Montecristo Open Regata

I was sent a single of each of the Open series shortly after their release in 2009, and have never smoked any of them (although I lost the junior to someone who said “oh, do you have anything smaller” at a party where I was handing out Mag 50s). When selecting this one my hand lingered for a moment on the Eagle, but I just couldn’t face the 54 ring gauge. This then, is the Montecristo Open Regata, a Petit Pirámides, and, I suppose, another failure in this blog’s stated mission of smoking exotic cigars. I make no apologies.

Montecristo Open Regata unlit with a James Boags bottle

I’m having the cigar with a beer – not usually a good choice with cigars, but to my mind a casual, simple, unsophisticated drink, and the one most consumers of the Opens will have in their hand on the golf course, at the buck’s night, or outside the maternity ward where this cigar will be smoked. Beer is an everyman’s drink.

I clip it, light it, and begin. The draw is good, the construction un-reproachable. The flavour is fairly mild, but there’s nothing unpleasant about it; nothing to complain about.

Montecristo Open Regata on a cigar cutter

NEWS FLASH! With around a millimetre of cigar burnt, as I placed it back on the table, the ash fell off, which is highly irregular in well-constructed Cuban, which usually maintain the integrity of the ash for several centimetres (and even then, it usually requires a vigorous tap before it falls). Furthermore, as I was taking this picture a slight breeze picked up the diminutive clump of ash, blowing it onto my sleeve. I can really see what the aficionados are talking about with this one. Poor ash retention: a big negative for the Montecristo Open Regata.

A few minutes later a second, slightly larger clump of ash fell, unbidden from this cigar, although the third held on sufficiently.

Half a burnt Montecristo Open Regata on a plastic cigar cutter

The first release of a cigar generally fetches a premium on the aged market because in many cases the first release is better. The Cohiba Siglo VI is the classic example of this: 2002 boxes are highly sought-after and command large premiums at auctions. Well, this Open, with three years of age, is a member of their first release. I don’t really know what to say about tasting notes. It achieves its stated intention, in that it is a mild cigar, with no complexity. There’s no spice, no cream, no mild bean or coffee, and at over half way there’s no bitterness or tar. What taste there is is the taste of smooth, mid tobacco. Honestly, the thing it reminds me most of is the Dunhill Mild cigarettes I used to smoke from time to time. I don’t consider that too much of a criticism; Dunhill Milds are a quality cigarette. I am enjoying the beer. Crisp. Hoppy.

Nub of a Montecristo Open Regata on a plastic cigar cutter

In the final inch or so it gets bitter – not the bitter of tar and nicotine that I like, but an overly more chemical bitterness. It’s giving me a headache, honestly. Please note in these photographs the shittiness of my free cutter. I don’t usually use a cutter, honestly, but there’s really no other way to open a piramides and I can’t find my Xikar. Still, it did the job.

Ugh, actually, this is awful. I’m tossing it.

After tossing the cigar I notice a small melted ring on the edge of the cutter on which it had been resting, perhaps accounting for the chemical taste right at the end. Honestly, I really wanted to like this cigar, to come out against the reviews and say “no! The everyman has it right! Simple but great! The Monte Open is the way forward!” The reviews are right though. At best, this is an unremarkable cigar. At worst it is an unpleasant cigar. In either case it’s worse than a Monte 4.

Cheap plastic cigar cutter, lightly melted

Montecristo Open Regata on the Cuban Cigar Website.

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