Montecristo Espada Guard
Made at the Plasencia factory in Nicaragaua, the Montecristo Espada Guard is certainly a cigar with style and class. Available in beautiful 10 count boxes, the Montecristo Espada is part of the ever-growing Altadis USA portfolio. From the Altadis USA website:
“Constructed with 100% vintage Nicaraguan tobaccos specially aged by the Plasencia family and expertly blended by the world famous Grupo de Maestros, Espada by Montecristo offers a bold, spicy and deeply satisfying smoke. Espada, which means "sword" in Spanish, is the first Montecristo with all of its tobacco coming from Nicaragua - a country celebrated for its robust and mellow tobaccos. Espada by Montecristo is a cigar of pure taste and true elegance”.
Being named to Cigar Aficionado’s Top 25 (number 20) in 2015, I found this cigar catching my eye while at my local Brick & Mortar store this past week. Let’s find out what this sword swinging stick is all about.
On to the review….
Montecristo Espada Guard Attributes
Size: Toro (Guard)
Ring Gauge: 50
Wrapper: Habano Jalapa Vintage 2010
Binder: Habano Jalapa Vintage 2009
Filler: Habano Jalapa Vintage 2008; Ometepe 2008; Condega 2008
Country: Nicaragua (Plasencia)
Price: $16.20 USD each
Aesthetics [Construction/Shelf-Appeal/Pre-light]: The Montecristo Espada is almost completely covered with bands, three in total. I’m typically leery of bands covering most of a cigar’s body as you never know what is to be found upon removal (like a Christmas present), however, after removal of foot band and middle band, the cigar showed a nice milk chocolate colored wrapper with several veins throughout. The cigar’s cap was perfectly rounded, and no soft spots were found as I rolled the cigar through my fingers. The foot was jam packed and the pre-light smell was of rich tobacco with feeble woody notes. Cold draw was loose and showed very faint tastes of sweet wood.
Performance [Draw/Burn]: The draw of the cigar was perfect and easy throughout the entire smoking experience showing almost no resistance. The smallest of draws produced a lot of creamy white smoke, and I would classify the cigar as medium/full in body. Burn was wavy throughout the entire smoke and required several touch-ups and one re-light. Ash was a flakey mix of light and dark grays. I did use a V-Cut for this cigar due to the perfectly rounded cap. The Montecristo Espada was a medium strength smoke.
Flavor [Tastes/Aroma]: Throughout the smoking experience I mainly encountered heavy black walnut and dry wood characteristics with leather, faith vanilla, a meaty chewiness, and sweet cedar aromas finding their way to my senses. Not overly complex in the flavors and easily detected tastes were evident throughout smoking the cigar.
Overall Impressions [Value/Experience/Pairing]: My final assessment of the cigar is best summarized as solid. The cigar isn’t amazing, but it’s also far from awful. It’s a market solid cigar that will no doubt be consistent for those finding the flavor profile to fit their wants and needs. The biggest hinderance for me is the price tag. At the higher end of the premium level ($16.00) I can easily find other Nicaraguan puros that will give me a more enjoyable smoking experience. Is this cigar bad? No. Would it be better if the price tag was dropped? Absolutely! In fact, if this cigar were a $10.00 to $12.00 cigar, I would probably smoke it on a regular basis.
For reference, I paired the Montecristo Espada with black coffee and water, therefore, no pairing report was noted.
Cigar Score: 3 out of 5 boxes
~Kyle Lee, CCST~