Back in 2015, the Hoyo de Monterrey brand celebrated its 150th anniversary. At the time, General Cigar announced it was releasing a limited edition cigar called the Hoyo de Monterrey Edición de Cumpleaños 150. This cigar was a very contemporary spin on the Hoyo de Monterrey from both a packaging and blend standpoint. The contemporary spin would continue for the next few years with the Hoyo La Amistad series, a collaboration with AJ Fernandez. Last year, we saw a different spin when the Hoyo de Monterrey brand reached back to its classic roots with the release of the limited edition Hoyo de Monterrey El Torcedor. Now this year the move toward the classic spin continues with the Hoyo de Monterrey Epicure Selección. The Epicure Selección is the cigar we take at closer look at – in the No.1 (Corona Gorda Size) size.
The Hoyo de Monterrey brand traces its roots to being created in Cuba by Jose Gener, one of Cuba’s most well-known growers created the first Hoyo de Monterrey. The brand is still made and sold in Cuba, but General Cigar owns the non-Cuban rights to the brand. While Hoyo de Monterrey has been one of General’s more active brands, prior to 2015 it was one of the quieter ones. The Hoyo de Monterrey Epicure Selección is a line that pays homage to the early days of cigar making in Honduras, tracing back to the 1950s when the Villazon factory was established. While Hoyo de Monterrey has Cuban roots and more recently the Hoyo La Amistad line has been made in Nicaragua, the Epicure Selección brings attention back to Honduras
Without further ado, let’s turn our attention to the Hoyo de Monterrey Epicure Selección No. 1 and see what this cigar brings to the table.
Blend and Origin
Continuing to pay homage to Honduras, the Hoyo de Monterrey Epicure Selección uses 100% Honduran tobaccos and is made at the Honduran American Tobacco S.A. (HATSA) in Honduras.
Country of Origin: Honduras
Factory: Honduran American Tobacco S.A. (HATSA)
The Hoyo de Monterrey Epicure Selección is available in three sizes. Each is presented in 20-count cabinet slide-top boxes.
No.1: 5 5/8 x 46
No.2: 4 7/8 x 50
Toro Especiale: 6 x 50
The Honduran wrapper of the Hoyo de Monterrey Epicure Selección No. 1 had a dark Colorado color to it. On the surface, there was a slight amount of oil as well as a slight amount of mottling. The surface was also slightly bumpy with some thin veins and thin visible wrapper seams.
The band of the Hoyo de Monterrey Epicure Selección No. 1 had a throwback style look. The band had a mostly white, red, gold, and black color scheme. On the center of the band was a red shield with white, black, and gold trim and the text “Hoyo de Monterrey” in white font with dark trim. Below the text was a small white cross. Above the shield was a gold crown. To the left and right of the band, there was a gold medallion and other gold embellishments. The lower third of the band had a red-colored pseudo secondary band. On that text was the text “EPICURE SELECTION” in white font.
Prior to lighting up the Hoyo de Monterrey Epicure Selección No. 1, a straight cut was used to remove the cap. After clipping the cap, it was on to the pre-light draw ritual. The dry draw delivered a mix of natural tobacco and cedar as well as touches of earth and a slight amount of dried fruit. This was an excellent pre-light draw experience. At this point, it was time to light up the Hoyo de Monterrey Epicure Selección No. 1 and see what the smoking phase would have in store.
The Hoyo de Monterrey Epicure Selección No. 1 started out with notes of natural tobacco, nougat sweetness, baker’s spice, earth, and black pepper. Early on the natural tobacco and nougat notes moved into the forefront with the earth, baker’s spice, and black pepper settling in the background. On the retro-hale was an additional layer of black pepper.
During the second third of the Hoyo de Monterrey Epicure Selección No. 1, the nougat and baker’s spice notes diminished. Before the midway point, the nougat would fall into a background. Concurrently, there was an increase in the black pepper notes. Throughout the second third, the natural tobacco remained grounded as the primary note while the earth notes remained grounded in the background.
By the final third, the pepper notes closed in on the natural tobacco. There were still notes of earth, nougat, and baker’s spice rounding out the flavor profile. This is the way the Hoyo de Monterrey Epicure Selección No. 1 came to a close. The resulting nub was soft to the touch and cool in temperature.
On the Hoyo de Monterrey Epicure Selección No. 1, there was a slight curvature on the burn line, but this was never a cigar that was in danger of meandering off its burn path. This was also not a cigar that required frequent touch-ups. The resulting ash was light gray. The ash was on the firm side and came off the cigar in clean chunks. Meanwhile, the burn rate and burn temperature were both ideal.
The draw to the Hoyo de Monterrey Epicure Selección No. 1 had a touch of resistance – something that is my personal preference. At the same time, this was a low maintenance cigar to derive flavor from.
Strength and Body
In terms of strength and body, the Hoyo de Monterrey Epicure Selección No. 1 delivered a medium strength, medium to full-bodied smoking experience from start to finish. There wasn’t much in the way of variance with the strength or body. During the smoking experience, the body had a slight edge over the strength.
While I did like some of the things Hoyo de Monterrey did with the La Amistad Series, I’m really happy to see Hoyo de Monterrey get back to its Honduran side. This wasn’t the most complex of cigars, but it did perform well in the category that mattered most – flavor. I especially enjoyed what this blend delivered in the Corona Gorda format. While packaging doesn’t add or subtract scoring points, I think Ed Lahmann and his team knocked it out of the park with this work on this line.
This is a cigar I would recommend to a more seasoned cigar enthusiast or a novice looking to go medium/medium plus in profile. As for myself, this is a cigar I would purchase and smoke again.
Key Flavors: Natural Tobacco, Nougat, Earth, Baker’s Spice, Black Pepper
Complexity: Medium Minus
Body: Medium to Full
Finish: Very Good
Value: Buy One
News: General Cigar Announces Hoyo de Monterrey Epicure Selección
Source: General Cigar Company
Brand Reference: Hoyo de Monterrey
Photo Credits: Cigar Coop