August 02, 2014

Montecristo Espada Guard (6 x 50)

Video review HERE.

(from the Cigar Aficionado website)
Altadis USA, owner of the non-Cuban Montecristo brand, has been releasing one creative iteration of Montecristo after the next. On July 1, tobacconists will receive the Montecristo Espada, a bold blend marking the first time that a Monte has been rolled with only Nicaraguan tobacco.

Featuring a Cuban-seed Habano wrapper and binder from Jalapa, the cigar combines several different Nicaraguan tobaccos in the filler from Jalapa, Ometepe and Condega.

The new smokes are made in Nicaragua at Nestor Plasencia's Plasencia Cigars S.A. factory and are a collaboration between Plasencia and the Altadis blending team, known as the Grupo de Maestros.

Espadas come packaged in striking suede boxes of ten, each adorned with three bands: a primary Montecristo band, a foot band that reads "Espada" and an ornate certificate wrapped around the middle of the smoke. Spanish for "sword," Espada is also a reference to the rapiers found on the iconic Montecristo logo, which was reinterpreted for this line to focus on a single sword rather than the traditional six.

Wrapper: Habano
Binder: Jalapa
Filler: Ometepe, Jalapa, and Condega

The cigar comes in three sizes; Ricasso, 5 inches by 54 ring, Guard, 6 by 50 (reviewed today) and Quillon, 7 by 56—and they're set to retail for $11.25 to $12.50 each.

Each tobacco used in the Espada is vintage dated and listed on the inner lid of the box.

The cigar is very well made. The color is a light brown. After cutting the cap the test draw was a bit firm but very smokeable. The initial flavors were a semi-sweet grapefruit citrus with a lot of dry wood notes and some cream notes. There was white pepper rated at a 7. The cigar comes across at this point as mild to medium.

About 1 1/4 inch in the cigar has picked up in sweetness. The flavors are more of an orange citrus or sweet cedar at this point. The massive amount of dry wood and (now) roasted nuts overwhelm the sweet notes making it difficult to pin them down. The cream notes make it more difficult to tell whether they are orange citrus or cedar. The bottom line is there are a lot of dry wood and roasted nut flavors. The finish is a sweet cream with very little lingering pepper. The cigar is medium bodied now.

2 1/2 inches in the sweetness has picked up a little more. I'm going with a sweet cedar as the main sweet flavor. There are also some nutmeg notes. There are still light cream notes and a ton of roasted nut and dry wood notes. The sweet cedar is a little more intense than the dry wood and roasted nuts now, which make the cigar the best it's been so far. 

Down to the band with about 2 inches remaining the sweet cedar is still in charge. I lost the nutmeg and cream notes. The dry wood and roasted nut flavors are elevated. The cigar comes across as medium to full bodied, at best but it has a very sneaky ligero. The taste leads you to believe it's one way but the power of the ligero can be felt. Normally the flavor body of the cigar and the power go hand in hand but not in this cigar. You can definitely feel the ligero!

The cigar ended with the nice cedar notes and lots of roasted nuts. You can really feel the ligero. You may have heard people speak of a "ligero buzz". You have that in this cigar. Therefore the cigar is full bodied. The finish remained one of a sweet cream with a little more lingering pepper. As with any Montecristo cigar you must try it and see what you think. To me, the cigar missed the mark in a couple of places. If you like a strong ligero cigar you should really try this one!

Score: 88

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