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Connoisseur’s Corner: A 98-Point Montecristo

Montecristo no. 5

96
Bolivar Royal Corona (2006)

This Bolivar is from the same vintage that was named Cigar of the Year. More than a decade later, it’s still a rich smoke, though earth, coffee and leather are now in the background. Nuttiness has taken center stage, showing pistachio, almond and hazelnut, brought together by a creamy hint of nougat sweetness. We predicted that this cigar would get better with age. We were right. —Gregory Mottola

95
Hoyo De Monterrey Epicure No. 1 (1991)

I took this slim, elegant smoke from a cabinet of 50, where it’s been patiently sleeping for more than 25 years. It took greedily to the flame, and had a mellow flavor at first, with a light almond quality. Later, a wonderful note of honey and graham cracker emerged, sprinkled with a touch of earth on the finish. A pleasant, elegant and supremely balanced smoke. —David Savona

94
Arturo Fuente Añejo S.S.S. Shark No. 77 (2007)

A dark, imposing figurado with a dark and toothy broadleaf wrapper. It was all leather and pepper in its youth, but 11 years of age have tempered its strength. It takes on a cocoa note at the start, then shows some lighter hints of that old leather quality. The finish has a touch of sweetness mixed in with the hearty wood. It’s still strong, but not the unbridled powerhouse it was 10 years ago. —David Savona