The Cuban Connection – James J. Fox Cuban Rum Tasting Kit

It was with the greatest pleasure and anticipation that I sat down to enjoy the James J. Fox Cuban Rum Tasting Kit, which was paired with a Montecristo Edmundo cigar. The tasting kit is packed with four world-class Cuban rums, none of which I had tasted before. So I jumped at the opportunity to try out these samples with one of my favourite cigars.

The Cigar

The Montecristo Edmundo is one of Cuba’s finest cigars, named after the hero from the great novel The Count of Monte Cristo which was read from the lectern to the torcedores (cigar rollers) in the 1930s. The Edmundo was first produced in 2004 in the H. Upmann factory. Prior to the release of the Edmundo, Montecristo produced cigars that were traditionally thinner vitolas numbered 1-5. All Edmundos are totalmente a mano (fully handmade). They are constructed using only tripa larga (full leaves) from Vuelta Abajo, one of the finest tobacco growing regions in the world.

The Look

The Montecristo Edmundo is generously proportioned with a 52 ring gauge and is 135 mm (5 ⅜ inches) in length. The wrapper is oily and shiny, wonderfully constructed and feels substantial in your hand. It is Colorado in colour, topped with a flawlessly applied triple cap. The cigar feels well packed with no soft spots or knots. It is a personal go-to cigar for me and I keep them in quantity in my personal humidor.

The Flavour

First impressions yield the aromas of wood and cedar.

I personally favour a double V cut (also known as a crown cut) using my trusty Colibri V cutter, as I feel it improves the draw and overall enjoyment of the cigar. The cold draw gives a strong indication towards what we expect to follow, that is to say classic Montecristo earthiness and tangy bittersweet flavours.

The Edmundo has an effortless draw and flavours of wood, cedar and pepper abound in the first third. The smoke was thick and aromatic. It is not an intense cigar. As I move into the middle third, the cigar continues to develop in flavour and tastes earthier. The famous Montecristo blend begins to reveal itself; earthy, salty and bittersweet. The Montecristo burns with an appealing-looking snow white ash. The final third increases bitter flavours of strong espresso.

I would recommend the Edmundo for those preferring a heavier ring gauge, consistent, easy draw and medium body.

I paired the Montecristo Edmundo with a special tasting kit of Cuban rums. The rums were Ron Mulata, Ron Vigia, Edmundo Dantes and Santiago de Cuba. These rums have all been aged for between 15 to 20 years. I was excited to try these very special rums alongside the Montecristo Edmundo.

The Rums

The Ron Mulata 15 Year Old is a rum distilled at the Heriberto Duquesne factory. It is aged in 180-litre oak casks. On first nosing, the Ron Mulata has aromas of butter, caramel and oak. On tasting, it is smooth and medium-bodied, with flavours of fruit and spices with a taste of pepper. The finish is light. Its medium body goes very well with the Montecristo Edmundo.

The Ron Vigia 18 Year Old from the Ron Vigia range. Its dark colour comes from the 18-year aging process. It is medium-bodied and provides the nose with honey, sweet molasses, tobacco leaf and cigar smoke. It tastes of vanilla, brown sugar and liquorice and finishes with sugar and dark chocolate. Interestingly, this rum was apparently named after Ernest Hemmingway who had a farm outside of Havana called La Finca Vigia (Lookout). It is the perfect rum to enjoy a cigar with a Montecristo Edmundo.

The Edmundo Dantes rum is also aged for 15 years, produced in Santiago de Cuba in small quantities of only 3,000 bottles per year. It is owned by the Montecristo cigar brand. This dark amber rum evokes the typical flavours of Cuban tobacco, coffee and spice. It is balanced and soft. The nose is filled with exotic fruits, caramel and vanilla. It tastes of tobacco, vanilla and sweet spice. The finish is long as the layers of caramel, fruits and tobacco fade away slowly. Another very enjoyable rum to pair with the Edmundo cigar.

Santiago de Cuba 20 Year Old has a very inviting nose of muscovado sugar, caramelised and roasted nuts, cigar leaves and wood. It tastes light, yielding flavours of vanilla and light tobacco. It finishes well with caramel and honey. This would be a special occasion rum in my opinion.

The tasting kit has given me the opportunity to taste some world-class rums, one of which can be very hard to find. They all pair excellently with a medium-bodied cigar such as the Montecristo Edmundo. As you’d expect from James J. Fox, the tasting kit is beautifully packaged and together with a cigar such as the Montecristo Edmundo makes a fantastic gift for the cigar and rum lover in your life.

Customer Advisor in James J. Fox Dublin

If there's one thing Patrick is more passionate about than cigars, it'll be music. He's a talented saxophonist and, if you hear jazz playing on our shop floor, you can be sure that he's on the day's roster!

July 15, 2021