Montecristo Vino Series Cabernet Robusto

Drew Estate

Up for review this time around is a cigar that the guys at my local Tinderbox keep telling me I just have to try. Every time I’ve stopped in in the past month, one of the first things I hear is, did you try the new Montecristo Vino Series yet? So under a mountain of peer pressure, I sprung for a few stogies to review. (Now tables are turned, the next time I visit, I can ask, did you read my review yet?)

The Montecristo Cabernet is a part of the “Vino Series” line cigars (which also includes the H. Upmann Pinot and the Romeo Y Julieta Chardonnay) which was blended by Tinderbox CEO Gary Blumenthal and manufactured exclusively for the Vino 101-themed Tinderboxes around the country. The goal of the Vino Series, I believe, was to not only make a fine premium cigar, but to try to draw together the two main features of Vino 101 shops: tobacco and wine. Let’s see how they did.

Cigar Stats:
Size: 5 x 54
Wrapper: Mexican Moron*
Binder: Nicaragua
Filler: Nicaragua, Honduras
Smoking Time:
Beverage: Water
Price: ~$10.75

*Please note that “Mexican Moron” is apparently a type of tobacco, and not, in this case any sort of insult. I know, I thought it was a typo at first too.

The Pre-Smoke
The robusto is an attractive, box-pressed smoke with Cabernet wine-colored bands and a darker natural wrapper that both looks and feels smooth to the touch. There are a few veins in the wrapper, but they’re more noticeable in a attractive cosmetic sense than a tactile one. The cigar feels great in the hand and does have the little bit of extra give to it that’s common with box-pressed cigars.

Examining the wrapper more closely there were a few larger superficial holes in the wrapper that would be very easy to overlook. (Some of these holes I didn’t notice until the approached the burn line as I smoked the cigar.) Other than that, the cigars seemed flawless.

The Burn
This cigar burned like a champ. The burn was consistent and even, and the ash was solid. So solid in fact that when it hit the bottom of my all metal Stinkie ashtray it sounded like a bell was ringing. A deep bell, but a bell none the less. And I have to say it was refreshing to smoke a cigar that consistently burns without the need for even a single relight.

The only small complaint I have about the burn is that one cigar had a slightly firm draw. Not a problem, but a little tighter than I prefer.

The Flavor
The cigar starts off with sweet nutty flavor that’s joined by some fruitiness and just a bit of cedar. The nutty flavor fades by about half way through the first third, but the sweet fruitiness is pretty dominant until right around the beginning of the second third. Along the way I get elements of caramel, coffee, graham cracker and just a bit of chocolate here and there.

The fruity flavor is replaced in the second third by more of that graham flavor and cocoa. Bits of a cedar, coffee and a creamy nougat flavor mingled in as well. Just before the beginning of the final third I a couple great puffs of some sweet cinnamon mixed with come tasty chocolate.

Chocolate and cedar was the name of the game in the final third, with some coffee flavors appearing from time to time. Interestingly, in one cigar I got some great sweet coconut flavor in this third that wasn’t present in the previous two cigars.

One think about the flavor that deserves a special note is the finish. Not only does this cigar have a long finish, but it evolves. For example, the graham flavor I noted in the second third became coffee as I savored the finish. The cedar gave way to chocolate. And so on.

The Price
Weighing in at somewhere above the $10 mark, this is a cigar that probably won’t make it into most people’s regular smoking rotation. I’d really like to see this one retailing for a few bucks less than it currently does, but judging by the word at my local shop, that’s not likely to happen. These smokes have been moving pretty quick. And hey, that must mean they’re priced just right!

The Verdict
When I smoked the first of these cigars with the guys at the Tinderbox, one of the employees asked me if the cigar reminded me of anything. The cigar that came to mind was exactly what he was thinking: one of the Rocky Patel Vintages. Having had the chance now to sit down, focus and take some notes on the cigar, I do think there are some similarities to both the Vintage 1990 and 1992.

And of course I like the Vintages, so it makes sense that I enjoyed this cigar as well. The thing that really won me over, though, was the great long finish these cigars had. The flavors alone were good to begin with and that evolving finish just made some of those puffs fantastic. And as a result, my smoking time slowed quite a bit and I smoked it down to a much shorter nub than I do in many cases.

I should mention that this is probably about a medium body cigar, and I think it would do best if you don’t save it for the last cigar of the day. In my case, I’m thinking I’d really enjoy one with my morning cup of coffee.

Liked It: Yes
Buy It Again: I’ll probably keep some on hand!
Recommend It: Yes, see for yourself how it compares to the Vintages

Tower of Burn
Here for your viewing pleasure is my trademark Tower of Burn.