It took Cuba 33 years to introduce a new vitola to the Montecristo brand — the Montecristo Edmundo, so named after a character from Alexander Dumas’ famous novel, The Count of Montecristo. Has it been worth the wait? In a word: YES. In 3 words? OH GOD YES!

Packaged in a plain cedar box (semi boitre nature – SBN), the spartan-ness of the presentation is immediately appealing. Imagine the packaging for a Partagas Serie D #4, slightly larger and you’ve got an idea what it looks like. Cracking the box open, i was greeted by a sight for sore eyes — a magnificent display of cigar making expertise. The Edmundo measures 5.3 inches with a 52 ring gauge, an entirely new factory size that is unavailable in any other Habanos brand.

First launched in France, the initial batch will have a box code of LLN ABR 04 (Joe Marti factory, April 2004). The box i received is LLN MAY 04, so this is perhaps one of the early batches leaving the factory. Just as the first batches of Siglo VI were magnificent, i think the first batch of Edmundos are of a quality that is testamony to the care and detail given to a cigar that is trying hard to make a good first impression with the market.

Nice heft in the hand

Visually, this cigar is undoubtedly top class. A lucious natural wrapper, very little apparent veining, slick with a healthy coating of oils — this cigar feels like fine China silk as i ran my fingers over it. Twirling it in my hand, the heft is just right, about 15 grams in weight. Nicely spongy to the pinch, there are absolutely no hard spots anywhere — a mark of quality construction. I could almost tell that this cigar was going to smoke and burn marvelously.

Perfectly even burn

The scent test provided a hint of things to come. Fresh tobacco with a huge punch of cedar twisted in. Its important to note that, unlike some other 03 or even 02 boxes of other cigars i currently have, there is not a hint of ammonia as i put the full box to my nose. A lot, and i mean a lot of care went into the leaf that made this cigar and its subsequent after-rolling storage.

Still even at half-way

Alright moment of truth. The cap sliced off nicely, and as i toasted it under a strip of cedar, i was rewarded by some very pleasant aromas — a nice tangy burst that just screams, “I AM MONTECRISTO!”

Very little tar buildup — excellent fermentation

The draw is very good, though just a bit on the tight side, but no where near causing a problem. This cigar plays no games in the flavour department. Almost immediately, it took me straight to the till and made me yell out in pleasure. The classic Montecristo blend is found in adundance: a sweet, very distinct woody flavour laced with pinches of vanilla and spice. As the cigar burned through to half-way, little grassy knots of deep musk came to the fore, and the spiciness picked up considerably. Pretty soon, this flavour filled my palate pleasurably and there was very little left much to do but enjoy the ride. Anyone who wants to know what Montecristo is supposed to taste like, this is the cigar that will tell you how.

A lot of goodness here…

The burn was remarkably consistent and even, each draw bringing forth a plume of thick, fragrant smoke. Not a single touch-up or relight required. Quite amazing since this box had just undertaken a journey of many thousands of miles and i had given it absolutely no time to rest in the humidor. Good out of the box, just nice for the impatient person such as myself.

(Image lost) To the stub — it never once got hot, even under heavy puffing

Verdict: This cigar is DA BOMB. Without doubt, its among the top 5 cigars i’ve smoked this year, and that’s saying a lot for a year packed with Opus, VSG, Padrons, Cohibas and Trinidads. Doesn’t deliver a very strong nicotine punch, but has flavours that are to die for. I simply cannot recommend this cigar any higher, and its most deserving of My Cigar Blog’s Highest Possible Recommendation. Don’t wait. Get this cigar now!