The latest cigar from Altadis USA is the Monecristo Espada. All the tobacco used in this blend comes from the farms of Nestor Plasencia in Nicaragua. The Espada is a collaboration between Plasencia and the Altadis blending team, known as the Grupo de Maestros. The cigars come packaged in 10 count Suede boxes and the word Espada means sword which is a reference to the rapier found on the Montecristo logo. The tobaccos come from Esteli, Jalapa and Ometepe.
Cigar: Montecristo Espada
Size: 6 x 50 (Guard / Toro)
Wrapper: Nicaragua Habano
Distributed By: Altadis USA
The Look: The Montecristo Espada is covered by 3 bands. One being the classic Montecristo logo with Espada written underneath. The second band features crossed swords behind the word Espanda. The foot band once again mentions Espada which is either overkill or driving the point home depending on how you choose to look at it. The wrapper of the cigar has a milk chocolate color about it and a fair amount of small veins present. In the hand the cigar feel extremely light although it is well packed.
The Notes: The cold draw of the cigar has a sweetness to it over some earthy components such has grass and hay. The nose off the foot of the stick has a tobacco note to it and not much else. Once the cigar is lit there is some spice present especially through the retrohale. Though the spice isn’t overpowering like some Nicaraguan cigars. It is just enough to wake you up. Smoking my way through the first third of the cigar there are notes of maple and earth with some roasted coffee. The cigar isn’t as balanced as I would like a cigar to be, but the flavors are enjoyable.
The second third of the cigar has more flavor to it with notes of maple and oak, in fact as I was smoking it the song The Trees by Rush enters my mind. So with the song on in the background and my co-workers wondering what the hell I am listening to I turn back to the cigar which also has notes of raisins thrown in the mix as well.
The final third of the cigar has some continued notes of maple, and a really nice coffee finish that makes me wish the whole cigar was like this. Balanced and complex the smoke finally develops in something extremely enjoyable.
The Burn: The one thing that I noted right away was the shaft of the cigar was warm throughout the smoke, while the draw of the cigar was perfect. The heat build up definitely affected the notes of the cigar. It seemed like the binder and filler was burning at a different rate than the wrapper. The carbon line on the cigar was thick and ugly, and it looked as if the wrapper was burning from underneath.
Overall: The construction of the Montecristo Espada plays into my overall thoughts on the cigar. While the smoke had a nice woody profile and the last third was the most enjoyable. However, the burn issues of the first two-thirds were just too much to overcome. I might give the cigar another chance from a different box but for now this is a cigar that I just can’t recommend. The only saving grace for me was the last third of the smoke.