I started out with 5 and now have 4. I have been saving them. I fear I've done it again and waited too long. Or maybe like the girl you lust after and finally get that date, the reality never meets expectations.
As expected, the construction was flawless. Smooth, oily, milk chocolate wrapper, no veins, densely packed, nice feel. For the size, which is more than my preferred, you can't do any better. Initial light and burn throughout was what stick at this price should be: excellent. Tons of viscous smoke. I think good construction adds so much to the experience, this alone may have driven my overall positive view of it.
This is not an ordinary Montecristo. There is a lot of complexity to this cigar and it certainly evolved with the deep earthiness and mineral remaining constant. The creamy cocoa was nowhere near the predominant flavor on this like all of us have come to expect. In fact, the was a thread of light bitterness throughout that was unexpected. Upon reflection I might say that the milk chocolate I get from most Montes was replaced with a dark or baker's chocolate. It was as though it had just been pulled from the rich soil. Different. Eyebrow-raising. All good.
The progression was pretty fast-paced. Every 1/2 inch or so seemed to take-on slightly different flavor prominence, rotating through coffee, cedar, leather, hay -- all with a distinct earthy-mineral taste I haven't experienced in other stick (but I'm hardly prolific enough to say that's rare).
Last third took on a bit of unexpected harshness, and the sometimes-present bitter vanilla bean.
The sweet creaminess of the Monte I have come to know never appeared. If I had blind tasted, I might have guessed aged Boli but certainly not Monte.
So, all-in-all I enjoyed this stick. It was worth concentrating on, but I wish I had gotten to it sooner. Some youth would've helped IMO.
Since I have internally labeled the 520's "prized," it's unlikely I'll go and knock down the few I have remaining any time soon. I must say that my 2010 Monte GE's will surely hold top spot in the aged Monte LE category of my book. This is a distant second. Nevertheless, I'll give her an A-.