Monte Pascoal Robusto

Up for review this week is a cigar I’ve been trying to get to all month, but an early and intense pollen season coupled with travel kept delaying it. (With any luck you’ll be reading this before April.) Though in truth, my interest in the Monte Pascoal extends all the way back to last years trade show, when I first learned of the existence of a Brazilian puro. That’s right, a Brazilian puro. I’ll bet that got your attention, it got mine.

In the process of writing up these reviews, I often do a great deal of Googling to compile a full picture of the cigar I’m smoking. This time I didn’t have to, thanks in large part to Tabacos Mata Fina Ltda and their distributor. They’ve done an excellent job of providing detailed information about the line on the Monte Pascoal website, and for that they deserve some recognition.

A single, simple page offers a summary of the company, the Monte Pascoal line, stats and pictures of each vitola and even the box count per size. And the best part? It’s free of unnecessary flash-driven navigation, slow-loading animations and speaker-blasting pizazz. No clicking, mouse-overing, dragging, dropping or volume-muting required, just relevant information. And if you’re looking for even more details there’s a downloadable PDF about their cigar making process, Brazilian growing regions, and even a full explanation of the box’s vista. Transparency is listed as one of their “3 basic strategic goals” and it shows, and I appreciate it.

[UPDATE: After completing the review, I learned that the official Monte Pascoal website is actually http://www.tabacosmatafinausa.com/, but I what I said about the other page holds true. Also, I don’t hate flash websites, some of them are very well done, I just like complete, easy to access information more. -BH]

Now back to the cigar. Here’s what the manufacturer has to say about the Monte Pascoal:

Monte Pascoal cigars are produced according to centuries old traditions and blended of rigorously selected Brazilian Mata Fina and Mata Norte tobaccos. The Mata Fina tobacco is characterized by complex aromas and an elegant bouquet, while the Mata Norte provides the full-bodied flavour most experienced cigar smokers enjoy. All of the cigars in the Monte Pascoal line are blended with these two tobaccos, in different proportions, allowing each smoking experience to be completely unique from one vitola (size) to another.

The Monte Pascoal is available in boxes of 25 in a variety of sizes, mostly favoring smaller ring gauges. The complete list: Minutos (4 3/8 x 42), Corona (5 5/8 x 42), Petite Robusto (4 x 50), Robusto (4 7/8 x 50), Belicoso (5 1/2 x 52) and Double Corona (7 5/8 x 49).

Now that we’re fully informed, let’s burn this Brazilian.

Cigar Stats:
Size: 4 7/8 x 50
Wrapper: Brazilian Mata Fina
Binder: Brazilian Mata Fina
Filler: Brazilian Mata Fina and Mata Norte
Smoking Time: 1 1/2 hours
Beverage: Water
Source: Purchased by reviewer
Price: MSRP $6.80

The Pre-Smoke
The Monte Pascoal has a low-key traditional appearance, with a familiar looking band and a rustic, borderline maduro-hued wrapper. The veins are few in number and about medium in size. A few of the cigars I smoked for this review had very toothy, oily wrappers. The sticks without tooth tended to also look considerably less oily than the others. It’s not really a flaw, but the triple cap the cigars was unusually small. It looked a little like the sticks were wearing yarmulkes.

The majority of the cigars were very firm and consistent to the touch, though I noted one stick was a little softer than the rest, and had a somewhat inconsistent feel. The wrapper aroma varied a bit from cigar to cigar, some smelled chocolaty, others had a funky salami-like aroma. With the exception of one stick that was slightly tight, the draw was good, and had a surprising amount of rich sweetness to it.

The Burn
Aside from a slight tightness of the draw in one case, and the slanted burn shown in the tower of burn below, the Monte Pascoal burned like a champ. Long, even, compact ashes, good draw, ample mouth-coating smoke. So really, there’s nothing to see here, move along to the important stuff, the flavor.

The Flavor
The intial puffs of the Monte Pascoal had rich creamy earth, coffee and a little syrupy sweetness to offer. A creamy, orange-y sweetness picked it up from there and the earth and coffee flavors receded as the cigar warmed up. The earth, when it returned, as it did intermittently in this third, was reminiscent of the earthiness of a Liga Privada T52, though much sweeter here.

Around the beginning of the second third the cigar was producing a lot of caramel and grassy sweetness with cinnamon and earth lingering in finish. As more and more of the stick turned to ash, the sweetness began change and withdraw, revealing more of the grassy element, reintroducing earthiness and hinting at the cedar and spice to come.

The cedar, grass and white pepper that began to take over the profile around the final third was right on cue. As involved as the sweetness of the first half was, had it carried through to the end, it would have been overwhelming. But as blended, the final third really shines, making it hard not to nub this cigar.

The Price
For something as unique as a Brazilian puro, the manufacturer probably could placed a higher premium on this Monte Pascoal. But they didn’t, and without a doubt this cigar is worth every penny.

The Verdict
The simple, traditional band, and the smaller average sizes (and ring gauges) of the Monte Pascoal might make it easier to overlook at the cigar shop, but doing so would be a mistake. This stick isn’t just a exotic marketing gimmick, it’s a great smoke, and a reasonably priced one to boot. It may not deliver the nicotine punch some people are looking for, but with me flavor is king, so it didn’t matter. I found the rich, continually evolving profile thoroughly satisfying.

I think I’ve given this advice before, but it holds true here too. Buy one and smoke it before you leave the shop. It will save you the gas and time it would take to drive back and buy more. As for me, the only reason I don’t have a box yet is I haven’t figured out where to put it. Once I have the space, there’s a box with my name on it.

Liked It: Box-worthy
Buy It Again: Yes
Recommend It: Yes

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