Alonso Menendez was a wealthy Spaniard who had worked in the tobacco business in New York and Florida before going to Cuba in the early 1930s.
In July 1935 he purchased the Particulares Factory which was producing the quite famous Particulares brand and the less well-known Byron brand at the time. Immediately after the acquisition, Alonso Menendez created a new brand named Montecristo, as reported in the August 1935 Issue of Habano magazine, Cuba.
A new logo, the one which we all see on the box today, the triangle formed by six swords surrounding a ‘Fleur de Lis’ was designed by its new British distributor John Hunter Morris and Elkan Co. Ltd.
The Menendez family took a great effort to ensure the success of Montecristo. Only tobacco of the highest quality was used. According to legend, the ligero filler was aged in specially made cedar cabinets. In a short time, the sales of Montecristo cigars boomed explosively.
Eagerly distributed by Alfred Dunhill in both the UK and USA, the Montecristo brand quickly became extremely popular worldwide. During the Second World War, America became an even bigger market when there was a blockade of cigars from Cuba to Britain.
By the 1950s Montecristo was a very popular premium brand with top sales figures in the export share of Havana Cigars. This remained unchanged until the Revolution in 1959.
At the time of the Revolution, the Montecristo brand had only five sizes, No. 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5 as when the brand was created in 1935. A selection box of the 50s containing 10 of each size was introduced in the mid-1950s. In 1969 three sizes were added, Especial No. 1, Especial No.2, and the Joyitas. Circa 1971, the Montecristo A and B were added. The Montecristo A soon made history as ” the most expensive cigar” listed in the Guinness World Records. No. 6 and 7 were introduced in 1980 but officially discontinued in 1998 due to a lack of customers.
No new model was introduced until 1999.
Characteristics of Montecristo cigars:
Montecristo cigars are all characterized by a kind of pleasant ”tangy” flavor, fruity sweet, with a heavy presence of bean flavors, like cocoa, coffee, and vanilla, which are all blended with the medium tobacco taste in miraculous balance. The blend is appealing to almost everyone, novice or veteran, in every country with different cigar cultures. The Montecristo cigars are never boring, even smoking the same cigar several times in a row, every day for a long period of time.
The cigars are all medium in strength. In contrast to many brands, Montecristo cigars do not require serious aging to be enjoyable. 3 years of aging will result in a very decent smoke. Almost all 5-year-old Montecristo cigars can be described as brilliant.