Montecristo Gran Reserva @ Chez Panisse Cafe

For my first review of 2012 I enjoyed what may be the most in demand cigar of the year; the Montecristo No.2 Gran Reserva Cosecha 2005.

This stellar cigar was first provided to connoisseur’s on the Gala Evening of the XIII Habanos Festival in Cuba. The rest of this limited release of 5000 boxes are just hitting stores now (Dec 2011), which may explain why this is the first review of this highly anticipated cigar you will find anywhere.

I started off the day with a lovely late afternoon lunch at Chez Panisse Cafe in Berkeley, CA. Chez Panisse opened 40 years ago and is known as the birthplace of the Northern California farm-to-table movement, with it’s focus on sustainably-sourced, organic, and seasonal ingredients.

I enjoyed a wood fired pizza with wild nettles, caviar and crème fraiche, followed by an outstanding organic chicken saltimbocca. The pizza was creamy, soft and delicate, and the chicken was the most mouth watering I have ever eaten. The outstanding meal laid the groundwork for an outstanding smoking experience.

The Montecristo No 2 Gran Reserva Cosecha 2005 is an exquisitely crafted, 5 year aged beauty, from the finest fields of the Vuelta Abajo region, produced by the most senior rollers at the H. Upmann factory.

The Montecristo Gran Reserva starts off with flavors of deep rich cocoa, purple plums and raisins. There is a sweet nuttiness to the extremely smooth texture, with strong floral notes on the retrohale. This is a rich & refined smoke, with layers of flavors harmoniously lapping against your palate.

The center of the cigar exhibited flavors of mocha, fine white spice, molasses and caramel.

The final third of the Gran Reserva was lighter than the rest of the cigar, with predominate notes of cocoa and salty aged tobacco.

Overall, if you love the Montecristo No.2 and are looking for a deeper, more refined version of that cigar, then this is a must try. I purchased 2 of these cigars for $150.00 each, and thoroughly enjoyed them both. I will say however, that for the price point, there are other cigars I would prefer to smoke, such as the Cohiba Gran Reserva, the Cohiba Behike and the newer Cohiba 1966 Edición Limitada 2011.

In summary, the Montecristo Gran Reserva is a 96 point cigar, and while the first half was outstanding, with it’s deep fruit flavors and refined floral notes, the second half left something to be desired, and was a little too soft and delicate for my taste.

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Published in: Cigar Reviews and Recommendations | on January 2nd, 2012 | Comments Off on Montecristo Gran Reserva @ Chez Panisse Cafe

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