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 ΒΌ 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.

Read the rest of this entry →