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Old 08-27-2007, 07:20 PM   #1
jazznut
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Montecristo 1970 Dunhill Selección Suprema No.4

Montecristo 1970 Dunhill Selección Suprema No.4

Country of fabrication: Cuba
Dimensions: 5.13 inches by 42-ring gauge
Date smoked: August 25th, 2007


Saturday morning showers succumbed to a sunlit afternoon bordering on the tropical. Beads of moisture coursed over my forehead, a container filled with freshly picked blackberries providing ample reward for my sweat-laden state. I felt the time to settle back on the front lawn of the cottage with a fine cigar and a soothing beverage long overdue. The moment was ripe for something special.

I poured a healthy measure of C. Ferrand’s Reserve Old Artisanal Rum, a deliciously honeyed spirit from Venezuela, distilled in 1992 and bottled in 2004, then clipped the cap of the venerable Mareva I had chosen to set fire to.

The diminutive cigar sported a natural walnut toned Colorado outer leaf embellished with reddish sienna highlights as well as scattered burnt umber markings. The finely veined and discreetly toothed wrapper of the No.4 gave off a lovely oil-imbued semi-gloss sheen in the sunshine, seeming far younger than its 37 years of age. This Petit Corona had clearly been cared for. A medium firm finger feel allied to excellent superficial resilience further reinforced my impression of healthiness.

Beneath the cylindrically formed surface, a burnt sienna binder secured the filler leaves, which varied in hue from straw through to rather dark chocolate brown.

Appearances aside, it was the aroma of the Montecristo that instantly won me over. Prior to lighting, a scent of sweet woods tightly bound with hints of apple and leather, subtle earthy nuances artfully completing the picture. Following firing, deeply toasted tobacco of the ripest sort imaginable wafted from the pale grey to ruddy charcoal ash upward into the breeze. I believe only age can create such a wondrously composed, perfumed and intoxicating fragrance.

On the palate, the Selección Suprema opened with a finely delineated interplay of cedar, citrus and old leather, displaying great vitality throughout the overture. The flavour spectrum soon broadened, well cured and mature tobacco softly fleshing out the profile. Sweetness and smoothness, not unlike a melding of clover honey and walnut butter, provided a perfect counterpoint to the more sharply etched cedar and citrus components.

Lying slightly to the light side of medium in terms of its textural weight, the Mareva nonetheless projected an underlying sensation of strength. The tannins of youth having almost entirely dissipated, residual acidity was left to act as the primary foil to the mature ripeness of the core tobacco aspect, resulting in a more clearly fashioned and elegant sense of balance and proportion.

From mid point on, a lovely plum fruit quality emerged while subdued vegetal and floral notes began to seep into the cedar. The cigar simultaneously gained in body. Then, an absolute surprise – beans! Not just any beans, mind you, but the distinct taste of red azuki beans such as one encounters in a sweet Chinese dessert soup. The effect was both uncannily evocative and precise. I was floored.

As my puffs brought the Montecristo closer and closer to its demise, a peppery piquancy arrived on the palate to lend the proceedings an additional liveliness. Even though little more than an hour had elapsed, I found myself in a tremendously relaxed, timeless frame of mind. Pure magic.

I don’t think I’ll ever again look upon a Montecristo No.4 in quite the same way.

A footnote: Far from being a collector of vintage cigars, I owe the pleasure of this rare cigar experience to a certain supremely generous gentleman who resides here on the Cigar Weekly boards. And so let me take this opportunity to simply say, "Thank you, Phil!"
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