Montecristo (cigar)

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Cuban Montecristo branding
Cuban Montecristo cigar
A can of Montecristo Club cigars and branded lighter

Montecristo (Spanish pronunciation: [monteˈkɾisto]) is the name of two brands of premium cigar, the original produced in Cuba for Habanos SA, the Cuban state-owned tobacco company, and a relocated incarnation produced in La Romana, Dominican Republic for the Franco-Spanish tobacco monopoly Altadis SA, a division of Imperial Tobacco.

History[edit]

In July 1935, Alonso Menéndez purchased the Particulares Factory, makers of the popular Particulares brand and the lesser-known Byron. Immediately after its acquisition, he created a new brand named Montecristo.[1]

The name for the brand was inspired by the Alexandre Dumas, père novel The Count of Monte Cristo, which was supposedly a very popular choice among the torcedores (cigar rollers) in their factory to have read by the lector on the rolling floor. The now-famous Montecristo logo, consisting of a triangle of six swords surrounding a fleur-de-lis, was designed by John Hunter Morris and Elkan Co. Ltd., the brand's British distributor.

In July 1936, Menéndez founded a new firm with a partner, naming it Menéndez, García y Cía.[2] With the growing success of the Montecristo brand, the firm purchased the faltering H. Upmann Factory from J. Frankau SA in 1937 and transferred Montecristo production there. J. Frankau continued as sole distributor of the H. Upmann brand in the UK, while John Hunter Morris and Elkan Co. Ltd. was the sole distributor of Montecristo in Britain. In 1963, these firms mergec to become Hunters & Frankau, which today is the sole importer and distributor of all Cuban cigars in the UK.

Through the efforts of Alfred Dunhill (the company), the Montecristo brand became incredibly popular worldwide and to this day accounts for roughly one-quarter of Habanos SA's worldwide cigar sales, making it the most popular Cuban cigar in the world. Menéndez and García fled during the Cuban Revolution, and on September 15, 1960after which the Montecristo brand, the factory, and all assets were nationalized iby the government of Fidel Castro.[3]

Menéndez and García re-established their brand in the Canary Islands, but were later forced to quit due to trademark disputes with Cubatabaco (later known as Habanos S.A.). In the mid-1970s, the operation was moved to La Romana in the United States possession of the Dominican Republic and released for the US market, since Cuban government rights to the brand were not recognized under American law due to the 1960 nationalization and subsequent embargo. Menéndez, García, y Cía is now owned by Altadis S.A., who controls its distribution and marketing in the United States.

With Menendez and Garcia gone after 1959, one of the top grade torcedores, José Manuel Gonzalez, was promoted to floor manager and proceeded to breathe new life into the brand. In the 1970s and 1980s, five new sizes were added: the A, the Especial No. 1 and 2, the Joyita, and the Petit Tubo. Three other sizes, the Montecristo No. 6, No. 7, and B, were released but subsequently discontinued, though the B can occasionally be found in very small releases each year in Cuba. Through the 1970s and 1980s, Montecristo continued to rise in popularity among cigar smokers, becoming one of Cuba's top selling cigar lines.

Today[edit]

The Montecristo No. 2 is the most popular cigar in the world market.[citation needed] In 2004 the Edmundo was added, a large robusto-sized cigar named for the hero of Dumas' The Count of Monte Cristo, Edmond Dantès.

Montecristo is regularly chosen to be featured in Habanos SA's annual Edición Limitada selection of cigars with a darker vintage wrapper, and issues numerous limited editions of cigars for special occasions, anniversaries, the annual Habanos Festival, charities, etc.

In 2007, a cigar called the Edmundo Dantes Conde 109 was released as a part of Habanos' regional edition series. It uses a Montecristo blend and is believed to have a different name because of trademark right problems in Mexico.

A new, lighter-bodied line was released at the 11th Habanos Festival in February 2009. The planned name for the new line had been Sport, but because of EU regulations prohibiting marketing tobacco with sports imagery, the name was changed to Open with vitola names inspired by sports such as golf and yachting.

Montecristo also produces three machine-made cigarillos: the Mini, the Club, and the Purito.

Vitolas[edit]

A box of Cuban Montecristo Joyitas

The following list of vitolas de salida (commercial vitolas) within the Montecristo marque lists their size and ring gauge in Imperial (and Metric), their vitolas de galera (factory vitolas), and their common name in American cigar slang.

Hand-Made Vitolas

  • A - 914" × 47 (235 × 18.65 mm), Gran Corona, a grand corona
  • Edmundo - 538" × 52 (137 × 20.64 mm), Edmundo, a robusto
  • Joyita - 412" × 26 (114 × 10.32 mm), Laguito No. 3, a small panetela
  • Especial No. 1 - 712" × 38 (191 × 15.08 mm), Laguito No. 1, a long panetela
  • Especial No. 2 - 6" × 38 (152 × 15.08 mm), Laguito No. 2, a panetela
  • No. 1 - 612" × 42 (165 × 16.67 mm), Cervantes, a lonsdale
  • No. 2 - 618" × 52 (156 × 20.64 mm), Pirámide, a pyramid
  • No. 3 - 558" × 42 (143 × 16.67 mm), Corona, a corona
  • No. 4 - 518" × 42 (130 × 16.67 mm), Mareva, a petit corona
  • No. 5 - 4" × 40 (102 × 15.88 mm), Perla, a petit corona
  • Tubo - 618" × 42 (156 × 16.67 mm), Corona Grande, a long corona
  • Petit Edmundo - 438" × 52 (111 × 20.64 mm), Petit Edmundo, a petit robusto
  • Petit Tubo - 518" × 42 (130 × 16.67 mm), Mareva, a petit corona
  • Double Edmundo - 5.1" 50, Dobles, a robusto extra
  • Petit No. 2 - 4.7" x 52, Petit #2, a petit piramide
  • Media Corona - 312" x 44 , Half Corona, a petit corona

The Open Series

  • Eagle - 578" × 54 (149 × 21.43 mm), Geniales, a robusto extra
  • Junior - 438" × 38 (111 × 15.08 mm), Trabuco, a short panetela
  • Master - 478" × 50 (124 × 19.84 mm), Robusto, a robusto
  • Regata - 513" × 46 (135 × 18.26 mm), Forum, a pyramid

Edición Limitada Releases

  • Double Corona (2001) - 758" × 49 (194 × 19.45 mm), Prominente, a double corona
  • Robusto (2001) - 478" × 50 (124 × 19.84 mm), Robusto, a robusto
  • C (2003) - 558" × 46 (143 × 18.26 mm), Corona Gorda, a grand corona
  • D (2005) - 634" × 43 (171 × 17.07 mm), Dalia, a lonsdale
  • Robusto (2006) - 478" × 50 (124 × 19.84 mm), Robusto, a robusto
  • Sublime (2008) - 612" × 54 (165 × 21.43 mm), Sublime, a double robusto
  • Grand Edmundo (2010) - 5.9" x 52, Cañonazo, a robusto extra
  • 520 (2012) - 6.1" x 55, Maravillas No.3, a robusto extra

Edición Regional Releases

  • Edmundo Dantes El Conde (2007) - 714" × 50 (184 × 19.84 mm), No. 109, a double robusto

Special Releases

  • Millennium Reserve Robusto - 478" × 50 (124 × 19.84 mm), Robusto, a robusto
  • B - 538" × 42 (137 × 16.67 mm), Cosaco, a corona
  • Churchill Añejados - Aged Habanos Series - 7" x47, Julieta No.2, a Churchill

Vitolas (Dominican Montecristo)[edit]

The Classic Series (Connecticut-grown Connecticut shade wrapper)
The White Series (Ecuador-grown Connecticut shade wrapper)
Vintage Connecticut (all Connecticut tobaccos)

  • No. 1 - 612" × 44 (165 × 17.46 mm), a lonsdale
  • No. 2 - 614" × 52 (159 × 20.64 mm), a pyramid
  • No. 3 - 512" × 44 (140 × 17.46 mm), a corona
  • Robusto - 5" × 52 (127 × 20.64 mm), a robusto
  • Toro - 6" × 52 (152 × 20.64 mm), a toro
  • Churchill - 7" × 52 (178 × 20.64 mm), a julieta gorda
  • Tubo - 512" × 44 (143 × 17.46 mm), a corona, metal tube

Pilotico Pepe Mendez

  • No. 2 - 6" × 50 (152 × 19.84 mm), a pyramid
  • Robusto - 5" × 50 (127 × 19.84 mm), a robusto
  • Toro - 614" × 52 (159 × 20.64 mm), a toro

Grupo de Maestros

  • Private Batch
    • Private Batch I
    • Private Batch II (Wrapper: 2010 Oliva Los Rios (Ecuador) Sumatra; Binder: 2010 Villa Gonzalez (Dominica) Olor; Filler: Criollo ’98 and Corojo ’99)
      • 6" × 54 (152 × 21.43 mm), a toro
  • Artisan Series
    • Batch I - 6" × 54 (152 × 21.43 mm), a toro
  • Epic
    • Robusto - 5" × 52 (127 × 20.64 mm), a robusto
    • Toro - 6" × 52 (152 × 20.64 mm), a toro
    • Magnum - 6" × 60 (152 × 23.81 mm), a sesenta
    • Churchill - 7" × 56 (152 × 22.23 mm), a double corona
  • Espada
    (Wrapper: 2010 Jalapa (Nicaragua) Habano; Binder: 2009 Jalapa Habano; Filler: 2008 Jalapa Habano Seco, 2008 Jalapa Viso Ometepe, 2008 Condega (Nicaragua) Habano Ligero)
    • Ricasso - 5" × 54 (127 × 21.43 mm), a robusto
    • Guard - 6" × 50 (152 × 19.84 mm), a toro
    • Estoque - 6" × 50 (152 × 19.84 mm), a pyramid
    • Quillon - 7" × 56 (178 × 22.23 mm), a double corona
    • Magnum Especial - 6" × 60 (152 × 23.81 mm), a sesenta

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Habano Magazine, August Issue, 1935
  2. ^ Habano Magazine, August Issue, 1936
  3. ^ Savona, David, The Exodus, Cigar Aficionado, Nov/Dec. 2002
  • Nee, Min Ron - An Illustrated Encyclopaedia of Post-Revolution Havana Cigars (2003, Reprinted: 2005), ISBN 3-9809308-2-3

External links[edit]