Cigar Review: Montecristo Pilotico
Country: Dominican Republic
Wrapper: Ecuador (Sumatra)
Binder: Dominican Republic
Filler: Dominican Republic & Nicaragua
Size: 6 1/2” x 52
Overall Rating: 8.7
Last year, Altadis released the Montecristo 80th Anniversary that made use of special Pilotico from Pepe Mendez. This year, in a collaboration between Altadis’ Grupo de Maestros and Jose Mendez & Company, the Dominican tobacco growing operation own by Pepe Mendez’s family, Altadis has released the Montecristo Pilotico Pepe Mendez in 20-count boxes designed to look like traveling trunks. Mendez was one of the first growers of Dominican filler tobacco, so it is appropriate that this cigar featuring rare Dominican grown Cuban-seed Pilotico tobacco that has not been grown for some time bears the Pepe Mendez name.
Pre-Light: Packaged in a box that resembles a travel trunk, complete with leather straps and handles, the design of the Montecristo Pilotico’s packaging manages to evoke a bygone era while remaining fresh and new. With a large secondary band featuring Pepe Mendez below the traditional Montecristo band, the Montecristo Pilotico stands out on retail shelves. The light brown Sumatra wrapper from Ecuador has the color of a paper grocery bag. Smooth and with very few noticeable veins, the Montecristo Pilotico has a fair amount of oil to the wrapper, which just makes it look all the more appealing.
The Sumatran wrapper of the Montecristo Pilotico has a blend of leather, caramel and oak scents to it. From the unlit foot there is a strong brown sugary sweetness that is met by aromas of leather, caramel, oak and cinnamon. The cold draw on two of the three cigars smoked for this review were on the very firm side, but some flavors of brown sugar, walnut, oak and slight floral notes were able to come through.
Burn: Although the draw on the Montecristo Pilotico is never overly firm, it does have a tendancy to tight and loosen and tighten again throughout the course of the cigar, which can be a tiny bit irksome. The burn is mostly even throughout the cigar, and at times when it does start to burn a tad uneven it quickly corrects itself. A white ash has to split down the middle before falling off.
Flavor: Upon lighting up the Montecristo Pilotico Pepe Mendez there is a continuation of the of sugary sweetness from the cold draw, but it is joined by a whole wheat toast note. There’s a mix of toast, oak, leather and walnut to the first third of the cigar. On the retrohale there is a fair bit of white pepper and spice. During the transition to the final third of the Montecristo Pilotico there is an interesting peat-like grassiness that joins the flavors of leather, oak, walnut, white pepper and hints of cinnamon. The retrohale, at this point, is still mostly white pepper, spice and leather, but has mellowed out some from earlier in the cigar. As the cigar nears the final third, the white pepper and spice that have been coming though the nose also begin to come through the palate as well. In the final third of the Montecristo Pilotico there is a blend of peat, white pepper, wheat toast, walnut, leather and spice that makes it the most enjoyable portion of the cigar.
Overall: The Montecristo Pilotico Pepe Mendez is another high end release from Altasis, along the lines of the Montecriso Espada or Montecristo 80th Anniversary. While a very good cigar, the Pilotico falls just a tad short of those cigars. There is a lot of flavor to the Pilotico Pepe Mendez including wheat toast, leather, oak, walnut, peat, white pepper and spice. While the flavors that are present are quite pleasing there is not a whole lot of development to the flavor profile throughout the cigar. One issue that stands out is the draw, which has a tendency to go from firm to fine to firm several times throughout the cigar, and this can be a tad off-putting. Though we don’t take price into account in the Overall number rating of cigars, it is worth noting that there are other cigars in the Montecristo line that offer more for the price. While I personally enjoyed the cigar, and would recommend it to the medium bodied cigar smoker looking for something different, it’s not a cigar that will be making a regular appearance in my humidor. If you’ve been a fan of some of the other high end Montecristo cigars, then the Montecristo Pilotico Pepe Mendez is a cigar that is definitely worth trying.
Pairing: The peat-like grassiness of the Montecristo Pilotico Pepe Mendez is brought out further when paired with a nice peaty Islay single malt. Personally, I enjoy the Lagavulin 16 with the Montecristo Pilotico. Full bodied red wines also pair quite well with the Montecristo Pilotico.
Reviewed by Jonathan David (@JonDavid1210)
Some cigars for this review were provided by Altadis USA at the 2016 IPCPR Trade Show in Las Vegas, prior to August 8, 2016. Though the generosity is greatly appreciated it does not alter the Overall Rating of this cigar. At Toasted Foot LLC we remain committed to providing impartial cigar and product reviews.