Date Reviewed: March 13th, 2011
Cigar Date: October 2007
The Edmundo Dantes Conde 109 was a special release for 2007 (and later done once more in 2008). These particular cigars are a Regional Edition for Mexico… and come with a little story behind their appearance on the market. Max Gutmann, President of Importadora y Exportadora de Puros y Tabacos, SA de CV (often shortened to IEPT) is said to have been particularly fond of the tapered head found in the 150th Anniversary Partagas humidor in 1995. When he requested a regional for Mexico, he wanted a Montecristo blend in this “109″ vitola!
A problem arose, however, with trademark rights problems regarding the “Montecristo” marca, so some inventive soul came up with the idea of “Edmundo Dantes” as a new name for this specialty cigar. For those of you who are more cultured than others… you’ll recognize that Edmond (Edmundo in Spanish) Dantes WAS the man that later became the Count of Montecristo. In any case, Max and Habanos SA worked together to release this special blend and vitola exclusively for the Mexican market.
I got a box from Penasco before that LCDH closed down… another box from the LCDH in Cabo… and a few singles, very recently, in a trade with a fellow Brother of the Leaf (BOTL). The cigar I chose, last night, was from the box that originated in Cabo… and I decided to pair it with a two year old Auslese Rielsing from the Mosel region of germany (Adolph Mueller 2009 Piesporter Michelsberg Riesling Auslese) that Matt and I discovered in a previous tasting.
I must say that the presentation of these cigars is fantastic. Max and I could certainly get along on his idea that the 109 has to be the most regal looking vitola of any Cuban cigar! The wrapper wass\ a fantastic colorado shade wih some thick veins… and I even like the clever castle tower above the ED on the label. The foot looks like it has a complex blend and the whole thing smells of slight leather and a TON of earth… Pre-light, the draw is just a little bit tight… but I was extremely sparing on my cut, removing only the cap at the head. If it stayed tight, I knew I could always cut a little more to open her up.
Before lighting up, I also took my first taste of the wine I planned to drink along with my smoke… The nose was amazingly floral with just a little stony character. I’ve had this wine before, but the fact that there’s just no sweetness in the nose always surprises me. Despite the nose… it attacked with loads of sweet citruis right up front, with a bit of earthiness and a whole lot of honey. It finished cleanly (which I’ve discovered is what I want with a cigar pairing) and was buttery smooth (sort of chardonnay-like smooth) with honey and fruitiness.
Lighting up, it turns out the draw wasn’t really as tight as I thought, so I left my cut alone… but there was a monstrous volume of smoke from this particular cigar! I got a really woodsy flavor right off the bat… and just a little bit of raw tobacco flavor on my lips… but not much else immediately noticable. About a fourth inch in, some sweeter cedary notes started coming though… but everything was really muted and mixed with an almost grassy flavor.
Everything was so mild, I was retrohaling every other draw… and, even then, I couldn’t even detect any really powerful flavors at all! Some earthiness an nuttiness came through about halfway through the smoke… but the whole cigar was ashy tasting and just…… blah. The only truly redeeming qualities this cigar had were the aromas… it still burned and smelled like leather and nuttiness. Had someone else been on the patio with me, I’m sure they would’ve thought I was smoking something FAR more delicious than I really was…
Final Notes: I was completely undwerwhelmed by this smoke. I had them when they were fresh and really enjoyed them… but the flavors have become muted, boring, grassy and ashy tasting, It’s still a beautiful looking cigar, but that’s about all it has going for it right now. Some earth, cedar and leather notes are still present… but all hidden behind some overpowering nastiness…
Aging Notes: If there was EVER a cigar that could be described as SICK… this is it! She DEFINITELY needs some age to get past this period of fermentation and blending! I’d revisit again in a year or so to see where they go…… but you won’t see me reach into any boxes to grab more of these anytime soon. remembering how much I enjoyed them fresh, I hope there’s still some great potential left in these puppies… fingers crossed!
** EDIT 3/14/11: Because of Tony’s comment, below… I thought I owed a little more explanation to anyone reading. Firstly… yes… cigars can go through multiple sick periods in their lifetimes. Secondly… this was the second Conde 109 I smoked in two days and BOTH exibited the same characteristics…… the one I smoked the day before was with a buddy visiting from Canada (Art) who agreed… flat… one-dimentional… ashy/grassy……… sick period. I smoked these fresh and REALLY liked them! I just suggest trying again in 6 months to see where they go. If you only have one to try… I’d give it a year to be safe.
When I first smoked this…… I thought exactly like Tony did…… Art and I maybe had some bad pairing with it…… maybe we just happened to both get duds…….. maybe we were paying too much attention to conversation (we were with a larger group of BOTLs)……. so I tried again. Just a sick period I think…… we’ll see in around 6 months and I’ll fire another one up, okay? Thanks for reading Tony… and thanks for bringing it up!!! **