Montecristo Especial LSO SEP 07

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Well it's not often that I get a chance to sit down in peace and write a review with the detail that I like. For me, doing a review is a labor of love; if I do not get the chance to do it right I do not want to do it at all. Chuck's passing has had me thinking of late and about 1030 this morning I said the hell with it and took the rest of the day off. It was just too beautiful out after such a god awful winter and I could hear my cigars calling.

Like Chuck, I too like the skinnies so I choose to smoke a Montecristo Especial in his memory. The box code is LSO SEP 07 and I picked this box up from Rob & Lisa early last summer.

The cigar is long and elegant with none of the toothy look you find on fat Montecristo #2. She has the feel of good brown paper. When you rub your fingers along the body you get that raspy feeling and sound. With a bit of swear on the fingers the sound diminishes and it feels more like living skin. There are no soft spots and the wrapper has that lovely barber pole look you can only admire on long skinnies. There's a nice and even bunch showing from the foot that makes you admire the skill of the roller. I gently removed just the cap hoping to find that little divot you sometimes get but no such luck. There was not much of a strong smell at the foot, but a whiff of the now exposed head gives off an earthy / loam smell with a touch of sweetness. It has a firm draw, perfect.

First Third

So I toast the foot at begin smoking this beauty at 1245. It starts of rather light, slightly creamy and the smoke gently coats the mouth and back of the throat. Right off the bat there are good coffee notes reminiscent of a light bodied Kona. There is a little sweetness through the nose and no spice. There is this great flavor that I cannot identify at the moment. Possibly sweetened condensed milk with a touch of fruit? I am taking Shrink's advice and I concentrate on taking deliberate and slow pulls, giving the cigar time to rest during inhalations. I get rewarded with a coffee and shortbread taste that has a hint of fruitiness like the shortbread cookies with the hardened fruit jelly fillings. Time to let the ash grow to about the 3/4" mark. I find that the ask is a must to draw out the subtle flavors in a skinny.

When I slowly exhale I get an odor of gas vapors like that from a gas station pump. It makes me think blue (always has). It is not unappealing, it is a great flavor and reminds me of the smell from an idling engine on a boat out on the water. Very pleasant. With about an inch of ash there is a trace of cedar in the taste. Nothing overpowering, just a waft here and there. This is a fun smoke!

1255 - I take a swig of water to clear out my mouth and blow through the cigar to expel the trapped gases. Taking a long, slow, and deep inhalation I get rewarded with that gasoline smell, coffee, shortbread with fruit, and cedar (in that order).

1300 - The ask gave way at about an inch exposing the coal. The density of the smoke is picking up nicely. After about 20 minutes of slowly pulling and evaluating the flavors I decided to just enjoy the rest of the first third. It's really a gorgeous day here in the Baltimore / DC area. The birds are all out and chirping away, yet there are not bugs yet. You have to love these early spring days of surprising warmth. Even rarer, there isn't a cloud in sight. There is an older pine in the back yard that cracked near the base last spring. It makes a pleasant creaking sound in the wind that helps you to relax and fall in tune with nature. Definitely adding to the charm of this experience.

1308 - There are some mushroom nuances poking through at the end of my exhales. The ash is tight, but has the flaky consistency of a croissant when it breaks. Looking down into the ash (like an examination of the foot prior to lighting) you get rewarded with a picture that looks like petrified tobacco leaves. A picture wouldn't do it justice as the dimensional aspect of depth is so important to the view.

On an aside note, my wife read one of the few reviews I posted about a year ago and is still mad that I write with such love about my cigars, yet she gets nothing in writing herself. I'll be in the doghouse for a year if she reads this one.

1315 - Getting near the end of the first third and just got hit with a huge milk / coffee taste that screams Monte #2. This is turning into a great smoke. These skinnies demand attention. Purposefully taking the time to NURSSE slow draws is crucial. I think I get the most memorable experiences smoking my skinnies because I consciously have to keep the cigar in its "zone."

1320 - There is a faint but subtle smell of mint / cucumber in milk like the taste of tzatliki. With the end of the first third I get surprised with a strong taste of stewed fruit you get from a RASCC.

1323 - The ash just dropped again at the one inch mark.

2nd Third

I let the cigar smolder for a bit to regain a bit of ash. The cigar gives off none of its subtle flavors without a good amount of ash on the foot. Seems to be a skinny thing. The opening salvo of the second third is the predominate light bodied coffee. What a great early afternoon treat! Felix, my youngest cat just came out to enjoy the smoke with me. The cats really seem to dig the smoke.

1330 - The flavor profile of this gal seems to be set. However, like a great baseball pitcher it keeps you on your toes with surprising twists in flavor. I just got the first indicator of any nose tingling spice, very faint. There is a residual taste of dried apricots in the mouth long after I exhale.

The spice is picking up ever slow slightly. Looks like I'm definitely into the second third. There is the same shortbread taste and coffee with a faint touch of cedar. Even with slow deliberate pulls the smoke comes pouring out in a dense tactile feeling that coats the mouth. When you close your eyes and concentrate upon the inhale you can feel the warmth of the smoke (not hot) caressing the tongue. It causes me to salivate which adds to the tactile feeling of the smoke.

1342 - The spice notes turn a bit to bitterness (1" of ash). I am pulling too often out of greed. need to give the cigar a rest for a couple of minutes.

I like to think Chuck is up there watching today and guiding this great experience.

1345 - After a few minutes of giving the cigar a break, I get rewarded with a nice stewed fruit taste. Just as I thought about it, the ash dropped off of its own accord right at 1". The fruit notes can only be coaxed out with the head of ash. Without it, the cigar reverts to the coffee / shortbread flavor with a touch of spice.

Jesus, I am at the one hour mark and still in the second third!

Last Third

1400 - There is about 3/4" ash on the cigar now. The flavor profile is changing. I have a bit of sour bitterness lingering in the mouth now. It's reminiscent of the feeling from tannins in a young bottle of Bordeaux. There is a sense of spiciness in the mouth now that has the same effect as spearmint. It gives you that fresh but anesthetized taste and feeling that can affect your sense of taste.

1405- The ash dropped a little earlier than expected. I am blowing through the cigar to get rid of trapped gases.

1407 - Looks like the cigar is going to finish with increasing spice and cedar notes on the nose with coffee edging towards a stronger more roasted flavor. There is now a hint of saddle-soaped leather. It's a nice change-up in the predominate flavor profile.

1410 - The strength of the tobacco is purposefully taking over. I'm getting to that jittery point you get from those long smokes where a cigar begins to kick your ass. Glad I'm just having water with this smoke. If I had a coffee of a drink I would be dazed at this point. Rapidly approaching the point of sensory overload. I have a strong nutty flavor in my mouth now that I'm hoping water will diminish. Some of this is probably from the increased heat of the burn since there is so little of the cigar now to pull an inhalation through.

1415 - In its own way, I think the cigar is trying to tell me that it is time to quit. What lovely coffee tastes though! Like that first cup on a morning that helps you to open your eyes.

1425 - Well she finally went out on her own accord, and I think it would be indecent at this point to try and fire her back up. This has been one of my most memorable smokes. Just a coincidence of the right timing, great atmosphere, and a damn fine cigar.


There is something "spiritual" about smoking great cigars that I'm sure we all feel but have a hard time translating into words. People who don't enjoy the pleasure of a good smoke just don't seem to understand. I think that is what we truly enjoy. It's like a runner's high, or that feeling you get from a vista such as Yosemite Canyon. It stirs the soul to such depths that that it must be felt to be properly conveyed.

Passion... It's what my wife saw in my other infrequent reviews and it made her jealous. I always laugh when doctors tell me to quit smoking. They just don't get it. It's experiences such as this that make life so great.

Chuck, wherever you are here's to you mate. It's been a pleasure knowing you through the forum.







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One of the most interesting reviews I've read. Good to hear that you enjoyed this cigar, at only a couple years of age, the Monte Especial won't reveal all of its secrets, but the quality of the tobacco is readily evident. Thanks!

P.S. If you get banished to the dog house, be sure that it's properly humidified and comfortable. Just take a lot of cigars and wait her out. She'll be right, mate!

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Excellent review of one of my favorite cigars! It's refreshing to see each third broken up in to a mini review. I agree that they could benefit with some more downtime. Thanks for the review!

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Great review mate, I just want to thank you for the passion you showed throughout, reading this review was the next best thing to actually smoking one with you I think.

Immensely looking forward to any future reviews with such heart.

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