right behind. There was also a bit of char and black pepper remaining in the background. Strength bumped up in this third to medium-full.

Final Third

The final third delivers a profile that is slightly similar to the second third, but diminished. It is peppery and mineral in the end and there is a meaty quality present as well. The toast and nut notes are much softer now and the finish is of dry earth. Like before, medium in strength with a body and flavor level between medium and medium-full.

Final Third

Some minor bread on the retrohale, with light cedar lingering on the post draw. Dry cedar still fills the middle of the profile. Once the cigar has settled, cedar coats the palate between draws. By the halfway point, some charred earth starts to take over the middle of the profile.

Burn

The burn was pretty straight, the only issues being the cigar going out once and requiring a full re-light and two times where I helped things along with the lighter as smoke production was getting low. The ash held on in inch and a half increments.

Burn

Burn was very good from start to finish. I had an even burn line from beginning to end. Nice charcoal colored ash on the end as well.

Burn

The cigar struggled throughout the smoking experience. Re-lights were required a half inch into the first third, and in the last third. Touch-ups were required in the first third as a canoe formed. A canoe formed in the second third requiring another touch-up. The ash did build up and hold up to 2 inches at points.

Draw

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

Overall

The cigar began with wood and cinnamon and some mustiness joined in fairly quickly. The cinnamon morphed into baking spice and the wood became more defined as oak. The baking spice then moved to black pepper and the oak gained some char. The final third saw a vegetal note join in. Construction was pretty good aside from some touch-ups and strength was slightly above medium until the final third when it hit medium-full. The Montecristo Espada Oscuro Guard had a nice start, but once the black pepper and char took control of the profile, it knocked things down a level each third. I was curious to see how this would follow up the original Epsada, and I feel like the original was better. It’s probably not a cigar I would return to, but if you’re a fan of a dark profile with lots of spice and later black pepper with a bit of strength, you may find something you like here.

Draw

The draw was solid throughout. It was a little loose for my liking, but not a problem.

Overall

Like a lot of releases from 2019, the Montecristo Espada Oscuro Guard started out really well and slowly went downhill. The first third shows some great chocolate croissant qualities, nutty and toasty as well, but the finish just took over with mineral and dry earth flavors that were not as pleasant, and the spices became too much. It is not a strong cigar by any means, medium in strength, but the flavors and body were nice. With that, fantastic construction. A solid Montecristo, nothing to write home about, but a nice addition to a brand that already has way too many releases.

Draw

The draw was 2-1/2 to 3 notches resistant, but never seemed to have issues producing smoke.

Overall

The Montecristo Espada Oscuro Guard had significant amounts of flavor complexity in the first third with notes of floral, cedar, bread, baking spices and malty sweetness. The profile was light and not overly complex in the second third, and fairly simple and somewhat unbalanced in the last third. The burn struggled through the entire review, with some resistance on the draw. Total smoking time was 2 hours and 1 minute.

Aaron
Seth
John
Very GoodPre
Light
Very GoodPre
Light
Very Good
GoodFirst
Third
GoodFirst
Third
Good
AverageSecond ThirdAverageSecond ThirdAverage
SubparFinal
Third
AverageFinal
Third
Average
GoodBurnVery GoodBurnSubpar
AmazingDrawVery GoodDrawGood
AverageOverallAverageOverallAverage

Aaron Loomis

SCORE

5.55

Cost/Point

$2.49

Scoring System

Seth Geise

SCORE

5.85

Cost/Point

$2.36

Scoring System

John McTavish

SCORE

5.40

Cost/Point

$2.56

Scoring System

Team Cigar Review: Montecristo Espada Oscuro Guard
Seth GeiseTeam Cigar Review: Montecristo Espada Oscuro Guard

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