Before my cigar smoking days, Montecristo and Cohiba were the first brands that came to mind every time someone mentioned the word “cigar.” These brands were ubiquitous and enjoyed household-brand status. Everyone who had an inkling of an idea about cigars knew about them, and for a good reason: they tasted great, had a high level of quality and consistency and of course, a little bit of marketing savvy.
These cigars would have given me my first impressions of cigar culture were it not for more experienced friends who introduced me to a wide range of other great brands and blends. And though I’ve tried a few Montecristos before, I never thought much of it until I decided to try the Montecristo Platinum Vintage 1999 Robusto that’s been sitting in my humidor for God knows how long.
This cigar looked the part of a distinguished member of the Montecristo family with its beautiful Mexican-grown wrapper sheen and the unmistakable Montecristo band in silver and gold livery adorning its body. Unfortunately, that’s as far as beauty goes on this stick. The wrapper had a few notable imperfections that included a few dark brown spots, a few small holes and some big veins. The body was replete with soft spots which caused the draw to be very easy, and the pre-light notes suggested some earthy flavors as well as a little bit of a pungent fruitiness that resembled raisins coming from the foot.
Earth, wood and a medium spice were essentially the only flavors that this cigar gave during the first few minutes into the first third. The slightly long finish also gave away a very faint hint of that raisin flavor that I detected during the pre-light notes, but that basically faded away as quickly as it came. That earth and wood flavor combination was unfortunately the only flavors that this cigar could boast about throughout the first two-thirds of the smoking experience. Thankfully, a respite from that combination came in the form of nutty flavors in the retrohale that became more apparent and creamier around the last third. I would peg this as a light to medium bodied cigar with medium strength.
Two words: BAD BURN. I’m guessing the softness of the cigar’s body is partly to blame for this. The burn became uneven around the middle of the first third and then quickly progressed into a canoeing burn that sorely needed an adjustment. At least the dark grey ash held on until the halfway point of the stick. The only saving grace for the burn is the smoke profile which was pleasantly smooth and creamy.
The apple doesn’t usually fall far from the tree, but this one surely rolled over and settled somewhere else. The flavors weren’t bland, but the experience was most obviously lackluster. For a cigar that costs over seven bucks, I’m sure I’m not the only one that expected more out of this stick especially because of its name-brand pedigree. This is definitely one that I won’t be buying more of, and for the ones that I have left, they’ll be in the second drawer of my humidor.