Where to I begin...in general, I prefer to have the time to sit down with a large format cigar and drink. It's the best way to truly enjoy it - spending significant time. The Monte 80th was on my mind, so I went with that.
Now I have two boxes of Monte 80th - the one I smoked and a newer box from October 2017 (BRE). I have several sticks from each and the newer box has blown the older box away. So much so that I thought about selling the rest of the box from 2015. However, I thought I'd give it a little more time and see if these were just duds or needed the time. Thus, I was hesitant to try this one as I didn't want to spend so much time with a bad cigar. Nevertheless, I gave it a try...
It's a beautiful stick. Wrapper color is lighter in color than my other box. On cold draw I kept getting a cinnamon flavor from it. Delightful, but unique. The cold draw was perfectly in the middle - not too tight and not too loose.
The first third knocked my socks off. The main word I can use to describe it: rich. It was like a chocolate lover having the perfect dense piece of chocolate cake. Not that it was all chocolate, just the same experience of richness. There was a hint of chocolate in there, however. It was also very smooth, especially on the retrohale which I like.
I coupled the cigar with an old fashioned. I love 'em, but only when I make them - bars make them okay at best, but they never seem to be as good as the ones I make. And this is the only food/beverage I feel like that about - I don't like it when I hear other people say the same thing. To start, I used Town Branch bourbon - a new one recommended to me by a friend. It was a solid choice. I used Pooter bitters (smoke and salt). For a long time, I tried multiple different bitters and hadn't found a huge difference...until I found these. Now, I do use double the recommended amount so perhaps that's why. For the cherry, you have to go with Luxardo - the cheap ones don't cut it. For sugar, I use agave syrup. Put in the slice of orange, a splash of water, and smash it all together. Add in the bourbon, stir it real good and add a piece of ice.
The pairing was perfect. The old fashioned is perfectly rounded with enough power but soft around the edges. It was plenty "rich" as well. The hint of citrus only added to the experience.
I was wary that the rest of the cigar would turn bad. While it didn't develop into anything different, it never lost its original flavors and richness. This was an outstanding example of this cigar all the way through. Even the burn was great - never required a touch up until closer to the end. This is what I want in a cigar....maybe I should have bought more of these.
One thing I do after I finish an old fashioned is top it off with more bourbon. Yes, it's a stronger drink but you can still get some of the other ingredients to show. And after one of my stiff drinks, you stop caring as much. I ran out of the Town Branch bourbon so I topped it off with High West double rye. It's my favorite of the High West by far, and it's one of the cheaper ones.
To summarize, it was an overall splendid experience. I followed the Monte up with a Parti Presidente that just couldn't compare. I'd rate the 80th a 94.
(note: I had many more pics but I keep getting an error message when I try to upload: -200. If anyone knows what to do, please let me know.)