Altadis U.S.A.'s elite group of cigarmakers and blenders, the Grupo de Maestros, has again made one of their private blends public, but it won't be around for long. The Montecristo Grupo de Maestros Private Batch II is the second installment in the limited-edition series, which pays homage to the group's 250 years of combined experience in the cigar business. The cigars are on their way to retailers now, but only 250 boxes of 100 cigars each will be released.
According to Altadis, Private Batch II comprises a variety of vintage-dated tobaccos. An Ecuadoran Sumatra wrapper from a 2013 harvest surrounds a Nicaraguan binder (circa 2012) and a mix of Dominican piloto and Nicaraguan fillers from 2009 and 2011, respectively. The cigars will come in one size only, a 6 inch by 50 ring gauge Toro.
Private Batch II, which retails for $15 per cigar, is adorned with the iconic Montecristo fleur-de-lis band with a slightly frayed secondary band indicating which of the 250 boxes the cigar comes from. The boxes themselves are old cedar shelves that have been transformed into specially numbered crates and are wrapped in burlap printed with a mural of the Grupo de Maestros themselves.
The original Montecristo Grupo de Maestros Private Batch was released in early 2015 as a limited run of 2,500 vitolas measuring 6 inches by 54 ring gauge. The blend featured vintage-dated tobacco, which included an Ecuadoran Sumatra wrapper, but from a previous harvest in 2010.
The Grupo de Maestros are led by Javier Elmudesi, general manager of Tabacalera de Garcia in the Dominican Republic. The team is responsible for blending a number of cigars for Altadis including Romeo by Romeo y Julieta, Montecristo Epic and most recently Henry Clay Stalk Cut, which averaged 90.3 points in a recent vertical tasting by Cigar Insider.
[Update: Price of cigar.]