Rafael Nodal of Altadis U.S.A. has been rummaging through Nestor Plasencia’s vast tobacco warehouse again looking for just the right leaf to create the next Montecristo blend. He found it. And next month, retailers will see a new edition of Espada by Montecristo, but this time, the strength has been dialed down a bit.
Called Espada by Montecristo Signature, the upcoming, limited-edition brand is billed as medium bodied and made entirely from Nicaraguan tobacco. It’s another collaboration between Nodal, who serves as head of product capability for Altadis, and tobacco grower Nestor Andrés Plasencia. According to Altadis, its team of blenders, known as the “Grupo de Maestros,” had input on the project as well.
Espada by Montecristo Signature consists of a colorado claro wrapper grown in the Jalapa region, along with binders and fillers from Estelí. The claro classification means that it’s lighter in color than the typical reddish-brown shade of normal colorado cover leaf. Made in one size called Valiente, Signature measures 6 inches by 55 ring gauge, and is packaged in boxes of 10, which will retail for $150, or $15 per cigar. Only 10,000 boxes are being produced.
The ongoing Espada by Montecristo concept started in 2014, and was conceived by Altadis and the Plasencias to highlight vintage-specific tobaccos and the diverse growing regions of Nicaragua. When it debuted, it was the first all-Nicaraguan cigar in Altadis’ portfolio and was promptly followed by the Espada by Montecristo Estoque the next year and the Oscuro in 2019. While those releases were blended to be medium-to-full bodied, the new Signature series is intended to be squarely medium-bodied in strength.
Like its predecessors, Espada by Montecristo Signature is made in Nicaragua at Plasencia Cigars S.A. The new smokes are expected to be on the market by December 15.
Owned by Tabacalera USA, Altadis is the U.S. distributor for high-profile brands such as the non-Cuban versions of Montecristo, Romeo y Julieta and H. Upmann.