Montecristo No. 2: A Popular Brand Worldwide
Montecristo No. 2: Humble Beginnings
The Montecristo brand began in 1935, when Alonso Menéndez purchased the Particulares Factory in Havana. At that time they produced two types of cigars: the Particulares and the Byron. After spending time in the factory, Menéndez decided to rename the brand “Montecristo” after the favorite book of his cigar rollers.
It was common practice in cigar factories across the world to have what were called “lectors” or readers. Hand rolling hundreds of Montecristo No. 2’s per day is tedious, strenuous work that can leave your mind to wander.
Lectors were factory workers who stood in the middle of the factory and read aloud, to entertain the laborers as they worked. Rollers would donate part of their wages to the lectors, in order to help them make up for the wages they lost while they read. The practice was common before the widespread use of the radio in Cuba. It died out in the 40’s and 50’s when radios became available, but lectors were often able to get jobs at the newly-created stations.
And so as Menéndez oversaw his factory, he noticed that his employees loved listening to their lectors read Alexandre Dumas’ classic novel The Count Of Monte Cristo.
He liked it so much that he took the name and thus the new brand was born: The Montecristo.
Montecristo No. 2: The Revolution and the Years After
Unfortunately for Menéndez, when Fidel Castro took power in 1960, he was forced to flee Cuba. The factory was nationalized by the Cuban government and has been run by them ever since.
But that would not be the last of the Menéndez family. Alonso Menéndez’s son Benjamin took over the family business. Benjamin became of the most well-known cigar makers in the world and dominated the United States market.
According to Cigar Aficionado:
“Menendez struck gold with the launch of Montecruz, an unapologetic copy of the Montecristo brand that his family had lost in Cuba. Made with Cameroon wrapper, a dark, toothy leaf that would soon prove a worthy substitute for Havana wrapper, Montecruz quickly became the No. 1 premium cigar in the U.S.”
Montecruz and Montecristo remain bitter rivals to this day.
Montecristo No. 2: What’s It Like Today?
For years Montecristo has been the number one brand of Cuban cigars in the world, headlined by it’s most popular cigar - the Montecristo No. 2.
About two million of the iconic cigars are hand-rolled every year. Only master rollers are allowed to get a shot at touching these because of the difficulty involved with rolling the pyramid shape. It can take a rolled two to three years to master it, meaning only the best of the best touch these cigars.
Because of it’s superior craftsmanship and the fact that only the best tobacco leaves are used during its production, the Montecristo No. 2 is one of the most sought after cigars in the world.
According to Cigar Aficionado:
“The Montecristo No. 2 continues to attract a lot of attention in auctions. It is not out of the ordinary for a box of well-kept Monte 2s with 20 or 30 years of age to fetch close to $3,000 in auctions in London.”
But the Montecristo is more than just hype. It is a cigar that always leaves its smokers satisfied. You don’t have to look far to see positive reviews pouring in for the cigar. It has plenty of five-star ratings on a number of cigar review websites, including this one from Cigar Inspector.
“I am constantly left amazed by its smoothness and power, and needless to say that Montecristo No. 2 are the most gorgeous cigars in my humidor. It's very hard to keep them aged though (at least few years recommended), I always want to smoke them immediately.”
Celebrities Who Smoke It
Bill Clinton: According to ex-secret service agents, former president Bill Clinton kept a stash of humidors on Air Force One. It has been said the Monte 2’s are his favorite type of cigars.
Jay-Z: The rap mogul is often photographed with a cigar in hand and has even created his own brand of cigar. But the star has a soft spot for the Montecristos
Robert Downey Jr.: When he’s not saving the world from bad guys, Iron Man likes to kick back and enjoy a Cuban. He’s said that the Montecristos are one of his favorites.
Montecristo No. 2: Overall
No matter who you are, this cigar is a classic and absolutely something I recommend for enthusiasts of all levels.
I always recommend the Monte’s to anyone I know who’s just getting into cigars. If you’re just getting started, this is a perfect cigar for you. It’s superior craftsmanship and quality will ensure you that you’ll get one of the best cigars in the world. It’s also a safe bet and makes a great gift for the cigar lover in your family.
For the enthusiasts out there who haven’t gotten a chance to taste a Monte yet, what are you waiting for?
If it’s good enough for the president, it’s good enough for you.
Format : Torpedo (Piramide)
Strength: Medium to Full
Size : 156 x 20.64 mm
Ring : 52
Weight : ~14 g
Price (1): ~$15
Price (Box of 15): ~$80
Price (Box of 25): ~$250