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Spotlight Brand: Montecristo Pilotico Pepe Mendez

A dedicated blend.

Montecristo Pilotico pays homage to the Pilotico tobacco used in the blend along with Pepe Mendez, the talent behind this special tobacco. Originally established in Cuba, the re-established Montecristo brand resides in the Dominican Republic where Cuban refugee, Pepe Mendez, was introduced and became the primary source of their tobaccos.

Incorporating classic Cuban methods when processing the tobaccos, Mendez established more than 20 different grades based upon leaf uniformity and quality, extended the fermentation process, enhancing the richness and complexity of Dominican tobaccos, and implemented regulations over environmental factors during the curing and aging process that leads to the overall better consistency and cleanliness of flavors—fast forward to the extraordinary Montecristo Pilotico.

Hailing from Nicaragua Montecristo Pilotico features a Dominican binder with Nicaraguan and Dominican Pilotico fillers, draped in a chocolaty-brown Ecuadorian Sumatra wrapper. Montecristo Pilotico delivers unique notes of nuts and leather with a sweet tasting profile that compliments its medium-bodied blend. For truly exceptional taste and quality, turn to Montecristo Pilotico.

Q & A: How long should you leave the ash on your cigar?

How long should you leave the ash on your cigar?

11/10/16 | by CK of Indianapolis, IN

There really is no right or wrong answer but, generally speaking, most enthusiasts like to hold off on removing the ash until it reaches about an inch in length. There are a few reason for this. One, a cigars ash is a good indicator of how well the cigar was made. Cigars that are under filled and contain too much space between the fillers will produce a weak, flaky ash that tends to fall off on your lap before you can get to an ashtray. If the cigar is constructed well, it should produce a tight, compact ash that may take a few taps to knock off. If it stays on, leave it be, that’s a good sign! A second reason enthusiasts tend to keep the ash on a bit is because it can help the cigar to burn a bit cooler and more uniform.

by Dave

Review: Rocky Patel Flor de San Andres

Dave Chock-full of flavor...

Rocky Patel is back with an exciting new release in the form of a hearty maduro featuring a San Andres wrapper and a carefully selected blend of Nicaraguan long fillers. Despite its bold packaging, this one has a rather tamed and refined character. To me, that’s a good thing. Right off the bat, this well-balanced cigar is incredibly smooth with rich notes of coffee and chocolate. To be honest, I was expecting a bold spice that is typical with San Andres wrappers. Instead there were just light hints of cedar, spice, and sweetness on the finish which added a nice bit of complexity to the blend. Neither flavor would completely overpower the others. I can really respect such a full-flavored cigar that doesn’t knock you back in your seat in terms of strength. Flor de San Andres remains firmly in the medium-bodied camp throughout and can be enjoyed any time of day. If you’re looking for a new everyday maduro you can’t go wrong here.

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Article: Signature Blends

​​​​​​​​By: Jaime Rodriguez
Master Blender,​

“Growing up in Estelí, Nicaragua, where tobacco is the heart and soul of the city, I was involved in the cigar industry from an early age. I began enjoying cigars while working at a famous factory just a few houses down the street from mine, and it was a huge plus for me to meet some industry giants there. Later I joined AJ Fernandez as his production manager in the old factory. Many referred to it as “the lucky factory,” as it once was home to a few well-known manufacturers including Drew Estate. Before AJ Fernandez moved to his new state of the art factory, I also managed a box factory. Being a production manager, cigar boxes are one of the biggest struggles you face, and this experience allowed me to work more efficiently with box makers.

This leads me to and our new Signature Blends. One day I received a call from the chief merchant at, whom I had been in contact with previously while working with AJ Fernandez. He asked me to join the family which I am very proud of. The blending process for the Signature Blends was very special in many ways. To start, we were able to choose from truly the best premium tobacco all under one roof from the best tobacco fields and grower I know. In a way, it was difficult at first, as we found ourselves almost distracted with so many different flavors and aromas. For these blends we worked with none other than master cigar maker AJ Fernandez. As you can imagine, this was a very fun process and the relationship was solidified even more so after this project.

We worked hard to bring this family of blends to our customers. These are cigars that we personally enjoy and we’re confident our customers will enjoy them too. We were looking for a well-balanced cigar in each blend for this project, and you will find that each cigar is consistent with the aromas, strength, and sweetness all working together in harmony. In the end, the best tobaccos make the best cigars.”

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