One of my favorite cities is Paris, France. As much as I know that statement would make Ron Swanson shudder, its hard to deny a city filled with delicious food, amazing architecture, and most importantly… you can get some great Cuban cigars there.
A little over a year ago, I was there for probably the most important trip of my life: my wedding. And despite a decent amount of pre-wedding tasks and family to entertain, I was going to be damned if I didn’t find and enjoy some great cigars on this trip.
Just down the street from our hotel (Hotel Baume, if you’re looking for any travel tips out of this post) was a cigar shop that fit the bill — not only did they have some Cuban cigars in stock, but they had some full boxes ready to go in the back. The clerk pulled an unopened box of Montecristo Petit Edmundos out of the humidor (duly verified as authentic Cubans), I handed him all my Euros, and walked back to the hotel, mission accomplished.
I smoked about half the box that week (with some help from our wedding guests), but about fourteen cigars made the journey (cedar box and all) to our small honeymoon in Nice and Aix-En-Provence, and then back to the United States via three airplane flights, two high speed trains, and some less than gentle cab rides in my carry on bag. I dutifully declared them at customs, and the customs officer waved me through without so much as asking me to open my bag. As soon as I walked in the door I transferred the sticks into my humidor looking none the worse for wear.
Back in my home town this afternoon I figured that the 99 degree weather was perfect for taking my dog Rudy for a walk and enjoying a fine cigar. I grabbed the first one off the stack along with my cigar smoking kit and headed out the door.
The Montecristo Petit Edmundo is, as the name suggests, small. It’s a good 52 ring gauge width, but the actual length is about the same as the Padron 1964 Principe that I’m more accustomed to seeing. According to other sites online that should make for a good 20 minute smoke, but I tend to take my time and have found that these are more like a 45 minute smoke for me.
The wrapper is a natural brown color that is cleanly constructed. Even after weeks of rolling around in my carry on bag the wrapper shows no signs of wear and tear, and the cap is perfectly in tact. For those looking for a cigar that travels well, this might be a good contender.
I prefer a straight cut, and in this case the cut was clean and the cigar held together perfectly. There was no stray material falling out the bottom and the cut resulted in a fairly good draw. I’m used to a much easier draw from the Padron series, but the Montecristo seems to be rolled a little tighter. That said, it wasn’t hard to get a proper draw. The pre-light draw seemed to have some notes of cedar mixed in with the usual tobacco smell but nothing else remarkable.
Lighting the cigar was easy (thank you two-burner butane Zippo insert). For the first third of the cigar the flavor was light, almost like a Connecticut cigar. The flavor was very interesting: it tasted like I was smoking a black tea, perhaps an Earl Grey. Definitely delicate, not the “hit you over the head with a sledgehammer” that I usually associate with the maduro cigars. Or, as one of my bosses would complain, “there will be some taste eventually, right?” (Side note: his idea of good tasting food is Hooters, so take that as you will.)
Around this time Rudy was getting tired and we headed home. Sitting on the back porch with a Kentucky Mule for the second third, the taste started to change. The delicate flavors of the first third became much stronger, with tones that I would usually associate more with a maduro cigar. The way the cigar eases you from the delicate light flavors to the stronger heavy flavors was excellent and subtle, so much that you probably wouldn’t notice — just enjoy. At this point I really started tasting the cedar as well from the box it was kept in.
The ash did a good job holding together… right until it didn’t. It let go without warning just as the cigar crossed the halfway mark. I’d like to say that’s the only time I’ve gotten ash on the nice patio furniture, but the wife would attest that’s a lie.
As the cigar melted into the last third the flavors remained the same. It continued to draw well right until the very end, and even as I was starting to smoke the cap itself there was no ill taste or change in the profile. Smooth to the very end.
In Paris, I paid €10.95 per stick for the box of 25. I’d like to say they gave me a discount for the box, but then again these are Parisians and I’m 99% sure they can see through my crappy American accent to the sucker underneath. Of the fourteen that made it back to the US not a single one had any structural issues, and they are all (with this one exception) sitting comfortably tucked away in my humidor waiting for another beautiful afternoon.
Official Rating: 10/10 would be ripped off by a Frenchman again.