Hoyo de Monterrey Epicure #2. A true classic. This cigar has been around for more than 60 years, and it is one of the most praised and sold cigars from Cuba. But the Hoyo de Monterrey brand itself has an even longer history. At ate 13, Don José Gener y Batet, migrated from Spain to Cuba. There he worked on his uncle’s tobacco farm in the Vuelta Abajo region. In his early 30s, around 1850, he started a cigar factory in Havana and started producing cigars. His brand was La Escepción. That brand was faded out in the 1980s although in the last decade the brand name was used twice for an Italian regional edition. With the profits of La Escepción, Don José Gener purchased the best tobacco he could find and in 1865 he used that tobacco for his new creation: Hoyo de Monterrey.
Where La Escepción was known for its strength, Hoyo de Monterrey is a mild Cuban cigar. The cigar performed particularly well in the United Kingdom, and due to the success, the factory grew to be one of the biggest in Cuba. When Gener passed away, his daughter took over the business. In 1931 the brands and the factory were sold to Fernández, Palicio y Cía. Fernández, Palicio y Cía owned Punch and Belinda and remained to own the brands until Cuba was ‘liberated’ and all businesses were nationalized.
This is a decent looking cigar. A nice Colorado colored wrapper, not very oily though. There is a thin, sharp vein on the front of the cigar. Both rings are well printed with high-quality bronze dusting. Even though you might think “bronze, it’s gold”, you are right. Yet the process is called bronze dusting. The triple cap looks great. On the touch, the cigar feels good. There is a mild ammonia aroma coming from the cigar, with fresh greens like leaves in the autumn.
The cold draw is a bit tight. It’s slightly salty with wood. Once lit, the cigar is sweet, sour, and bitter. Coffee bitterness with vinegar and salt is the best way to describe the first puffs. It then changes to salty peanuts, with some leather and earthiness. Plenty of dynamics in the first third, as the flavors progress to salty herbs with wood. Halfway the cigar gets a nice peppery flavor with hazelnuts. The retrohale has sweetness and vanilla. There is a slight Cappucino flavor halfway with herbs. The mouthfeel is quite dry. The pepper grows in strength, tingling on the lips as a good chili pepper does. There is some vanilla sweetness as well, with leather and soil on the background. The aftertaste is mild minty. It changes to pepper and nuts.
The draw is acceptable, slightly tight but still acceptable. The ash is dark, indicating that the soil the tobacco was grown on is low on potassium. The cigar turns very soft after being lit. The burn had to be touched up a few times. The smoke is thin, and there isn’t a lot of it in volume either. But the volume and the thickness of the smoke progress. This cigar is medium-bodied, and while it starts medium flavored it grows to medium-full. The smoke time is two hours.
Would I buy this cigar again? It was enjoyable, but there are Cuban cigars I enjoy more in the same price range.