Cracked this box around a week ago, and this is the second stick. The first one was really good, showed me what age can do for the Monte 4. This is probably the 3rd box I cracked this quarter and probably the first one with some age on it. I did a review on a previous box recently, link here, so this review would likely be more a comparison rather than a stand-alone review.
Just for context, during the afternoon I had a Nudie Lancero (N1, I believe - I always mix up the numbers). Dinner was steak, fries and a hash brown, followed by Haagen Dazs Belgian chocolate ice cream. Some work to do for the Monte to stand up to that chocolate, but *spoiler alert* it did! This was had while watching Spurs v Newcastle. No stake in it for me except for hoping that the Auld Enemy drops some points.
Pre-light - I was already filled with anticipation as the first stick out of this box was really good. That was also the reason why I allowed myself to have the ice cream before this. On the nose it was smooth chocolate and the cold draw tasted as such. The cigar was just a touch more moist than preferred, which resulted in ever-so-slightly tougher draw. This got me a little worried as the previous box of Monte 4s had quite a number that were overfilled. Out came the de-humidifier to ensure that the cigar does not pick up more moisture along the way.
1st 3rd - As expected, lots of chocolate in these. The oils on the sticks look like some giraffe pattern (I have no picture). You could probably say cheetah, leopard, any other spotted animal - don't know why giraffe came first to my mind. It definitely shows in the taste though. The touch of age has definitely smoothed everything out, melded the flavours together in the most fantastic way.
2nd 3rd - The creamy chocolate flavour simply takes over the entire stick. A touch of nutmeg, bit of sea salt. All mainly to balance out the chocolate but none of them a major flavour on their own. As with most of the Monte 4s that I've had previously, not a lot of evolution on this one.
3rd 3rd - The strength of the cigar has ticked up that tiny bit. Chocolate gets heavier and denser and is now balanced by earthy notes. Very nice, straightforward and enjoyable.
Overall - the age really enhanced and smoothed out the flavours of the cigar as compared to the previous review. Dark chocolate but the cream did not carry the velvety texture that I so enjoy. Burn was a little wonky, possibly because I was smoking a little slow, but always corrected itself. Draw remained fine throughout - I guess the de-humidifier served its purpose. Really good example that for all its inconsistencies, if you pick a good box to age, Monte 4s can also provide a fantastic smoke! 87/100
Bonus rating 0/10 for the new handball rule in the EPL this season. Although it was funny to see a certain Jose storm down the tunnel (and 2 dropped points), this is absolutely destroying the game. The main target now would be to flick the ball into the defending players' arms instead of trying to play football. Today it was Newcastle, yesterday Man U benefited even after the full-time whistle was blown (wtf?), while Everton went top courtesy of another call. When you have the winning manager (Steve Bruce today) calling it a farce, you know something is really broken about the system.