Experience: Montecristo No. 3. One of the Finest Habanos in the World.

As we were getting ready to enjoy another sunset at the Ritz-Carlton Grand Cayman down in the Cayman Islands, we pulled out an Habano to enjoy the moment even more. Really, there's nothing better than a good cigar on the beach, wearing a nice watch and contemplating a beautiful sunset.

This time, we enjoyed a Montecristo No. 3 —a hand rolled Cuban cigar that is typically used as the benchmark when rating other fine cigars.

Montecristo has set the bar quite high for almost 80 years since its launch in 1935. Its name was taken from Alexandre Dumas' novel 'The Count of Montecristo'. The story accounts that when the factory first opened, the manager used to read the novel to the 'torcedores'—rollers— and they liked the novel so much, that they wanted to immortalize the main character of the novel by naming their fine cigars 'Montecristo'.

The Montecristo No. 3 only includes leaves from the region of 'Vuelta Abajo'. This Cuban region is home to the best tobacco leaves in the world. From fillers to binders and wrapper, all are 'Vuelta Abajo' leaves.  'Vuelta Abajo' is located in the western tip of Cuba in the province of 'Pinar del Río' by the towns of 'San Juan y Martínez' and 'San Luis'.

This region is also the main source of tobacco for Habanos, and the only region that grows all types of leaf. But even in this amazing region, less than a quarter of the tobacco growing land enjoys the 'Vegas Finas de Primera' status that is required for the Habanos.

Montecristo No. 3 is a Coronas measuring 5 5/8" in length with a 42 ring gauge. With hints of leather, coffee and ambergris, this cigar is rich and powerful. Flavor profile stays even for the first two thirds of the cigar and becomes stronger on the last third. Around 50 minutes of burning time in a perfectly rolled cigar with perfect draw and almost perfect even burn —went out just once, possibly due to the strong evening sea breeze.

While this cigar is a joy to smoke, we only recommended it for more experienced smokers. Due to its intensity, we feel it might be too much to take for someone looking to try a cigar for the very first time.