Altadis USA has rolled out the full Monty—Montecristo to be more exact. This year, Altadis made a large push behind the Montecristo brand at the IPCPR trade show by introducing four new versions of this ever-growing line, each completely different than the other.
The central release was the Monte by Montecristo AJ Fernandez. It's a regular-production brand made by A.J. Fernandez in Nicaragua and a full-bodied interpretation of this iconic brand as imagined by Fernandez. More than simply a new blend, it represents Altadis's aggressive efforts to keep its heritage lines relevant and interesting to today's smoker of premium cigars, many of whom gravitate towards stronger smokes.
Monte by Montecristo AJ Fernandez comes in four sizes—Toro, Robusto, Corona and Belicoso—and retails from $10.80 to $11.25. It's a blend of Ecuador Habano wrapper, a Nicaraguan binder and a filler combination of Nicaraguan and Dominican tobacco.
A.J. Fernandez isn't the only third-party cigarmaker experimenting with Montecristo. Grower and cigarmaker Nestor Andrés Plasencia has also been given creative freedom and came up with Montecristo Espada Estoque. The Estoques first came out in 2015 with vintage-specific tobacco and now it's back as a limited edition featuring Corojo in the filler from what is said to be a 2002 crop. Estoques are made in Nicaragua by Plasencia Cigars S.A. and come in one size, a Torpedo called No. 2. Consisting of only Nicaraguan tobacco, the Estoques will retail for $15 each. Only 2,500 boxes of 10 were made.
Two more Montes were on full display at the trade show, but Altadis decided to keep production of these in house: The Montecristo Artisan Batch II and the Montecristo Grupo de Maestros Private Batch III. Both are limited editions and both are made in the Dominican Republic at Altadis' Tabacalera de Garcia factory.
Altadis has reprised its Artisan series with Batch II, a 6 by 50 toro that consists of an Ecuadoran Habano wrapper, Indonesian binder and filler from Nicaragua, Colombia and the Dominican Republic. These will retail for $18 each.
Back for a third act, the Grupo de Maestros Private Batch III come in large, 100-count chests, a packaging format that you don't see much of in today's market. The chest holds 100 belicosos set to retail for $16. Only 300 boxes were made. This year's private batch consists of a Nicaraguan wrapper Dominican binder and a filler combination of Dominican, Nicaraguan and Peruvian tobacco. The Grupo de Maestros are Altadis' band of blenders.
While Monte by Montecristo AJ Fernandez is already available, the rest of the new brands should be on the market by September, bringing Altadis's Montecristo portfolio to 15 different lines.