Cigar Review: Monte by Montecristo AJ Fernandez Toro

Cigar Review: Monte by Montecristo AJ Fernandez Toro

Montecristo / Altadis USA
Country: Nicaragua
Wrapper: Ecuador (Habano 2000)
Binder: Nicaragua (Corojo 98)
Filler: Nicaragua (Crillo 98) & Dominican Republic (Piloto Cubano)
Size: 6” x 55
Strength: full to very full
Price: $10.95

Overall Rating: 9.1

Many people hear the name Montecristo they think of mild Dominican cigars, but over the last several years Aldatis USA has been trying to change that with cigars like the Monte by Montecristo, Montecristo Espanda and Montecristo Pilotico. Teaming up with the AJ Fernandez on the Monte by Montecristo AJ Fernandez, has produced not only one of the strongest Montecristos, but one of the strongest Aladis cigars. Yet, the new Monte by Montecristo AJ Fernandez doesn’t sacrifice flavor for strength. The new AJ Fernandez Monte by Montecristo should bring a whole new group of cigar enthusiasts back to the Montecristo brand.

Pre-Light: The Monte by Montecristo AJ Fernandez is a good looking square pressed cigar. The Habano 2000 wrapper is the color of milky chocolate, and has a slightly oily sheen to it. The black and gold Montecristo band has the brand’s name in red above the fleur de lis and AJ Fernandez’s name below it in gold, which is a singular honor I’ve not seen given to anyone else. There’s a large Monte secondary band that covers a large portion of the cigar, but unlit some large band this one comes off very easily.

The Ecuadorian Habano wrapper of the Monte by Montecristo AJ Fernandez has leather, earth and nut aromas. Something about this cigar’s aroma reminds me of fall, but I’m not sure why. A cocoa sweetness comes from the unlit of the cigar with a slight note of black pepper. An easy cold draw allows through flavors of cocoa, nuts, earth and mild hints of pepper.

Burn: The draw on the Monte by Montecristo AJ Fernandez is very good. Plenty of flavorful smoke production makes for a pleasant smoking experience. Nice gray ash clings extremely firmly to the foot of the cigar. Until the last inch and a half, this is an even burning cigar.

Flavor: Initially the Monte by Montecristo AJ Fernandez begins with smooth creamy cocoa. There’s a surprising lack of pepper to the cigar at this point. Cocoa, coffee, toast, almond and a little bit of nutmeg blend together nicely during the first third of the cigar. Just a hint of white pepper comes through during the first third of the Monte by Montecristo AJ Fernandez. On the retrohale, there is a mix creamy chocolatey, bread and mild pepper notes. Coffee and generic woodsiness are the main notes during the transition to the second third of the cigar. The second third is a mix of cocoa, coffee, toast, earth and white pepper. Mild pepper lingers on the tongue after each puff. During the transition to the final third of the cigar see the flavor profile get more earthy and peppery, while notes of cocoa, toast and coffee remain in the background.

Overall: The Monte by Montecristo AJ Fernandez is another great collaboration between Altadis and AJ Fernandez, and follows in the footsteps of the H. Upmann Nicaragua. This may be the most full bodied Altadis cigar every released, starting out medium-full and finishing very full, with a deceptive strength that can creep up on you. This is not a Montecristo for the novice smoker or for the golf course, and is instead a great after dinner cigar. However, the Monte by Montecristo AJ Fernandez does not sacrifice strength for flavor with cocoa, coffee, leather, toast, nuts and white pepper making rounding out the flavor profile. Personally, I really liked the new Monte by AJ, and found it to be a great cigar after dinner at the end of the day. Fans of AJ Fernandez’s cigars will not be disappointed. This is a cigar that should bring a whole different group of avid cigar enthusiasts back to the Montecristo brand. If you enjoy full bodied Nicaraguan cigars, the Monte by Montecristo AJ Fernandez is definitely worth checking out.

Pairing: This cigar pairs very well with a nice peaty single malt. Personally, I like the Lagavulin 16 or Ardbeg 10 with the Monte by Montecristo AJ Fernandez. The rum drinker will also find that this cigar goes well with a dark sipping rum.

Reviewed by Jonathan David (@JonDavid1210)