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Learn with Lewis - Montecristo

 

 

As an apprentice, my role is extremely varied within the business here at C.Gars Ltd.

I am extremely interested in the cigars, whisky and other products we have to offer and enthusiastic to learn about them.

Follow me along on this learning journey, as I take you through what I have learnt about our brands so far; hopefully you can learn something new too!

 

Today I have been learning about the brand Montecristo.

 

In July 1935, Alonso Menéndez acquired the Fábrica de Particulares, manufacturer of the popular Particulares and the lesser-known Byron brands, and immediately after the takeover founded a new brand called Montecristo.

The brand's name was inspired by Alexandre Dumas' novel The Count of Monte Christo, which was reportedly a very popular choice among his factory's torcedores on the rolling floor. A triangle of six swords surrounding a fleur-de-lis was designed by John Hunter Morris and Elkan Co. Ltd., the brand's British distributor.

In July 1936, Menéndez and a partner founded a new company called Menéndez, García y Cía. With the growing success of the Montecristo brand, the company bought the stalled H. Upmann factory (founded in 1844 by Hermann Dietrich Upmann) from J. Frankau SA in 1937 and relocated the Montecristo production there. J. Frankau continued to be the exclusive distributor of the H.Upmann brand in Great Britain, while John Hunter Morris and Elkan Co. Ltd. was the only Montecristo dealer in the UK. In 1963 these companies merged to form "Hunters and Frankau", which is now the sole importer and distributor of all Cuban cigars in Great Britain.

Thanks to the efforts of the company Alfred Dunhill, the Montecristo brand became incredibly popular around the world and to date accounts for about a quarter of Habanos SA's global cigar sales, making it the most popular Cuban cigar in the world. Cuban Revolution and on September 15, 1960, after which the Montecristo brand, factory and all assets were nationalized by the government of Fidel Castro.

Menéndez and García re-established their brand in the Canary Islands, but were later forced to resign due to trademark disputes with Cubatabaco (later known as Habanos SA). In the mid-1970s, the operation moved to La Romana and was released to the US market as the Cuban government's rights to the brand were not recognized due to the 1960 nationalization and subsequent embargo under US law. Menéndez, García, y Cía is now owned by Altadis SA, which controls sales and marketing in the United States.

With Menendez and Garcia gone after 1959, one of the top grade torcedores, José Manuel González, was promoted to floor manager and proceeded to breathe new life into the brand. In the 1970s and 1980s, five new sizes were added: the A, the Especial No. 1 and 2, the Joyita, and the Petit Tubo. Three other sizes, the Montecristo No. 6, No. 7, and B, were released but subsequently discontinued, though the B can occasionally be found in very small releases each year in Cuba. Through the 1970s and 1980s, Montecristo continued to rise in popularity among cigar smokers, becoming one of Cuba's top selling cigar lines.

Today, Montecristo is the brand that sets the benchmark for all Cuban brands.

 

Let’s have a look at some cigars from different lines:

 

Brand and Vitola Size Tasting notes

The Open Range

From 4 3/8" length and 38 Ring Gauge  Perfect for a new smoker and cigar aficionado alike. Lots of earthy, leathery and sweet notes.

Edmundo

5 1/3" length
52 Ring Gauge

A consistent smoke from start to finish. Cedar, leather, pepper and hints of orange peel in the middle.

Especial

7 1/2" length
38 Ring Gauge
A sweet/spicy taste that develops into sweet, vanilla pod flavours.

Supremos

5 1/4" length
55 Ring Gauge 
This medium to full bodied cigar provides an hour or so of classic ‘tangy’ Montecristo taste, with the dark wrapper providing a slightly sweet top-taste to the blend and the extra ageing of all the leaves ensuring a rounded, smooth smoke.

1935 Dumas

5 1/4" length
49 Ring Gauge 
"...Finely constructed with a three-seam cap, this robusto is a predominantly woody smoke with hints of cinnamon and a sweet note of pecan sandie cookie..." - Cigar Aficionado

 

 

Summary

So, what have we learnt today?

Today we learnt about the rise of what can arguably be considered the most popular brand amongst Cuban brands. Montecristo sure had an interesting start-up, and it sure is interesting to know how if José Manuel González didn't overtake as floor manager, the blends and lines we all know and love may not have been seen today!

 

I hope you enjoyed today’s blog of Learn with Lewis, and I hope you learnt something new! Until next time, take care and happy smoking!

Lewis

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