10 pack, approximately £5 – 6 per pack
Review by Craig Heap
A cigar should be savoured, alone or in good company, with or without a fine drink, but definitely appreciated at a steady pace. However, there are times when you absolutely need a good smoke (waiting in traffic, between pints, standing in front of the firing squad) but don’t have the rest of the afternoon off to enjoy a full cigar. That’s where the mini comes in. There’s a growing market for minis, and for good reason. These days, they don’t cost much more than a
packet of cigarettes, but have a greater taste and touch of class. It’s the difference between generic brand lager and a high quality craft beer.
If you don’t have a tobacconist in the vicinity, aim for a decent beer/spirit shop. They’re wise enough to spot the connection between selling quality drinks and upselling a few smokes on the side, and why not? Amongst the cigars stocked inside the small humidor cabinet, you’re guaranteed to see the Cuban Montecristo brand. It’s one of the world’s best selling cigar brands, and is considered a benchmark by which other cigars are compared.
The pack isn’t hard to spot – it comes in bright canary yellow and is emblazoned with the characteristic Montecristo red triangle, depicting crossed fencing swords. The beautiful thing about most mini packs is the entire front flips upright like a clamshell: this can make the less well-moneyed cigar lover feel like they own their own, pocket sized humidor.
Inside the box, the aroma is vaguely sweet and not unpleasant or overpowering. The cigarillos are light to medium brown in colour. They look more like roughly hewn twigs than a world renowned brand. Despite their rustic appearance, they’re tightly constructed. The minis burn evenly throughout and give a good, easy draw from start to finish.
There’s a woody taste to the early section, but before you start to wonder if you really are puffing on a stick, this soon gives way to old leather notes and a slight pepperiness on the tongue. The profile gradually develops into dark cocoa flavours in the mid-section, with a hint of spice in the aftertaste.
It’s generally pleasant, fairly robust, and neither displeases nor amazes. Highly recommended, and good when the alternatives are limited; it certainly beats the blander Romeo y Julieta minis, but given the choice I personally would lean toward the sweeter Mehari brand.