It has been a long wait. The Montecristo 80 Aniversario was revealed to cigar lovers at the Festival del Habanos in Havana in March 2015, when the iconic brand turned 80 years old. The 6 1/2 inch by 55 ring cigar, a unique vitola, was the showcase of the festival, and at the time participants received two samples. Earlier this year, the cigars appeared briefly in Portugal, but they haven’t been readily available until this month.
The United Kingdom was the first country to report having received the cigar. Ajay Patel, the owner of Hava Havana, a Casa del Habano in London, says he has a few boxes in his shop, and more orders than inventory. “Everyone is happy to wait,” says Patel. He says the simple, polished, dark-brown boxes contain 20 cigars. The cigar, he says, carries a special gilded Montecristo band with even more gold on the pattern than the normal design. They are retailing for £40 ($53.10) per cigar, or £800 ($1,062) per box of 20—only 30,000 boxes are being produced.
Max Guttman, the Habanos distributor in Mexico, says Montecristo 80 Aniversarios are being shipped to his warehouse, and he expects to have them for sale in the country sometime in August.
A spokesperson for Habanos acknowledged that the cigars have been shipped, and most regions and countries around the world should have them soon. But the spokesperson declined to give a precise timetable for when the cigars will be available in every country. The Montecristo 80 Aniversario made a brief appearance in Portugal late last year at the country’s Habanos Day party, but that was only a preview.
While there was no immediate explanation for the long delay of more than a year, in recent interviews and private conversations, Habanos executives have acknowledged that tobacco supply problems caused the delays. Several years of poor crops with below average yields, the executives said, have complicated the manufacture of its special-edition cigars, especially in the larger sizes, due to wrapper shortages.
Gordon Mott, Cigar Aficianado
August 2, 2016