Montecristo Cigars: Astonishing History Behind the Brand
Montecristo Linea 1935 Maltes Cigar
BIGGEST SELLING. BOOK INSPIRED. GLOBAL POWER
Our fifth editorial series: Behind the Brand, continues with exploring the marvellous and riveting history of one of the biggest and most successful names of Cuban Cigars online – Montecristo Cigars. In the series so far we have covered:
Every Cuban cigar smoker has enjoyed at least one Montecristo cigar. To call yourself an enthusiast without having experienced the brand, is like claiming you love cars but have never heard of Rolls Royce or Ferrari. This isn’t an overstretch, as Montecristo Cigars count for a quarter of worldwide sales for Habanos SA, around 50% of Havana’s yearly exports, and the cigars are consistently used as a benchmark for other to compare. A man who turned his nose up at what was being crafted, established a name which would alter the tobacco industry, and further recognise Cuban cigars as the best cigars in the world to smoke.
A FAVOURITE BOOK – In the summer of 1935, cigar maker Alonso Menendez purchased the Particulares Factory. The cigars were relatively unknown, and Menendez, determined to leave his own stamp, wanted change. The torcedores (cigar rollers) in the factory, adored The Count of Monte Cristo – a novel by Alexandre Dumas published in 1845. As we shared on our post: Cuban Cigar Traditions Still Used Today, storytellers would read to torcedores who were allowed to request reading material.
Top Left: Montecristo brand logo, Bottom Left: Montecristo Linea 1935 Leyenda Cigar, Right: Montecristo Linea 1935 Cigar range
"delectable medium to full flavours"
LOGO DESIGN – The book is based on the story of Edmond Dantes who was framed into imprisonment by three men. Dantes seeks revenge and claims justice. Torecedores requested to listen to the tale repeatedly, which inspired Menendez to create the name Montecristo. The Montecristo Cigars logo is designed by the brand’s British distributor John Hunter Morris and Elkan Co. LTD, which features a triangle with six swords surrounding a flower. The logo takes inspiration as well from The Count of Monte Cristo. Montecristo itself means mountain of Christ.
POPULARITY AND H. UPMANN – Montecristo Cigars gained popularity due to their delectable medium to full flavours, suiting a variety of taste palettes. With the brand prospering well, Menendez partnered with Jose “Pepe” Garcia and together formed Menendez, Garcia y Cia as a company. In 1937, they bought the H. Upmann Factory and moved Montecristo Cigars production. Success continued and both cigar brand advanced in profits.
NATIONALISATION – Once the Cuban government took over, Menendez and Garcia fled to the Canary Islands with barely a penny to spare. Menendez created a new cigar brand with his son called Montecruz. They mimicked Montecristo’s design, including the opulent Cameroon wrappers. Legal battles meant Montecruz moved to the Dominican Republic, where the cigars became best-sellers in the US. Menendez began creating Dominican Montecristo Cigars, however the non-Cuban substitute doesn’t compare or live up the original brand still produced in Cuba.
Top Left: Fidel Castro, Top Right: Montecristo Open Master Cigar, Bottom: Montecristo Edmundo Cigar
"the brand became tremendously popular"
TORDECOR TO LEADER – Fidel Castro’s nationalisation didn’t alter much of the brand, though it did create the addition of a habano with a cedar lined tube. With the government in charge, one of the factory’s greatest torcedors Jose Manuel Gonzalez, was promoted to floor manager and helped turn Montecristo to an international success. He added a selection of new cigars, including the Especial range. The Montecristo Especial No. 2 Cigar is arguably one of the finest cigars made. With a long Laguito No. 2 Vitola, the flavour profile combines coffee, spice, sweet cinnamon with a peppery kick. Montecristo’s original line consisted of just five different sizes.
WORLDWIDE SUCCESS – Gonzalez helped Montecristo to achieve worldwide recognition. The biggest pioneer of the brand’s global triumph however, is through the work of the Alfred Dunhill company. It was during the 70s and 80s when the brand became tremendously popular. The Montecristo No 4 Cigar is the world’s best selling; smooth, earth toned and hinted with spice. Another quintessential smoke is the Montecristo No. 2 Cigar. A torpedo shaped head, the habano is perfectly balanced and infuses delicious wood and cinnamon together.
NEWEST CIGARS – At the 15th Habanos Festival, the Montecristo Double Edmundo Cigar was presented. The double grants more than an hour’s worth of smoking, and is luxuriously presented in a dark, rich colour. The Open Series was launched in 2009 and aimed at a new generation who prefer to smoke more casually and with a lighter flavour. There is for instance, the Montecristo Open Master Cigar. Notwithstanding, in 2017, Montecristo released perhaps their most prestigious. Full-flavoured, made totally by hand with long filler, and wrapped in a Carmelite wrapper – Linea 1935 collection. Three different cigars such as the Montecristo Linea 1935 Leyenda Cigar.
Celebrity beloved – we shared which ones on The Art Between a Creative and Their Cuban Cigar, aficionado favourite, and chosen by cigar smokers across the world. Montecristo Cigars have an enduring history, and are some of the best cigars for sale online.