Years and years ago, before I discovered that Cuban cigars and me aren’t a match made in heaven and that I prefer Nicaraguans better I ran into this Montecristo A in a shop in Antwerp, Belgium. It was Huis Verloo, a very renowned shop that is now part of the Davidoff group but back then it was independent and a must visit for every cigar and liquor aficionado due to their huge collection in both items. Now as I said, it was a long time ago and even though I wasn’t a knowledgeable as I am nowadays I knew I had to buy that cigar as it was pretty rare and hard to find as this was pre La Casa del Habano in the Benelux era. I don’t have the box code for the cigar as I did not understand the importance of that either back then, but it is at least 7 years old and I haven’t had the courage to smoke it but today that’s going to change. I’m going to light it and review it.
The cigar is the longest Habanos in production I think as this Gran Corona measures 9.3 inch and it has a 47 ring gauge. Now I smoked a few ‘A’ sized cigars before and I always liked the size. The construction feels ok, there is a little bit of a soft spot at a third but not too much too really complain about, the overal look is good also due to the nicely glued triple cap. The ring is the classic, simple Montecristo brown ring with white letters that has been copied so often. The wrapper is a nice medium brown with tooth and due to the tooth it feels like fine sanding paper. I smell a mild vanilla and wood aroma.
I punched the cigar and the cold draw surprised me, guess this is a lucky day because the draw is flawless. I taste a spicy and peppery hay flavor before I lit the cigar with a soft flame lighter. Those flavors are gone the moment the flame hits the tobacco, it’s all leather then. Due to the size the smoke feels cool in my mouth. After a centimeter I taste leather but with a tiny hint of orange. The structure of the flavors feel creamy. The leather is slowly getting stronger and the orange is gone in a few puffs. Still in the first third I get a minty flavor with the leather. The draw starts to get a little tight so I cut the cigar to widen the opening compared to the punched hole and that solves the issue. It’s still mainly leather and the minty flavor now also has a hint of orange again.
After a third I the leather fades away a bit and I taste a mild chocolate with the leather. The cigar also has some pepper and a fresh aftertaste. Halfway I taste toast with leather and pepper. Soon after the toast changes to wood, with still leather and pepper. After two thirds I taste nuts with a good amount of pepper.
I’m very happy with the great draw, I’ve had lesser experiences especially with Cuban cigars. The smoke is thin though and low in quantity too. The ash is salt and pepper colored, you can clearly see the layers in the ash and it’s reasonable firm. The burn is straight and slow. The cigar is medium to medium plus bodied with a full flavor. The smoke time is two hours and fifteen minutes.
Would I buy this cigar again? No, and that has nothing to do with this cigar but I’m not taking a risk of buying a very expensive cigar with my bad experiences with Cuban quality control. On a regular priced cigar I’m willing to take a risk but in crazy €50 or more price tags I won’t.