Hoyo de Monterrey Epicure No 1 - 5.6 X 46




The long running Epicure No 1 is one of my favorite vitolas, corona gorda.  This cigar is known as a aficionados must have of the Cuban line.  Hoyo de Monterrey is considered one of the best brands offering smooth medium bodied flavors although at times not super complex.  I have not purchased these in the past so...I'm excited to smoke this HDM!    (Box code TEA Dec 15)


Look and Feel: 

The cigar has nice tight seams and minimal veins offering a waxy feel and sheen to it.  The pack is pretty tight and mine did have a slight blemish although I did take the ugliest example I had in the box.  The aroma is a nice barnyard and is fairly pronounced.  Prelight draw is just right and provides a nice wood, hay, and generic fruit notes.  Time to light this thing!


Foot Third:

To start you get a nice hay with a sweet bell pepper and some black pepper.  Through the nose you get black pepper, white pepper, and jalapeno flavors!  Through this third the retrohale jalapeno becomes sweeter mixed with the black pepper.  The draw I taste nice woody flavors with a light fruit sweetness, like apricot.  The finish is medium in length and offers the fruit and spice notes.  The burn time was longer than I expected to, likely due to the tight pack.  The complexity surprised me greatly, lots of flavors blended very well.  Medium body in flavor and light in strength, very enjoyable. 


Body Third:

The draw has only hints of woody flavors with a sweet cream moving to the main stage.  The fruity apricot flavors remain in support of the woody and cream flavors.  Through the nose I really get a sweet bell pepper and a hint of jalapeno.  The finish is fairly short at this point but is very clean and enjoyable.  The finish offers a well blend of all of the flavors above, one would think this is aged at least 5 years!  Still medium in body but medium full at times. 

 

Head Third:
Well, this third provided an earth flavor with a finish providing black pepper deep in the mouth.  Not unpleasant but I preferred it to remain what I had on the first two thirds.  The retrohale provides a spicy bell pepper with black pepper providing a jalapeno finish...fun!  The complexity really is in the different flavors provided via draw vs. retrohale and again surprised me greatly. 


Summary:

I did not think this cigar would provide this level of experience and complexity.  The draw flavors changed a few times as did the retrohale while the finish blended it all together so well.  The last third did show some youth and become earthy in nature.  The finish towards the end became a darker black pepper kicking up the spice and body.  If you like a cigar that is constructed very well, providing flavors of wood, light fruit-apricot,sweet cream, black pepper, bell pepper, and jalapeno...get some of these. 


Look & Feel:
94


Construction:
93

Flavor & Balance:

94

Value:
94

Overall Rating:

94


 

Hoyo de Monterrey Epicure No 2 - 4.9 X 50




This cigar is one of the long time standards in Cuban cigars...typically among the top go to Cuban robustos.  I enjoy these but prefer at least three year of age to ensure they are balanced.  That said I'm looking forward to test these young examples to see if they are ready to rock and roll.  (Box code OPS Jul 2016)


Look and Feel: 

The number 2 provides a musty barnyard aroma right out of the box!  The construction looks good with moderate veins and tight seams.  The wrapper is packed pretty tight and looks waxy while being pretty slick to the feel.  The prelight provides a green grass note with hay mixed in. 


Foot Third:

Great light with lots of smoke!  Right out of the box you get a strong black pepper mixed with cream.  The sweet/sour Cuban twang is present with a gritty earth with nutmeg.  Through the nose you get a nice white pepper, bell pepper flavor with sweet cream mixed in.  Hay does pop in from time to time as does a nice little green onion mixed with the bell pepper.  At the end of the first third the sweetness became more of a mixed fruity sweetness which is a nice transition late.  The finish tends to provide a black pepper and nutmeg mix that is medium in length.  The body is medium to medium-full and the strength of nicotine is mild.  Great start!


Body Third:

The second third was similar with an added amount of earth...a dark earth.  The black pepper on the draw comes in a little and is kicked up a lot on the finish and through the nose.  Hints of leather pops in throughout this third and is providing a fair amount of transition to keep you looking for more.  Vegetal sweetness with earth is the binding flavor and is very smooth and even gives you hints of shortbread.  The finish gets a little longer and the strength and body is the same as the first third...let keep it going! 

 

Head Third:
The last section is more earth mixed with a black pepper and nutmeg.  The cigar is a little less refined but is not unpleasant in any way.  The bell pepper notes have gone away and the cream has stepped back a lot.  The cigar is young and at the very end you can tell as it has more grit to it.  There is a little kick of strength of nicotine at the end but not much to speak of.   I do want this cigar to go back to what is did in the first two thirds but still a plesant smoke even at the end. 


Summary:

For a young Epicure No 2 I am amazed!  This cigar through two thirds were awesome...mid to high 90s but the last third did bump is back unfortunately.  The blend is well balanced and provides complexity with different flavors between the draw, through the nose, and on the finish.  If you are looking for a cigar with the vegetal, cream, natural sweetness, and black pepper & nutmeg mix...go for it!  Another year and this cigar will be a hero!


Look & Feel:
92


Construction:
92

Flavor & Balance:

94

Value:
94

Overall Rating:

93


 

Hoyo de Monterrey Epicure Especial - 5.5 X 50




A newcomer to the Hoyo de Monterrey line, starting life as a special edition and becoming a regular production cigar shortly after its release in 2004/2005.  This is known as a well blended cigar offering pleasant flavors but still medium body as most of the HDM line tends to be.  Box code TOS Sept 15.


Look and Feel: 

Seams are tight but the veins are more than moderate.  Mine had a stitched type scar on the wrapper...should have been tossed out for its look.  The pack is tight and the weight is moderate.  The wrapper has a nice wax sheen to it and slippery to the touch.  The aroma is a musty tobacco smell with a little wood.  Prelight offers a tight draw and earth flavors and sweet woody notes.  Time to light this cigar up!


Foot Third:

At the start you get a woody flavor with a slight sweetness.  The retrohale provide a floral sweetness with a white pepper but is smooth.  Earth and leather are really in the background. The flavors are a little tough to pick up but it is likely due to it being so well blended.  The sweetness turns to a fruity sweetness with a cream flavor and texture.  The wood is a pine wood which is pretty easy to detect but is in the background.  The finish is a nice creamy coffee with sweet spices providing a nice smooth & clean finish.  The draw opened up and the construction is great.  What a start!


Body Third:

The fruit notes moved to the background and the draw now provides a honey sweetness with cream flavors..  The finish still provides a coffee flavor with cream notes.  Occasionally you get a quick touch of a bell pepper sweetness before it moves to the honey.  Sweet spices are on the retrohale and the late finish offering a nice minor kick.  Good transitions and well performing so far.  Medium body and medium strength so far. 

 

Head Third:
The draw starts with honey but becomes earthy quickly.  The finish is earthy with sweet spices which moves to the back of your throat late in the finish.  The first two thirds we better than this but this third is not unpleasant.  The cigar overall is smooth but has become deeper and a little darker at the end.


Summary:

I am really surprised how well this cigar performed and how great the flavors were.  The end was a bit of a let down but I have to say the first two thirds we in the epic scale...wow!  At times the flavors were medium full and the flavors were so enjoyable and smooth.  This was not a spicy cigar but rather a fairly sweet and creamy cigar with natural fruit and floral sweet flavors.  A better last third, this would have been 98 or so, no joke!  The cigar was so well blended and I have to say, for the price...so get some! 


Look & Feel:
92


Construction:
96

Flavor & Balance:

96

Value:
93

Overall Rating:

95


 

Review By: Matt

Look & Feel
Wrapper quality, smell from the wrapper, smell from the foot, box presentation, and color of wrapper.

 

Construction
Burn quality, draw quality, heat on the draw, quality of the wrapper, and cap construction.

 

Flavor & Balance
Overall flavor of the cigar, balance of flavors, strength to body balance, and complexity.


Value
Value taking the quality vs. the market vs. the market price


Overall Rating
Taking all aspects into consideration we rate based on the quality of the cigar and the quality of the experience. 




Hoyo de Monterrey (Cuba)

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Review By: Matt

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70-80 Points - Poor to Fair          81-90 Points - Fair to Good          91-96 - Excellent          97-100 - Epic

Hoyo de Monterrey is one of the oldest brand of cigars on the planet dating back to 1865.  Originating from San Juan y Martinez, this name literally means "hole" due to the shape of the low lands where the tobacco was grown.  HDM offers medium bodied cigars typically and are very smooth.  They are one of the gems of Cuban cigars and worth anyone trying them regardless of your preferred profile.  

Review By: Matt

Review By: Matt

Review By: Matt