Anniversaries aren’t taken lightly in the cigar world, especially when it comes to brands as storied and significant as Montecristo. So when it turned 85 in 2020, Altadis U.S.A. collaborated with cigarmaker A.J. Fernandez in Nicaragua to do something quite special. The result was the Montecristo 1935 Anniversary Nicaragua—the finest non-Cuban Montecristo we’ve ever tasted.
Handling a heritage brand such as Montecristo can be a daunting task. On the one hand, certain tenets of the brand must be maintained, but on the other, there has to be some innovation. This is where Rafael Nodal has excelled. He’s the head of product capability for Altadis and collaborated with Fernandez to produce this divinely rich expression of Montecristo.
All the tobacco is from Nicaragua, grown on Fernandez’s farms, but Altadis is not divulging much else. Exact varietals and farm locations are a secret, which is uncharacteristic for the company. It’s no secret, however, that Fernandez likes to make bold, strong cigars, and that theme plays out beautifully here with a spicy, earthy backbone refined by notes of leather, coconut and malted milk.
Consider it a stroke of poetic justice that the No. 2, which is the most iconic Montecristo size, was the best performer of not only the entire brand, but one of the finest cigars of the year.