Do Cuban cigars taste better in certain environments

If you tend to smoke the same type of cigar frequently, whether your favorite be a classic like the Montecristo No. 2, Cohiba Robusto, or Romeo Y Julieta Churchill, or if you’ve found another perfect Cuban cigar for your palette, you’ve probably noticed that even the most consistent cigar tastes different from time to time.  This can be due to many factors including that particular tobacco harvest, what you’ve eaten that day, and how the cigar has been stored.  I’ve found that one of the most important variables that can alter the taste of your favorite Cuban cigar is where you are smoking.

The taste of any cigar is unique due to its blend, but each smoke can be unique depending on the environment in which you are enjoying your cigar.  Countless times I have been smoking a Hoyo de Monterrey Epicure No. 2 or an H.Upmann Magnum 46 in the comforts of a ventilated smoking lounge, where the temperature is moderate, and then got called away, having to finish my smoke on the road.  Most times, in Vancouver’s climate, I found the cigar to start tasting bitter and harsh outside, when I was just enjoying the same cigar but with a smooth, yet complex flavor inside.  This is especially true when the weather is cold and rainy.

On the other hand, when smoking Cuban cigars on the beach in Cuba, I found that my favorites tasted better than ever.  Cuba’s humid air has a smell of strong spice that is apparent from the moment you step off the plane and onto their blessed soil.  A lot of places in Cuba do not have air conditioning, and during the summer extra heat is definitely not needed, so the climate inside buildings is much the same as outside, and since you could smoke almost anywhere, at least when I was there in 2005, I found that every cigar was enjoyable, and consistent from one to the next.  When moving from indoors to outdoors, I did not have the same change of flavor as in Vancouver.  I tend to enjoy my cigars most in moderate to warm temperatures, because the cold can ruin the taste for me.

It seems that environment plays a major role in the enjoyment of Cuban cigars.  Humidity, temperature, and wind conditions can all affect the experience you will have and can change the flavor of even the most consistent cigars.  But if you’re like me, you know that even if the conditions aren’t ideal, enjoying a Cuban cigar can be done anywhere, anytime.

Montecristo Edmundos, Replacing the No. 2 as smokers favorite?

Montecristo Edmundo

For the past 10 years, I have found that the Montecristo No. 2 has been one of the most sought after Cuban cigars by my clients.  The world over the Montecristo No. 2 is renowned for it’s consistency in flavor and construction.  I remember when I started in the business it was very difficult to get your hands on a box.  Havana House would get a limited quantity for their best retailers and we would be lucky enough to get a box every two weeks.  During the cigar craze of the 90’s, this piramide or torpedo sized cigar was seen in every cigar magazine, in movies, and even on the first cigar websites.

The Montecristo No. 2 has found some strong competition for the title of best Montecristo size as of late.  Since its release in 2004, the Montecristo Edmundo has been steadily increasing in popularity.  It is close in size to the No. 2, but without the tapered end that is characteristic of a No. 2, Torpedo, or Piramide.  I find that many cigar lovers are starting to prefer the un-tapered end because it allows for an easier draw, more smoke in a puff and consequently more flavor.

The Edmundo is made with Montecristo’s standard blend, medium bodied, a base of cedar flavor and hints of nuttiness and nutmeg.  Because it is a large cigar though, you will find it more intense that a Montecristo No. 4 or Montecristo Petit Tubo.

It seems Cuba is aware of this change in size preferences amongst cigar lovers.  There is a big push towards new thick sizes without tapers, like the Hoyo de Monterrey Petit Robusto, the Bolivar Short Bolivar – an Asia Pacific Regional Edition, and the Trinidad Robusto Extra.  Old popular sizes like the Lonsdale, Corona, and Especiale are no longer in vogue.

Regardless of the Edmundo’s increasing popularity, the classic Montecristo No. 2 can never be replaced.  They are both great cigars, and both have a place in cigar lovers humidors.