Montecristo cigars are one of the most famous cigars in the world. It is widely known for its distinct and sweet smelling aroma as well as its balance of flavor and strength which comes from its blend of tobacco leaves. As with several Cuban Cigars, it is a pre Cuban revolution brand and also has a counterpart brand in the Dominican Republic which is operated under the expert hand of Jose Seijas, a master cigar maker. The Cuban brand on the other hand is manufactured by Habanos S.A., the Cuban government owned company which is responsible for the distribution of Cuban cigars worldwide.
The Montecristo brand started with Alonoso Menendez, who purchased the Particulares Factory in Cuba in 1935. The Particulares factory produced the then popular Particulares cigar as well as the lesser known Byron brand. After Alonso Menendez purchased the factory, he soon created the Montecristo brand of cigars.
The name of the brand was taken from the Alexdre Dumas classic novel, The Count of Montecristo. It was said that this novel was a popular choice of the cigar rollers of the factory who were read the story as they worked in rolling their cigars.
In line with the sword fighting duels which took place in the novel, the logo of Montecristo was then designed to be a triangle made up of six swords, in the middle of this triangle was a fleur-de-lis. The logo was designed by John Hunter Morris and Elkan Co. Ltd. The designers were also the distributor of the brand in Great Britain.
The brand then grew in popularity and Menendez soon partnered with another firm and together they formed the Menedez, Garcia y Cia firm. With their position as one of the top cigar manufacturers at that time, they were able to purchase the H. Upmann factory in 1937. Montecristo then transferred its production for the Particulares Factory to the H. Upmann Factory, where production continues to this day. Both the H. Upmann brand and the Montecristo brand continued to be produced side by side, and in the 1960’s the two firms that distributed each cigar respectively merged into the Hunters and Frankau company, which distributed Cuban cigars to the UK.
The Montecristo brand continued to flourish thanks to the help of the Dunhill company. Today, Montecristo is responsible for roughly 25% of the global sales of Habanos S.A. the Cuban revolution brought with it the nationalization of all privately owned firms, including Montecristo. The owners, Menendez and Garcia then fled the country and reestablished the brand in the Canary Islands first, before moving to the Dominican Republic.
The Dominican Republic brand flourished in its sales in the USA as it was not technically a Cuban brand, and therefore was not part of the embargo of Cuban goods to the USA.
Originally, the Montecristo line was relegated to five numbered sizes, and they formed the so called Montecristo No. 1 to No. 5. after the Cuban Revolution, the government then assigned Jose Manuel Gonzalez, one of the top grade rollers, to the position of floor manager. It was under his time that Montecristo added five new sizes. These are the A, Especial No. 1 and Especial No. 2, the Joyita and the Petit Tubo. There were also other vitolas that were introduced but were subsequently discontinued. Of the discontinued vitolas, the Montecristo B can occasionally be still found in small releases every year in Cuba.
Montecristo remains today as the world’s most popular cigar brand, with the Montecristo No. 4 as its best seller in the global market.
Montecristo continues to produce the top selling cigars and the most beloved ones at that. In 2004, they released a special cigar called the Edmundo, so named after the hero of The Count of Monte Cristo. They also released a similarly named, Edmundo Dantes Conde 109, as a special edition which was named differently due to some trademark issues in Mexico.
The Montecristo Open was introduced in 2009, and it was a lighter bodied line. The name Open was taken as Montecristo wanted to evoke the image of Sport to the line through vitola names related to sports. However, advertising challenges in Europe prohibited the use of tobacco in sports advertising. Thus they used the Open name in relation to sporting activities such as yachting opens and golf opens.
While the Montecristo line features prominently Totalmente Hecho a Mano or 100%, totally made by hand cigars, they also have machine made vitolas. These are namely the cigarillos; Mini, club and Purito.
Worldwide, cigar aficionados have long admired the Montecristo brand for its wonderful smoke and flavor. It is a brand enjoyed by aficionados of all levels. The famous Montecristo No. 4 is reputed to be the best cigar for beginners, while the Montecristo No. 2 is considered to be the best of all cigars, and one which all cigars should be compared to.
Montecristo has always been one of the top brands when it comes to cigars. The Cuban Montecristo as well as the Dominican Republic Montecristo are reputed to deliver consistently good and enjoyable experiences when it comes to cigars.