While in Germany, I picked up a box of Montecristo Edicion Limitada 2003 C cigars to bring back home to the US. Everywhere you hear the mantra about Cuban cigars being "the best in the world", so I jumped at the chance to pick up a full sealed box of this well-known brand. It's a limited edition, no less, how could I go wrong? Out of paranoia, I took the bands off of them to thwart the customs agents, but they didn't even look in my bag. Go figure.
I've had a few of these Montecristo EL's on and off for the past few months, but didn't pay much attention to them while smoking them, nor was I left with any lasting impression (good or bad). So it was time to have another shot at it, paying more attention to the taste for a formal review.
The cigar itself is roughly (but not quite) robusto size, has immaculate construction, and has a gorgeous reddish-brown wrapper that looks so appealing in the sunlight. However, despite me wanting to love this smoke -- especially after all of the effort I went through to bring it back -- I just couldn't get excited about it.
Sure, it burned wonderfully, with a straight and true ash, but the draw was a bit difficult. More important were the flavors that came through on each draw: quite a mild nutty/leathery taste, with some very fleeting hints of spice. The aftertaste was somewhat unpleasant, with notes of ashtray mingling freely with a whispers of pesticide/soap. It's not as bad as it sounds, the aftertaste wasn't horrible, it just wasn't pleasant either.
About halfway through the smoke, I was just going through the motions, smoking it just to finish it. About 3/4 of the way through, I decided to put it out of its misery and toss it. I don't think this is just a case of a bad cigar, because it smoked similarly to the other cigars I've had from the box. History repeated itself.
And yes, I am quite sure these were real Cubans, and not fakes/knockoffs. I almost wish they were. Padrón/Fuente have nothing to fear from this particular cigar: while it isn't bad, it isn't something I'd look forward to pulling out of the humidor and smoking, Cuban moniker or not. Limited edition or not. Oh well.
Smoking it was like having a conversation with a rather dull person: not unpleasant, but rather superficial, uninteresting, and not something you look forward to in the future.