By Russ Ouellette
A lot of people are unfamiliar with the name El Credito, but I’m sure you’re aware of most of the products they make. El Credito is the original name of the company that is now part of General Cigar and is responsible for the La Gloria Cubana and El Rico Habano brands. The El Credito name is what they have used for years for their mixed-filler bundled cigars.

The Monarch is a 7 ¼ x 54 behemoth, with an appetizing dark brown Ecuadorian Connecticut Broadleaf wrapper. The wrapper leaf is a bit veiny, but certainly not bad for a cigar this size that sells for less than $4.00. The filler is from the Dominican Republic and Nicaragua, and the feel is nice and solid. The pre-light aroma is mostly the expected barnyard smell with a hint of sweetness, and the pre-light draw, though a little funky, has some dusky cocoa and wood notes.

The cigar kicks out quite a bit of smoke, and that falls right into my experience with mixed-filler (or Cuban sandwich) smokes. The main flavor is kind of oaky with cocoa and earth, and a hint of spice in the category of allspice or nutmeg. The burn is okay for the money, but fairly uneven, another hallmark of the mixed-filler type stogie. After the first half-inch, the flavors marry and merge, and the cigar takes on more of a bittersweet mocha profile with a semi-sweet wood note and a hint of leather and earth. As the first third is finished, the flavors intensify a tad, and the smoke becomes a little thicker, creamier and sweeter.

El Credito Monarch Cigar Review

Certainly, if the band were a little nicer, the wrapper was a bit smoother and the burn was more even, this is a stick that people would gladly pay $7 to $8 for. As it is, I think it represents a very solid value. From a flavor viewpoint alone, you can easily taste the La Gloria Cubana and El Rico Habano heritage inherent in this rather bold, medium to full-bodied cigar. If it were a long-filler stick, and the flavor were more consistent al the way through, this would be a very good moderately priced cigar.

 



The El Credito Monarch comes in paper-wrapped bundles of 25, and are an even better bargain when bought in that form, often bringing the per-cigar price down under $2.50 from some vendors. If you’re looking for a flavorful, but reasonable smoke for the golf course, taking a walk, fishing and the like, this should definitely be on the short list to investigate.

The appearance of the cigar rates about 11 out of 15, and the construction and burn get about 25 out of 35. The flavor and aroma, though, come in at a solid 43 out of 50, for an aggregate of 79 out of 100, but when balanced for value, this cigar would score much higher.

How far wrong can you go with the pedigree of La Gloria and the price of a bundle?

Overall rating: 79

7 ¼ x 54
Wrapper: Ecuadorian Connecticut Broadleaf
Binder: Unkown
Filler: Dominican Republic, Nicaragua
Made in: Dominican Republic

Russ Ouellette is the blender/creator of the Hearth & Home series of pipe tobaccos for Habana Premium Cigar Shoppe and www.pipesandcigars.com in Albany, NY. He has been a cigar smoker and pipe tobacco blender for over 30 years. Russ will be contributing articles in several areas starting with reviewing cigars that are the best bang for the buck – something we anticipate many readers will be interested in during these challenging economic times.

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