Cigar Aficionado’s review: Although Cigar Aficionado has rated this cigar no less than 25 times over the past 15 years, the ratings have consistently been in the high 80’s and low 90’s. The rating that I will cite for the purposes of this article is the following from June 2006: A chunky torpedo with some veins that has a fine draw. It has wonderful flavor: sweet cedar, toasted vanilla, and some mineral notes. Its rich now, and should blossom into a classic with age. Medium to full bodied.
My review begins with a story behind the story. I had a good friend who was a cigar connoisseur. Although his knowledge of cigars was encyclopedic, his favorite cigar was Montecristo Number Two. One time, during a port visit in Gibraltar, he bought a box of 20 cigars at the acclaimed Lewis Stagnetto in Gibraltar. I forgot the exact cost of the cigars, but it came out to approximately $400. Although he put most of the cigars in his humidor for the remainder of our deployment, he did share one with me, and I am truly glad that he did. We were underway a few weeks later in the deployment, and smoked our cigars on the fantail of our ship as the sun set in front of us.
A few years later, I was traveling through the Dubai airport, and had some spare time to go through their duty free shop, which was supposed to be the world’s biggest and cheapest duty free store. I noticed that the same box of Montecristo Number Two cigars cost the equivalent of approximately $250, and immediately scooped it up. Since I was stationed in Italy at the time, I did not have to worry about going through customs, and was able to enjoy these cigars at my leisure.
Approximately four months later, I was given short notice orders to deploy, and still had about 15 of these beautiful cigars left. While I went through a lot of hurried deployment preparation (see my other article, How to Prepare for a Sudden Deployment), one of my primary fears was the care and safekeeping of my cigar investment. At the time, I did not have a very good humidor, and did not trust my wife to tend my cigars every week as was required. I ended up making the difficult decision to put them in the freezer until after I returned from deployment.
After six months, my good friend came out to relieve me in my assignment. Before he came, I asked him to grab a couple of Montecristos from my freezer so that we could have one during our turnover. He did so, and a couple of nights after he arrived, we sat outside one evening after a long day to smoke them. After my first puff, I turned to him and said, “This cigar was preserved very well for having been in the freezer for the past six months!” He nodded in agreement and smiled. After I came home, my wife surprised me with a brand new humidor which she had been storing my cigars during the deployment.
While the Montecristo Number Two defines the quintessential Cuban cigar experience, my fondest memory of this cigar rests in the camaraderie that was shared on those two particular evenings. Every time I smoke a Montecristo, I think of the good friends I’ve had, and of course, my beautiful wife, to whom I will always be grateful.