First the Plasencias got their chance to blend Montecristo, now Altadis U.S.A. is giving cigarmaker A.J. Fernandez a shot—and he's making it strong. A collaboration between Fernandez and Altadis, the upcoming Monte by Montecristo AJ Fernandez represents the newest expression of the non-Cuban Montecristo brand. According to Altadis, the new Monte is blended for the "adult consumer demographic with a taste for stronger, bolder smoking experiences."
Monte by Montecristo AJ Fernandez is made in Nicaragua at the Tabacalera A.J. Fernandez Cigars de Nicaragua factory. Covered in a dark, Ecuadoran Habano wrapper, the cigar consists of a Nicaraguan Criollo '98 binder and a filler blend of Nicaraguan (Criollo '98) and Dominican (Piloto Cubano) tobacco.
The suggested retail price for the cigars will be between $10.50 to $11.25, and are offered in four box-pressed sizes: Corona, measuring 5 inches by 44 ring gauge; Robusto, at 4 1/4 by 54; Toro, 6 by 55; and Belicoso, 6 1/8 by 54. All come in 20-count boxes.
Although Montecristo is one of the most iconic brand names in the premium cigar business, Altadis has been quite open to new interpretations of the storied cigar over the last few years. In 2014, Altadis gave the Plasencias creative freedom with the Espada by Montecristo, a Nicaraguan Monte made at Plasencia Cigars S.A. The next year, the Plasencias created the Espada by Montecristo Estoque.
The Monte by Montecristo AJ Fernandez, however, isn't the first time that Fernandez has blended a Monte. Astute smokers will recall the Montecristo Crafted by AJ Fernandez, which was released last year primarily for Santa Clara Inc., the retail and catalog arm of Altadis U.S.A. This new iteration will have wider retail reach, as it's intended for brick-and-mortar tobacconists.
Altadis owns the U.S. trademark for Montecristo. Both Santa Clara and Altadis U.S.A. are run by Tabacalera USA, which is a branch of Imperial Brands PLC.
Full distribution of the Monte by Montecristo AJ Fernandez to all trade channels will begin in July at the IPCPR trade show.