Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Cigar Review: Montecristo Sublimes Edición Limitada (2008)


14 years ago Habanos announced the limited edition program and for 14 years those Habanos have done nothing but grab tons and tons of attention. There have been some that have not been as popular others, some that are your regular limited editions in terms of popularity and some that have become legends. Obviously Cohiba has been successful as a limitada, but behind them is the Montecristo brand. They have had some solid releases in the 14 years, nine to be exact, but the most successful in my opinion was in 2008 when they released a Montecristo in a size that did wonders for the Cohiba brand. That size was the Sublime, and today I look at the Montecristo Sublime and see how it has aged over the past six years since rolling. I don't know about you all, but I am looking forward to lighting this Habano up.

Released in 2008, I think this is one of the biggest Limitada release for the brand, not just in terms of size, but in terms of success. There has been a lot of praise given to this smoke, and mostly because the name Sublimes and the status that goes with that name. In 2008, this smoke was composed of tobacco that was two years old, so it is now ten years old when I review it. It is all premium Vuelta Abajo tobacco, and picked to be in a limitada blend. The Sublimes is classified as a Double Robusto, and it measures 164 mm (6.5") with a 54 ring gauge. For six years this Habano has been sitting in my humidor, and to this day the beautiful smoke still has some oils present and it also smooth and silky in texture. There are very few veins present overall and this is a massive smoke with a beautiful dark coloring that is a light maduro overall. There is an aroma of tobacco, dry earth, spices and coffee present on the wrapper, and on the foot I am getting notes of dry earth, spices, tobacco, mineral and herbal notes.

I am in the first third of the Habano right now and it is opening up like an aged Montecristo. There are some definite tobacco and cream notes, and it is showing some cedar qualities as well that really complete the flavor profile. There are hints of coffee beans and cocoa powder as well, but overall it is showing some cream and tobacco qualities. The flavor profile has really changed since I smoked these in 2009, 2010 and 2012, and I believe it has lost some of the qualities that I really loved. It is a still good smoke, better than many, but not what it once was. The construction on the Habano is perfect, showing an even burn line with a nice charcoal ash, and it has a great draw that is cool and very flavorful. I would say that the body of the smoke is at a medium level and the strength is there as well. At one time it was around medium-full in both areas, but it has softened over the years.

When I enter into the second third of the Habano I find that the smoky characteristics that are present with Montecristos begins to emerge and it is pairing with those tobacco, cream and cedar notes. There are those coffee bean flavors present as well and it has a soft cocoa powder finish that is very tasty. It is much better in this third than the opening third, and I would say now that it is still not as good as it was when it was younger, but better than it was initially. The body and strength continue to smoke at a medium level and it is a smooth Habano that I could have in the afternoon or evening. It is too big of a smoke to have in the morning, but if it was smaller I could smoke it then. The construction is absolutely terrific in this third and it has that beautiful charcoal ash that is holding on well at the end with a cool draw and a nice bit of smoke being produced.

The final third produces a flavor profile that is similar to that of the second third and it is showing some classic Montecristo flavors with some age on them. The smoky flavor profile is pairing with those creamy and tobacco qualities, and it has a touch of mineral notes with that. The cocoa powder and coffee bean flavors are announcing themselves as well and it is showing a smooth finish that has some cedar notes too. The construction has been absolutely perfect throughout this third and it smoked cool to the end with a razor sharp burn line being produced. The draw has been slightly tight, nothing surprising with a Habano, and a light amount of smoke has been produced. The body and strength close at a medium level, same level it has been at since the beginning, and it is a nice level for this cigar. You would expect more out of it, and it once had more, but it has mellowed over the years and I like where it closes at.

When the Sublime was released in 2008, I loved the smoke. I found that it delivered all that a great Habano should, and I felt that it was going to do nothing but get better with age. For the first few years it was truly incredible and showed nothing but improvement, but after smoking one just now, I feel that it is losing some of what made it so great It is still a terrific smoke, don't get me wrong, but it just lacks that quick step it had when it was younger. Maybe it was this smoke, maybe it is the Habano overall, but it is not what it once was. With that said, the construction was terrific and it produced a nice burn line with that solid ash on the end. It is a smooth Habano, easily medium across the board, and is a smoke I could have in the morning, afternoon and evening. If you have them, I am telling you, smoke them now. Now, if you have an unopened box though, let them be as they will be wonderful prizes to your collection. Young, I gave this Habano between a 92 and 94. Now though, I am saying it is probably closer to a 90 rating.  

Young Rating: 92-94
With Age Rating: 90-96 (lost some qualities since 2012)