Earlier this year, General Cigar released a new Hoyo De Monterrey cigar under its Excalibur sub-brand known as the Hoyo de Monterrey Excalibur Black. For a period from 2016 to 2019, much of the focus of the Hoyo brand was around the Hoyo La Amistad sub-brand, a line of contemporary-looking cigars produced in Nicaragua by AJ Fernandez. But 2019 would see General take Hoyo De Monterrey to having a more classic look. The Hoyo De Monterrey Excalibur Black is the latest cigar that continues the movement toward Hoyo de Monterrey’s classic look. Today we take a closer look at the Hoyo De Monterrey Excalibur Black in the Toro 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. 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, in the early part of the 2010s, activity in the brand was somewhat quieter. When it comes to the Excalibur line, it has been somewhat quiet since the shift back to more of the classic looking Hoyo De Monterrey offerings. Personally, I have a little trouble explaining what the Excalibur line under Hoyo de Monterrey is, but as said above it has remained one of the more popular ones.
The Hoyo De Monterrey Excalibur Black is not the first maduro cigar under the Excalibur sub-brand. One of the more popular offerings it the Hoyo de Monterrey Excalibur Dark Knight. The blend of the Excalibur Black is a very different one from the Excalibur Dark Knight.
Without further ado, let’s break down the Hoyo De Monterrey Excalibur Black Toro and see what this cigar brings to the table.
Blend and Origin
The Hoyo De Monterrey Excalibur Black is a multi-national blend featuring tobaccos from four countries. It features a Connecticut Broadleaf wrapper over a Sumatra binder from Ecuador and fillers from Honduras and Nicaragua. Production is handled out of the HATSA factory in Honduras.
Wrapper: USA Connecticut Broadleaf
Binder: Ecuadorian Sumatra
Filler: Honduran, Nicaraguan
Country of Origin: Honduras
Factory: Honduran American Tobacco S.A. (HATSA)
The Hoyo De Monterrey Excalibur Black is available in three sizes. Each is presented in 20-count boxes.
Robusto: 5 x 50
Toro: 6 x 52
No. 1: 7 1/4 x 54
The Connecticut Broadleaf wrapper of the Hoyo De Monterrey Excalibur Black Toro had a dark roasted coffee bean color. Upon closer examination, some mottling could be seen on the surface. The surface of the wrapper had some oil on it. There were some visible veins, but the dark color of the wrapper did a good job at hiding the wrapper seams.
There were two bands on the Hoyo De Monterrey Excalibur Black. The primary band had a similar look to the throwback style of the Hoyo De Monterrey Epicure, but with a mostly white, red, silver, and black color scheme. On the center of the band was a red shield containing the text “Hoyo de Monterrey” in white font with dark trim. Below the text was a small white cross. Above the shield was a silver crown. To the left and right of the band, there was a silver medallion and other gray embellishments. The lower third of the band had a black background with some gray designs on it. On that background was the text “EXCALIBUR” in silver font.
The secondary band of the Hoyo De Monterrey Excalibur Black rests just below the primary band. It was also black with some gray designs on it. On the center of the band was the text “BLACK” in silver font. The band is finished with black and silver trim.
A straight cut was used to commence the cigar experience of the Hoyo De Monterrey Excalibur Black Toro. Once the cap was removed it was on to the pre-light draw. The cold draw was relatively straightforward – delivering a mix of mocha and earth notes. As said in many previous Cigar Coop assessments, mocha is a term used in our reviews referring to a fusion between chocolate and coffee notes. This was a simple, but satisfying pre-light draw. At this point, it was time to toast the foot of the Hoyo De Monterrey Excalibur Black Toro and await what the smoking experience would have in store.
The Hoyo De Monterrey Excalibur Black Toro delivered notes of coffee, dark chocolate, and cedar. Unlike the pre-light draw, the coffee and chocolate notes were separate and distinct. During the first third, the coffee and chocolate notes became primary. The coffee remained grounded in the forefront while the chocolate floated between the background and forefront. The cedar notes moved to the background. On the retro-hale, there was a combination of cedar and black pepper.
By the second third of the Hoyo de Monterrey Excalibur Black Toro, the coffee notes remained primary. The dark chocolate notes slowly diminished during this phase. The black pepper notes emerged on the tongue in the background. Throughout this stage of the smoking experience, the black pepper increased on both the tongue and the retro-hale. Just past the midway point, some earth notes mixed in with the coffee.
By the final third, the coffee and earth remained primary. The pepper notes were now the closest secondary note. Further back were still some notes of cedar and chocolate. This is the way the Hoyo de Monterrey Excalibur Black Toro came to a close. The resulting nub was slightly soft to the touch and cool in temperature.
The Hoyo de Monterrey Excalibur Black Toro performed excellently when it came to the burn. The cigar maintained a straight burn path and straight burn line with minimal touch-ups required. The resulting ash was firm with a light gray color. Both the burn rate and burn temperature maintained ideal levels.
The draw to the Hoyo de Monterrey Excalibur Black Toro was a little more open than I prefer. Normally I like a touch of resistance on the draw. At the same time, this was a low-maintenance cigar to derive flavor from.
Strength and Body
The Hoyo de Monterrey Excalibur Black Toro started out as a medium strength, medium-bodied cigar. Toward the end of the second third, the strength and body kick it up a notch just crossing into medium to full territory. When looking at strength and body, both attributes balanced each other nicely with neither attribute overpowering the other.
As I have said in the past, while I liked what Hoyo de Monterrey did with the La Amistad Series, I was really happy to see Hoyo de Monterrey go back to its Honduran side. The Hoyo de Monterrey Excalibur Black Toro is a bright spot for the Hoyo de Monterrey brand. In particular, this cigar excelled in the category that is most important of all – flavor. It’s a cigar that performed quite consistently each time I smoked it. It’s been long talked about how there have been Connecticut Broadleaf shortages. On top of that, it seems like the Connecticut Broadleaf making it to market have been somewhat disappointed. This is not the case with the Hoyo de Monterrey Excalibur Black Toro. On top of that, the $8.69 price point is quite reasonable.
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 smoke again and buy multiples to keep in the humidor. At 90 points, this cigar reaches the threshold for Cigar Coop Standard of Excellence.
Key Flavors: Coffee, Dark Chocolate, Earth, Cedar, Pepper
Draw: Very Good
Strength: Medium (1st 2/3), Medium to Full (Final Third)
Body: Medium (1st 2/3), Medium to Full (Final Third)
Finish: Very Good
Value: Buy Multiples
Cigar Coop Standard of Excellence
News: Hoyo de Monterrey Excalibur Black Launching in June
Source: General Cigar Company
Brand Reference: Hoyo de Monterrey
Photo Credits: Cigar Coop