The Medal of Honor brand is an old brand that was resurrected in 2005 by Lew Rothman to celebrate the memories of men who helped JR Cigars become one of the largest, most successful cigar outlets in the U.S. (There was a “Medal of Honor” cigar made in the boom years that was pretty awful; it should have been called “Dishonorable Discharge”. This Medal of Honor is an entirely different animal.)
The Intellect honors Martin Herbst, and this paean is engraved on the inside top of the box:
A History teacher by trade, Martin married into the family that operated the Joseph Jonas cigar company on Nassau St. in New York City. Joseph Jonas & Co. was the largest mail order cigar dealer in the USA specializing in fine Havana cigars at the time of the Cuban Embargo.
In the mid-1960’s Martin formed his own company, International Cigar, and was the creator of the Maria Mancini and La Finca cigar brands. He pioneered many innovative mail order techniques that essentially changed premium cigars from a specialty item available in major metropolitan markets only, to a nationally marketed luxury product.
Medal of Honor cigars are made by master tobacco blender Estelo Padron in Cofradia, Honduras, in the Villazon factory. The Intellect is a five country blend, with an oily Ecuador Sumatran wrapper, a Connecticut broadleaf binder, and filler from Nicaragua, Honduras, and the Dominican Republic. Measuring 6.25 x 45, it is billed as a “grand corona” or a “thick corona.”
Packed in heavy varnished boxes of 35, and priced along the same lines as other Villazon products– not cheap, but not out of reach either. I think I paid around 70 USD about six months ago when JR was running a special. Not bad for 35 sticks.
The Medal of Honor Intellect is a medium-bodied, easy going cigar with fantastic construction. Every single one has burned razor sharp, even in a brisk wind. It has a woody flavor, with a very mild aftertaste. It’s a refined cigar with a very pleasant aroma, but it isn’t terribly complex. There’s no transition; it starts out with a cedary opening and pretty much stays that way to the end. And that’s about the worst I can say about it, so it must be pretty good. I’ve gone through about 20 over the past few months, and I’ve enjoyed every one.