Recently, Altadis released the Montecristo Epic, reviewed here, in 3 sizes, Churchill, Toro, and Robusto. At the same time, they announced a No.2 Pyramid version of the cigar using the same vintage 2007 tobacco but in different proportions. The entire Epic line is a limited production run, and once it is gone, it is gone.
Much like the rest of the Montecristo Epic line, each box will come with a card signed by the worker at each stage in the production of the cigar. Also, like the rest of the line, the box is a little more flashy and easily catches the eye of the consumer. The regular sizes of the Epic are fashioned in a yellow box with MC written in red. The No.2 box is a much sleeker shape and is silver and red with the MC etched in a slightly dark shade of grey.
Size: Pyramid (6 x 50)
Wrapper: Select Ecuadorian Habano
Filler: Special Selection of Vintage Nicaraguan & Dominican Tobaccos
Strength: Medium to Full
Cigars Smoked For Review: 3
Construction and Appearance: The Montecristo Epic No. 2 features two bands, the top one is the classic brown Montecristo band with a gold flor de lis , the second is a red band with silver writing which says Epic, then Selection ’07 below. The sample I smoked for review was given to me by an Altadis rep and only had the top band.
The wrapper of the Montecristo Epic No. 2 is a nice deep reddish brown with minimal veins and a rich oil to it. The sample I was given was slightly lighter than the full release box I found in a local B&M. The construction is excellent, the cigar is well packed with a nice heft to it.
Flavor and Notes: The wrapper of the Montecristo Epic No. 2 has notes of cocoa, coffee, and wood. The foot has a scent of caramel, cocoa, coffee, spice, and a little bit of earth. To prepare smoking the Montecristo Epic No. 2 I use a straight cut about half way down the torpedo tip and on the cold draw there are flavors of cocoa, caramel, earth, and a little cedar.
Smoking Characteristics: The Montecristo Epic No. 2 kicks off with a rich blend of caramel, espresso, cocoa, wood, earth, with some slight undertones of spice and pepper. The smoke is very smooth, creamy, cool, and rich, with each draw easily yielding a full body of smoke. After each draw there is a rich blend of cocoa, espresso, and wood which lingers long on the palate providing an excellent finish. During this first third there is also a very slight pepper which teases the palate while smoking. The strength is solidly in the medium range with a nice little mellow buzz setting in early on.
Into the second third of the Montecristo Epic No. 2, the espresso becomes a bit richer and starts to dominate the flavor profile. The undertones of chocolate, caramel, wood, earth, and spice are all still present. In this third, the pepper has faded out of the flavor profile, but a nice rich creamy flavor has joined the blend. Each draw provides an excellent finish with a rich cream and caramel lingering on the palate. The strength remains in the medium range during this third, not really increasing in anyway. The ash holds firm, well past the inch point, and the burn is very sharp.
During the final third of the Montecristo Epic No. 2, I am still being treated to the rich blend of sweet chocolate, espresso, caramel, wood, and earth. The flavors are simply tantalizing and extremely enjoyable. During this final third the pepper has reemerged as a slight undertone and joins the rich creamy finish between draws. The strength in the final third has also increased, and is nearly full in power. The construction remains excellent all the way down to the nub, with the ash holding firm and the burn requiring no attention at all.
Conclusion: Just like the Montecristo Epic Toro, I absolutely love the No. 2. There is certainly a difference in the flavor between the regular sizes of the epic (the toro, robusto, and churchill) and the pyramid vitola. I’ve smoked several toros and churchills since my original review, and I’ve found that if I smoked them even just a bit too fast I get a little pepper blast that reminds me to slow down and enjoy. While smoking the No. 2, I noted that I was unable to replicate this same effect. The flavors in the No. 2 are a bit more well rounded, and I enjoy it more than the yellow banded Montecristo Epics I’ve smoked.
The Montecristo Epic Toro actually ranked in at number 9 for our Top 15 cigars of 2012. Yet, if I had assessed the No.2 by the time the list was prepared, I would have still have selected the Toro vitola. The No. 2 is significantly higher in price than the yellow banded versions of the Epic. While it is a better smoke in my opinion, I don’t think it is a $6 better smoke.