I have had a good few of the Montecristo Open Eagle’s now and my opinion has changed somewhat of them. For the better I hasten to add.
Upon seeing them released with their different yellow and green boxes (along with the Open Master, Open Regata and Open Junior variants) I found myself asking “hello - what’s this?” Montecristo had released a new range of cigars that broke away from the norm. Gone were the all mustard yellow boxes and instead came a box that you could still easily identify as a Montecristo box, with half of it still in the famous yellow but it now had a dark, almost British racing green colour added to it on the other half. The cigars also came with a second band in the same green colour but laced with gold trimming and letters stating “Open Eagle.” It became very apparent that this new range had something to do with golf but I wondered how this would make them any different to the original line ups of the Montecristo No 1’s, 2’s, 3’s, Edmundo’s etc.
The “breakfast cigar” of Lawrence Davis at Sautter Cigars in Mayfair, London. He loves his big cigars and if this is on his daily rotation then it must be a great Montecristo!
I bought a couple of each new vitola and decided to try the Open Eagle first. Appearances were quite appealing and the construction looked to be good albeit, the first few I bought, I noticed the colours were up and down and varied from shade to shade. No biggie though.
My mistake with these cigars came initially after lighting and taking the first few puffs. The problem was that I had Montecristo flavour and strength etched into my brain. I had expectations of the Open Eagle being on Par (excuse the pun) if not better than a Monte 2. Disappointment quickly set in as I found the open eagle too mild and toned down from the usual Monte flavours. I could still taste the classic wood, hay, and nuts but it all just seemed to have been dialled back to an unacceptable and disappointing level.
Nevertheless, I still found myself smoking the whole thing happily. All 90 minutes of it.
Was it a bad cigar? No.
Did it taste bad? No.
Did it burn or draw terribly? No. (Wasn’t perfect but nothing out of the ordinary for a Cuban and only requiring minor touchups).
So why the disappointment?
Back to my mistake…
Montecristo had never marketed the Open range to challenge the rest of the Monte stable. I should have first read more into that and understood what they were intended for. So who was I to try and compare the two? There is no comparison.
If you smoke a Monte Open Eagle with an “open” mind it is actually very enjoyable. Milder than the normal Monte’s - yes, but they are supposed to be and have been marketed as such.
Could I see myself walking round a golf course with one of these wedged between my teeth? Actually yes I could. I may not have had a big meal after arriving at the first tee so a regular Montecristo could be too heavy for a round of golf late morning. I’m also not going to be paying all my attention to the flavours and intricate details of my cigar whilst playing golf like you would normally do after a good evening meal with perhaps a Monte No. 2 or a Partagas D4. The challenges of the bunkers on the next hole combined with trying to find where my ball has landed are more important.
The flavours and strength are, however, enough to remind you that you are smoking a Montecristo. And a good one at that.
Accept and smoke the Open eagle for what it is and it is actually very enjoyable. Pricey, but it is a big cigar with more tobacco so you pay for what you get. Don’t try to compare it to other more legendary Montecristo cigars or else you too are likely to end up disappointed.
Overall a big cigar with a Flamboyant appearance. Same flavours but everything (other than the size) has been dialled back to milder levels. A cigar you can enjoy more or less at any time of the day for a good 90 minutes or more depending on what you are doing. Take one for a long walk or whilst out fishing if golf isn’t your thing. Very few cigar smokers will say that they don’t appreciate a regular Montecristo but not everyone can handle the strength of one at all times of the day. So if you like the flavour profile of Montecristo and fancy one that you can have for a decent amount of time during any part of the day - you’re sure to do well with the Montecristo Open Eagle. A great cigar for what it is designed for.