Last year, one of the biggest tobacco growers in the world, the Plasencia family, gave the keys to their prized ‘tobacco vault’ to Montecristo. This was the first time for the two companies to collaborate together, and it gave birth to the Espada by Montecristo. Blended by Altadis USA’s Grupo de Maestros and crafted by Plasencia, Montecristo’s first Nicaraguan puro was born.
A year later, in 2015, the Espada is back, but this time with an additional name—ESTOQUE. The name stems from the famous sword logo seen throughout Montecristo’s branding—Espada, translating to “sword” and Estoque, being a specific type of sword used by Spanish Matadors. Just like the Espada from 2014, the ESTOQUE is an all-Nicaraguan cigar with more prized, aged tobaccos from the Placencia family. Along with three other releases from this year (including the 80th anniversary cigar), the ESTOQUE pays homage to Montecristo’s legacy, and celebrates the one year anniversary of the special relationship Montecristo now holds with the Plasencia family.
- Wrapper: Nicaraguan Cuban Seed Jalapa Vintage 2013 (Upper Priming Viso)
- Binder: Nicaraguan Criollo Jalapa Vintage 2002 (Seco)
- Filler: Estelí Corojo Vintage 2009 (Seco)
Ometepe Criollo Vintage 2013 (Viso)
Condega Criollo Vintage 2013 (Viso)
- Factory: Plasencia Cigars, S.A. (Nicaragua)
- Production: 5,000 boxes of 10 (50,000 cigars)
- Vitola: 6″ x 50 torpedo
- Price: $14.50
The presentation of the ESTOQUE is very similar to last year’s Espada. With nearly identical packaging and bands, the only major difference is last year’s brown and white color scheme, compared to this year’s black and chrome. In my opinion, yesteryear’s design suits Montecristo’s style much better than the slightly gothic, darker approach for 2015. Regardless, the ESTOQUE still looks exquisite, and continues the Espada trend of three ornate bands to decorate the darker, Cuban-seed wrapper.
The ESTOQUE’s wrapper appears much darker compared to the original Espada’s habano wrapper we saw last year (it looks much darker in person than online…). The wrapper itself is gorgeous, boasting an immaculate construction expected from any premium offering out of Plasencia. A smooth, dry wrapper and perfectly constructed torpedo cap join together beautifully, hiding most, if not all veins and seams.
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Once cut and lit, the Espada ESTOQUE makes a bold first impression. Very rich, deep flavors of earth, espresso, and spice burst forth with no hesitation. After the smoke got a chance to cool down, further notes of cocoa and pepper add to a great first bouquet of flavors. At first light, the retro-hale isn’t anything to write home about, producing nothing new to taste, only an added spice kick.
Burning into the first third, the cigar’s draw is too tight to handle, so I go for another cut. Disappointingly, it remains stiff—although manageable. Flavors burn on steadily, but the smoke feels light and wispy, delivering an unsatisfying mouth feel (most likely due to the tight draw).
A third cut (we’re getting uncomfortably close to the cigar’s body at this point) releases a slightly better draw, luckily causing no damage to the shoulder of the cap. With the added smoke output from a now-decent draw, the flavors amp back up a bit. Pepper and earth still dominate the flavors, with an added cream note on the finish. More background notes of leather, cocoa, spice, and espresso round out an extremely flavorful smoke. The retro-hale remains hot n’ spicy, and I refrained from exhaling any more smoke through the nostrils.
Closer to the nub, the draw finally opens up to a good pace. No flavor transitions, with a healthy mix of floral notes added in the second half. The body is a solid medium, but a larger smoke output could’ve led to a fuller cigar. Strength is on the mild to medium side, with no “overpower” issues whatsoever.
Would I smoke this cigar again?
Yes, although at the $14.50 price tag, it’s hard to justify. It is sad that they only released the ESTOQUE in a torpedo vitola, as I would love to try it as a robusto and expect that would help the draw problems. Regardless, this is a fantastic cigar that I would smoke any time—if only my wallet allowed.
- Long burn
- Complex flavors
- Stunning appearance
- Difficult draw
- Low smoke output
- Price doesn’t feel worth it