Alonso Menéndez purchased the Particulares factory in July 1935 in Havana, Cuba and also took over the brands that were created there. Shortly after, he introduced the Montecristo brand, named after Alexandre Dumas’ novel The Count of Monte Cristo, which was a popular choice amongst the Torcedores (cigar makers). Now the Montecristo brand is created in the Tabacalera de Garcia factory in the Dominican Republic under the watchful eye of cigar master José Seijas. Remaining one of the most popular brands in world, Montecristo also is believed by many to be the standard by which all other cigars are judged.
Debuting at the 2016 IPCPR (International Premium Cigar & Pipe Retailers Association) Convention & Trade Show, the Montecristo Pilotico Pepe Mendez commemorates Pepe Mendez, a Cuban exile who many acknowledge as being responsible for achieving better consistency and cleaner flavors out tobaccos. He is also credited for discovering “El Cibao”, a region in the Dominican Republic known for its fertile soils and rocky terrain. It was there that Mendez planted his famed Pilotico seeds and became one of the first growers of Dominican fillers for cigars. This stogie has a chocolate brown Ecuadorian Sumatra wrapper, a zesty Dominican binder, and Nicaraguan and Dominican Pilotico fillers. This cigar was recently featured in the June 2017 edition of the Robb Report, which praised Montecristo’s use of the rare and flavorful Pilotico tobacco. Medium in body, expect flavors of leather, caramel, and walnut. Pair it with an Old Fashioned for happy hour.
The Nicaraguan cigar industry originated when Cuban cigar makers escaped the revolution and re-established their livelihood in Nicaragua with Cuban-seed tobacco. Blessed with dark, rich soil, their new home was ideal for tobacco cultivation and Nicaragua quickly became known for cigars that rivaled Cuban quality. Unfortunately, revolution and war came to Nicaragua in the 1980s and devastated the industry, but it’s rebounded dramatically and is once again producing tobacco considered by many to be the finest in the world.
The Esteli Valley is in many ways the heart of Nicaraguan production and is known for its very powerful and spicy tobacco. The Jalapa Valley produces arguably the finest tobacco in the country: somewhat sweeter and less intense than Esteli, but extremely complex. The tobacco of the Condega Valley is often described as a blend of the other two regions.
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