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Hoyo De Monterrey Cigars Taste Test

Hoyo De Monterrey Epicure No. 1
Reviewed by Austin Dyer


I have smoked a good few of these lovely cigars so I thought I should review one. I spent a nice relaxing afternoon off after my morning run in the noodle bar of a very good Teriyaki restaurant in Liverpool city centre. After a delicious lunch of duck noodles and sake I ordered a coffee and a cigar ash tray then took out my Epicure #1 and clipped the cap. It is one of those cigars I really look forward to, especially as it was a 2002 production from a very good box.

The pre-light aroma was classic, first class Hoyo de Monterrey; sweet floral and vanilla tobacco scents. The cigar was very well rolled as usual, looks good enough to eat, soft to the touch and dressed in a nice dark chocolate wrapper. Once I put flame to leaf and got a nice even burn going the flavours oozed out and made my mouth water, started off fairly mellow and mild, a nice amount of spice to it, tickling my nose then it eased its way to a firm medium flavour and body and losing some of the spice to become creamier. Floral, cocoa, vanilla, brown sugar, very complex and delicious.

These various flavours are present during most of the smoke with some only appearing now and then, teasing your taste buds. The burn was a tad un-even but never caused any real problems, only having to touch it up once and with no affect to the flavour whatsoever. As it burnt down to the nub a touch of coffee and earthy tobacco flavours came to the fore, though soon becoming hot and tarry, then as it reached a very respectable 3/4 of an inch I decided it was time for it to burn out in the ash tray.

These are one of my top 5 cigars and I always save them for a day when I have plenty of time on my hands, after a nice lunch preferably. Very creamy and smooth, unlike the Epicure #2 which is much spicier. Personally I prefer it over the Epi 2. When they are good they are really good, and they age beautifully, however there have been some bad batches so you have to know what you are buying. An outstanding smoke!

Construction: 25/25
Smoking Characteristics: 22/25
Flavour: 25/25
Overall opinion: 24/25

Total: 96/100!

Ok, I definately see that there is a trend in these entries towards setting up the review of the cigar with "where you were and what you were eating". Thats all well and good and may set the mood a bit...but lets get to the "stick".  The remaining 75% of the review was more informative and started to perk me up. Sounds like a good smoke to me!
Score: 7/10
Reviewed by: Greg Bos, Southern California

Great work here. Concise and explicit about flavors, all the while honest about being a real fan. Development of flavors was given a nice treatment; the reader has a full sense of how things tasted and how the transition between 1/3 segments evolved. Very nicely done!
Score: 8/10
Reviewed by: John Drabinski

This happens to be one of my favourite cigars and a great smoke. I thought the flavour description was good, but have never noted a "floral" present in this wonderful smoke. This is an earthy, meaty cigar best enjoyed in the evening after a great meal.
Score: 8/10
Reviewed by Joe Mazloom


Hoyo El Piramides 2003
Reviewed by Chris Emelianchik


The cigar had a very dark wrapper, that was very veiny. It looked very similar to the other EL pyramid wrappers that I have seen and smoked.

The cigar had a mellow chocolaty pre light taste. Upon lighting the tobacco taste was very light, but there was an intense chocolate taste on top of it. For the first third, this taste continued, with maybe the tobacco taste increasing a bit more. There was a mellow sweetness to the cigar, and it was very light to medium bodied.

As the tobacco taste started to pick up a little bit, I thought to myself that if there was a little spice thrown into the mix that this could be a really good cigar. As I got down to almost the robusto length of the cigar BAM!!!!! There it was. All of a sudden the flavors took a change for the better. The chocolate taste faded a bit, and the cigar picked up a hint of spice, along with cedar and oak. For the next fifteen or so minutes I thought that the cigar was in perfect balance and I was in heaven. The light sweetness persisted throughout.

The final third was where the sweetness of this cigar came out to play. It was different from any other taste that I have ever tasted in a cigar, as it had a slight saltiness to balance it out. There was also tastes of heavy oak and light cedar, with the underlying chocolate. The cigar did start to get a little wet in the final third, which was more then likely due to it's youth. The cigar never got hot, as I nubbed it to it's end.

Wow, what a cigar. I thought that it might be a little light and disappointing at the beginning, but it increased in strength and body as I smoked it. It ended as a nice medium bodied smoke. I think with 2+years of aging on it this cigar will be a classic. This is probably my favorite of all the EL's that I have smoked since the original release ones. I plan on buying a box very soon, and I would highly recommend the same to all of you. It was very hard not to smoke this thing too fast as the flavour coming out of it was fabulous. Think Hershey bar with some nice spice. Final thoughts, smoke em if you got em, and buy another box for the future.

Once I got past the gee whiz, golly wow, there were some great comments here. I would try this cigar based upon this review.
Score: 8/10
Reviewed by: Joe Mazloom

Another good read with some good pointers. Maybe could improve with a matching of drink, but then maybe the reviewer didn't drink anything with it. I've smoked 1 of these, so not really objective, but I think the reviewer gets this spot on. Nice and concise.
Score: 8/10
Reviewed by: Richard Whitwell

Overall a good review, and the best review of the three. The author could have organized the review clearer. Starting with inspection, pre-light draw, cut...etc. etc. etc. This would have added clarity to the review. In contrast the author captured the essence of this cigar. I especially enjoyed the way the author noted the changes in strength and taste as the cigar developed.
Score: 8/10
Reviewed by: Heike Billy


Hoyo De Monterrey Double Corona
Reviewed by Miranda Maduro Mistress


'Twas the night before work week, when all through the house, The Maduro Mistress was stirring, trying not to wake spouse; The humis, half empty, lay on wood floor with care, Waiting, anticipating, for her to come share;

Where Mistress' babies had nestled all snug in their cedar, Now only visions of perfect ash wafted in their stead; For that Hoyo De Monterrey Double Corona, with perfect cap, Had just settled in her lungs for a long winter's nap,

When out on the humidor it's 7 5/8 inches did indeed flatter, She sucked it right down, quick smart, what a wrapper! When the 49 ring gauge hit her teeth with a gnash, "Divine" she muttered and hit the ashtray with ash.

Now the cigar is half gone, but oh what a glow the luster, the strength, the tobacco - whoa, when, what to her wandering eyes should appear, but a 6 pack of Heineken! Oh, what a beer!

With a little MacGyver, oh yeah, what a trick, She flipped open a bottle, and damn boys, she's quick! More rapid than eagles, those cigar forces they came, and she whistled and shouted and called them by name:

"Now Toasty! Now Flinty!
Now, Rustic, yet Smooth.
Oh core of Pepper Spice,
So, Earthy and Woody!
And Leathery to boot!
To the cigar smoking hall of fame ye shall go!
Oh Hoyo De Monterrey Double Corona,
How I shall miss you so...

Whilst I would award this a top prize for lyrical genius, I would have to deduct marks for tasting and description. I just could not feel this one, a great cigar one of my fav's, however unfortunately the tale of Christmas overpowered the review and left a foggy winterfinish on a great cigar !
Score 7/10
Reviewed by Mat Nicholls

for effort/attempt on the verse! At first I thought - "Ah fa' Christs sake, here we go again - it's the Startrek geezer all over again". Then I read it and thought, no it's not as good as that! What was the point of this? I guess the person liked the stogie - not sure if I could get a reasonable comparison with anything else if I hadn't smoked these before and I can't see why people think this sort of codswallop is a good review.
Score 2/10
Reviewed by Richard Whitwell (aka Cowell)

Very season appropriate! Quite the effort put forth and most cleverly written! Nice touch to match an appropriate libation as well. Review covers size (both length and gauge), construction, palate flavors and recommendation. Invites one into the entire HdM experience - well done!
Score 10/10
Reviewed by Alec


Hoyo De Monterrey Epicure No. 2
Reviewed by Ian Hodgkiss (March 2004)

Robusto - 4 7/8" 50 Ring Gauge


I received one of these as part of a Seleccion Robusto sampler for Christmas. Having been dragged around the New Year sales (which seem to start earlier each year!!) by my wife, I decided that I needed some serious "quiet time" and settled down to watch the horse racing, after a light lunch, with my Epicure No.2 and a glass of Port. Enough preamble, and down to business.

The first thing to hit you about this cigar is the flawless construction - a dark, chocolaty brown, oily wrapper with wonderful veining, a lovely sheen and a perfectly uniform thickness the whole length of its body. It feels very firm, but has enough "spring" in its feel to negate any worries about problems with the draw. This is a cigar that screams "Smoke me! You won't be disappointed". I clipped the cap with "V" shaped cutter, and there was absolutely no flaking or shredding of the cap. The pre-light draw confirmed that this was a wonderfully constructed example of this vitola, and already I could pick up an enchanting hint of cedar with a sweet edge to it.

Having warmed the foot, I lit the cigar with a match and immediately I was hit with an enormous flavour of cedar and leather, but with a subtle sweetness that remained throughout the entire smoke. I had read previously that Hoyo's are, by their nature, among the milder brands and indeed there was certainly no hint of harshness with this beauty, but you could never accuse it of lacking flavour.

After about the first half inch, the smoke is infused with lovely taste of hazelnuts, followed by coffee, but all the time with that underlying hint of fresh leather and sweet cedar. There was never any hint of bitterness or harshness even though I smoked this down to within its last inch.

The ash is an even dark grey, and stays on forever (I only had to part the ash once during the whole smoke, and that was only because I didn't think it could possibly stay in place any longer), and the burn is slow and even. The cigar did not need relighting once!!. I would rate this cigar as 19 1/2 out of twenty, and it only loses the 1/2 mark because the 55 minutes it lasted wasn't long enough.

I cannot rate this highly enough, and if the rest of the selection is anywhere near as good as this one, I will be a very happy man indeed. I am now actively saving for a box of these. Oh yes, and Tony McCoy one the big chase at Cheltenham - life really doesn't get much better than this!

Great review, we are given point-by point notes on how it tasted as he smoked through it. Gives nice references to the ash, wrapper and a little note on his surroundings and drink. This is what a cigar review should look like.
Rating: 8.5/10
Reviewed by Michael L

This review hit all the bases. Look, feel, pre-light and the experience itself. I could taste that Epi 2 from the words (but I'd rather have the cigar) very good job.
Score 9/10
Reviewed by Michael L

Yes, another lovely review although I personally hate V cutters and would never use one on a robusto nor do I care what colour the ash is as it is immaterial. As before I detect "nuttiness" in a cigar but could never identify it to a particular nut. Call me old fashioned but a Havana cigars usually tastes of tobacco to me(!)
Rating: 8/10
Reviewed by Smokeymo

Overall Score: 25.5/30

Hoyo De Monterrey Epicure No. 2
Reviewed by Drew Rayman (February 2004)


My box of Hoyo de Monterrey Epicure No. 2 was certainly well traveled. Born in Cuba, raised in London, it arrived on a frigid 20 degree morning here in New York. Unfortunately my cigars were left on the doorstep for a few hours and seemed a dry, cold and tired from their travels. I placed them in my humidor to fend off the jetlag for a few days.

3 days later: I opened the humidor and remove my first Epicure #2. Looks fine if a bit flat, not the shiny maduro coat of the Hoya Pyramids, rather a dryish natural brown. First thing I usually check is the firmness, especially after a short stay in the box, these were rather solid, about 70% as tight as the the Partagas LE Robusto (which is like a brick). I have a rather unique "cutter"... a friend of mine honed and sharpened a brass 44 caliber bullet (shell) and it punches the most perfect, beautiful hole I've ever seen.

Time to light up! Right off the bat, this cigar delivers. Not a hint of bitterness, it was lovely. First third was just a hint of spice, a touch of mocha. The construction was perfect, the draw was full with and easy burn. you will find the second third simply intensifies all the great flavors from the first. Way more earthy and a bit more floral.

Right off the bat, this cigar delivers. Not a hint of bitterness, it was lovely. First third was just a hint of spice, a touch of mocha. The construction was perfect, the draw was full with and easy burn. you will find the second third simply intensifies all the great flavors from the first. Way more earthy and a bit more floral.

I continued the smoke as I got in the car with a "lady friend" and this is where the cigar distinguishes itself from all others (get your mind out of the gutter all you Bill Clinton fans!). She actually turned to me and said "wow, that cigar smells fantastic!". High praise indeed! And it does. The aroma of the Epicure #2 is the crowning achievement of this cigar. sweet and floral and ALWAYS a pleasure.

It got embarrassingly small, and was perfect till the NON-bitter end. I have smoked about 15 of these fine cigars, and here is one last important insight. I guesstimate that 10% of these cigars are rolled too tightly. There's no denying that the tobacco in the product is always exceptional, but my theory is that there is one or two less-skilled workers in the factory that are producing these over rolled cigars.

I am not the first to comment on this. And when they are plugged, they're plugged. Mash it, smash it, it's not going to draw. So, in conclusion... a well constructed E2 is my favorite "anytime" cigar. It gets a solid 4.8 out of 5. If its plugged, dump it and light another.

HDM Epicure No 2. This I thought was the best review for the month. The author told me what I had already knew. The HdM Epi #2 is a great little powerhouse. I felt that I was enjoying one of these with his words. This gets my vote for Top February review.
Score 9/10
Reviewed by FBCoacho

The review of the cigar is very good. The reviewer describes the overall flavor well. I dont like the little rant at the end about how 10% of the cigars per box are plugged. Sounds like he needs to get a current production box. Either way it was a downpoint at the end of a great review.....
Score: 9/10
Reviewed by ChrisECheck

A very short cut and dry story with not much review of the cigar's flavor. Which is a shame as I happen to think this is a great cigar and to not talk about any of its true flavor characteristics is a shame. I realize there is some mention of hints of flavors and hints of aroma; but it seems that the smoker is a bit shy in describing the cigar itself with conviction.
Score 6/10
Reviewed by Ted Hood


LE Hoyo Du Depute
Reviewed by Joe Gellman (11th July 2003)

Over the years, I have been asked what my favorite short smoke is. While it is often difficult to answer such emotionally filled questions, this is a snap, for me. The Hoyo Du Depute', for certain.

At 4 1/4 x 38, the HDD provides a superb smoke for those who do not have the time for a leisurely break. I have to warn the readers, however, that it is my opinion that the 50 cab of this cigar is the best flavored and best buy, although the 25 SLB is also a very fine smoke.

In the cabinet, the cigars were all very beautiful to the eye, all medium brown-claro, with occasional green spots about the leaf. A few of the cigars had soft spots, described by "Epicur's Guide to the Habano" as "somewhat spongier," but this did not affect the cigar's burn, draw, or flavor.

This particular vitola proves the adage that good things come in small packages. Without any question, this is not a cigar for beginners. The smoke is quite full bodied and can reveal a hint of harshness, though I really think it is this full flavor which makes me love this cigar.

This cigar is properly classified as a Trabuco, but I have always referred to it as a tres petit corona. Before lighting, the cigar has a sweet taste, on the edge of being cloyingly so. This dissipates almost immediately after lighting.

Since the cigar is "spongy" I like to keep the humidity down a bit as I enjoy my cigars a little firmer than most. I think this is the proper way to smoke this cigar, and if you do not agree well, OK.

From the get-go, this cigar is sweet with a rawness I did not expect from this additional line from Hoyo de Monterrey. I do not mean to demean this cigar, but, frankly, I suggest this not be the first option for the beginner, and a classic for the more refined smoker.

The draw is even and cool, sweet with a hint of acidity. If ever there was a cigar to blend perfectly with that first tasse of espresso, this is it. If you only have a short work break, this cigar will satisfy your nicotine Jones. Don't worry about the ash dropping in your tasse' latte, it is firm and has to be flicked off. (Not to be confused with those who keep telling Mitchell to "flick off.")

Hoyo De Monterrey Short Corona
Reviewed by Mark Braybrook (March 2003)


As always my cigar smoking takes place in the conservatory of my home. It is the ideal place to sit back and enjoy a smoke and a drink in total seclusion. It is the one place where I feel no one will take offence to my particular hobby. Today is my day off, due to me working Saturdays, and so I select a Hoyo De Monterrey Short Corona and a small glass of Woodford Reserve Bourbon to accompany me on an hours worth of quality time. The thing I enjoy most about my cigar smoking is the fact that one has to take time out to do it. It's a case of saying that the world can do what it likes for the next hour, as long as it leaves me in peace to smoke my cigar.

The Hoyo De Monterrey Short Corona is a 5 inch, 42 gauge Cuban cigar of superior quality. This particular one cut well, which is always a good sign. I warm the end with my Habanos matches and take my first puff. It draws well and the end glows a consistent Halloween orange. It has a rich taste immediately, with a creaminess that satisfies the palette. The cigar burns nice and evenly as I relax into myself.

Twenty five minutes later and the cigar is still full of flavour, with an excellent glow to the tip. The cigar and bourbon are complimenting each other like old rival politicians!

Forty minutes in and there is a slight harshness on the throat but this does nothing to diminish the flavour. There's plenty of flavour to enjoy and no trace of heat at my end of the cigar.

I'm up to fifty minutes now, and just under the last inch of cigar. Although I could continue, I decide to allow this cigar that has brought me such an oasis of calm, to die with dignity. I leave it poised at the edge of my ashtray and within a few moments it has extinguished itself. I could be sad that my companion has departed but I know that just at the end of the phone is my lifeline to another quality cigar; CGARS LTD.

Hoyo De Monterrey Churchill- 1993
Reviewed by Joe Gellman (10th October 2002)

Having blathered on about the 1970 Hoyo Churchill, it is time to review a more recent production from this line. Also, I understand that Mo is sold out of the 70's.

Unlike the 1970 Hoyo, the 93's have more dimension. The wrapper is silkier, less mottled in color, but just as firm. There are some aficionados who swear that 10 years is best for aging a cigar. Others simply open the box and smoke the cigar, right away. Frankly, I smoke a cigar, young or aged, with the reservation that I always lay a delivery down for at least 6 weeks (except when I am out of smokes).

At first blush, the cigar does not look special. To be certain, they are perfectly rolled, firm to the touch, and blemish free. Each measures 7 x 42.

I noted a slight saltiness when tasting the cigar before lighting. A few moments in my mouth and the saltiness dissipated and there was a sweetness to the wrapper: I also noted a hint of cedar. The cigar had a honey aroma, of fresh fall flowers.

Looking at the foot, head on, I am certain the cigar was rolled by a high grade torcero. A lot can be revealed by viewing the foot. Try it. This cigar portends a perfect draw.

The cigar clips crisply and evenly, revealing perfect rolling. A few "sucks" before lighting confirms my guess. My flame snaps awake flavors, ab initio. Mild, sweet, cool, honeyed and woodsy, notes come forth. The ash is lighter than the 70's, and has a powdery appearance.

The first 10 minutes, or so, produce a good flavor, rustic aroma fills the room. A sweetness fills the room, a bit smoky, and not offensive, in the least. Most ardent antismokers, Rob Reiner included, would not be offended by a room full of this cigar's aroma.

While there was a slight run, the cigar never required a flame to even it out.

Muted circles can be noticed on the ash, upon close inspection, through a medium gray powder.

Throughout the smoke the flavors build, with a continued freshness abounding. None of the flavors are overpowering yet, they are all distinct.

The rustic aroma, noted earlier, continues to grow and the sweetness is woven with a hint of young leather. The burn remains cool to the last inch, giving the smoker a little explosion of spice.

There were no soft spots although the body did soften at the halfway point. I never had to relight the cigar and I was able to smoke it slowly, enjoying all the complexities the blender meant you to find. The draw was perfect and cool.

One more note on the taste - I kept noticing a hint of blackberry in my mouth which lasted but a moment.

I ordered another box from Mo and will probably run through them in a few months. This is s definite "have-to-buy" cigar.

Hoyo De Monterrey Churchill - 1970s
Reviewed by Joe Gellman (8th August 2002)

While I have never been a great fan of the larger sized Hoyo, I must admit my absolute delight over having been pressed into buying two boxes of the 1970 Hoyo Churchill's recently. It came as a complete shock to realize that I was smoking one of the most perfect cigars made. Yes, that is my opinion of this well-aged cigar. Before I began to prepare for this review, I did a little investigation into the 1970 output of this vitola. You will all recall that this was the year that the Monte "A" made it's debut (I recently smoked my last 1970 "A" which was less than satisfactory in comparison to these Churchill's, and the "A" is far more expensive). My experience in smoking the Hoyo DC's from the early 70's left me a little disappointed with the brand. Returning to the cigars, 30 years later, gave me the impression that the Hoyo line deserves aging as well as a second review. More, another time, on the early Hoyo DC's. What I discovered was that the output for the 1970 Churchill was greater than in later years due to a good season and an abundance of cepo leaf. This cigar is box pressed, and precisely packed so there is no trouble taking one from the vox.

The color was even and a perfect Maduro-Colorado. This color wrapper tends to come from a longer aged-on-the-vine leaf, generally close to the top of the plant. None of the cigars from the first box had any unseemly blemishes, all rolled as a clone of the first. I did notice a water spot, here and there, but I would not characterize that as a blemish. The cigars all had a matte appearance yet they were smooth to the touch. The feet were all even and the caps nicely finished.

The cigars were all firm to supple, and packed to just a shade over 15g. Every one measured 7 x 47 (thought it is often difficult to give exacting measurements to box pressed cigars). All were straight and there were no soft spots to be found. Tasting the cigars before lighting did not produce the slight bitterness I recalled from years earlier. I have to suppose that the age of the cigar has made it nearly perfect in every respect. Upon lighting the cigar I immediately noticed a light sweetness, almost mellow, and the aroma was subtly woody with a hint of amber. The cigar lit evenly and burned without hesitation yet not fast or quixotic. Ab initio, the ash tended to be a dark gray, powdery in appearance and firm to the touch.

The draw was never other than what I made it to be. That is to say, if I had sucked harder I would have gotten more from the cigar and, by the same token, I could have eased up and made the smoke last longer. Frankly, I did neither, I simply allowed the cigar to "smoke itself." This is really a rarity in 30+ year old cigars. In addition, to have such continuity of flavor from the first draw until the climax, was more than I expected. Each cigar I smoked had a honeyed aftertaste which lasted for a decent while. I was able to discern a light floral aroma, but was unable to place it. I actually found myself drawn into the act of smoking this cigar than trying to figure out every nuance of it. On to some details: The ash was 2 ½ inches long before I flicked it off. It was thoroughly burned, solid to the touch, and a tad crunchy when pinched between thumb and forefinger.

After about 3+ inches into the smoke, I noticed that the cigar opened up a bit and produced a more striking flavor and aroma. Towards the end of my smoke the flavors intensified a little but did not give up to an unwelcome harsh flourish. Bang for the buck! Lucky to have MO twist my arm to spend more than I wanted! Sad that these cigars will never be around for my grandchildren! After smoking 23 cigars I have had to revise my ranking of many earlier tasting notes. Rather than look foolish, again, I will give this cigar a 9.5 and be on the vigil to locate one of equal standing. Likewise, I am demoting all other cigars to a 9.0 or less. If you do not like this cigar, let me know and I will buy whatever you have left.

Hoyo De Monterrey Churchill
Reviewed by Tim Brown (June 2001)

The Hoyo de Monterrey Churchill is a fabulous cigar!. After sampling the Hoyo de Monterrey, I found it to be a very enjoyable cigar the wrapper color was a nice chocolate brown very smooth construction the cigar has a soothing even burn. The taste starts out strong and is very consistence throughout the entire cigar. it's a full bodied cigar that is very smooth. it is a well constructed cigar pleasing to the eye as well as the pallet. The chocolate color and long shaft get the taste buds started at first sight. As the cigar burns the aroma draws you in and is very pleasing waking up all of your senses. This cigar burns evenly and has a very nice draw, and you can tell by the ash that their was a lot of care taken in the crafting of this awesome looking, tasting and smelling cigar. As I have said before I would recommend this cigar to my closest friends and to anyone who would like a relaxing experience smoking a well crafted cigar.

Hoyo De Monterrey Churchill
Reviewed by Louis Yurcsak (June 2001)

After escaping the taskmaster's whip, that is, I took Friday off, not being able to endure yet another day in the salt mines. I could think of no better way to celebrate than to try one of the Hoyo de Monterey Churchills I recently received. Before even lighting it a cursory inspection show only small veins in a dark wrapper. Once setting torch to it, it burned evenly, never requiring re-lighting, even after sitting in the ash tray. untended, for about five minutes. Although generally rated a medium flavored cigar, it tended toward a fuller flavor. While it did not equal a Bolivar, it did surpassing a Montecristo, which is also considered a medium smoke. Overall it lasted close to an hour, maintaining a constant flavor without any harshness or heat. Even after finishing it there was only a pleasant after taste left in the mouth. Overall a very enjoyable cigar, but one which ought to be reserved for such an opportunity where one may smoke it from beginning to end without any major intrusions. lyurcsak@optonline.net

Hoyo De Monterrey Double Corona
Reviewed by Tom Anderson (June 2001)

The package arrived at my house; I opened it and was stunned by what I saw. Like identical triplets, 3 magnificent Hoyo de Monterrey double coronas from José Gener. Beautiful light brown smooth wrapper 7.5inches long and with a ring gauge of 49. I placed them carefully in my luxury El Presidente humidor. (You know, the one with the glass lid and the inaccurate hygrometer J ) I wanted to allow them to rest for a few hours to recover from the rigours of travel with Royal Mail.

Cigar 1: I have a palate, which can be likened to a sumo wrestlers armpit, but my nasal lining is to die for. I enjoy a cigar best in my car and that evening I was going out! I took the 1st HdM and snipped the cap with my Xigar and sucked experimentally on the unlit cigar. The initial taste was of too much air so I gently squeezed the cigar and thought that it had been rolled a bit too loose. I toasted the foot with my Blazer and it lit evenly but with loads of smoke. Each draw and I could see the burning end racing towards me. It had been rolled too loose. It burned quickly but evenly with a medium grey firm ash. I don't expect too much from a cigar in the first inch and this one did not disappoint. I began to exhale the smoke through my nostrils and I felt a smooth spicy sensation. Perhaps this was going to be good after all. As the burn progressed the flavour intensified and I was eagerly awaiting the hit on my palate. It came but turned hot and acrid almost immediately. The cigar had climaxed and expired in the first 3 inches. I persevered but had to abandon it with about 3 1/2 inches to go. No way José (Gener)

Cigar 2: The next day I had to drive into London and selected the 2nd cigar from my humidor. I pierced this one with a punch and drew experimentally on it. What a difference. I sensed the rush of tobacco odours. I lit it and set off on my journey. A half-inch into the cigar and my nose was experiencing a smooth creamy sensation that was very reminiscent of a Cohiba. This lasted for some time and then I felt a rich spicy sensation in my nose, which intensified as the cigar progressed. The palate sensation came next. I find it difficult to describe but between draws on the cigar I would run my tongue around mouth, teeth and lips to get more of the flavour. I was drawing desperately on the cigar to intensify the sensation. I wanted to slow down on the draw but, I couldn't, the sensations were unbelievable. I was down to ¾ of an inch and I did not want to surrender it. It deserved more than being put into the ashtray. I continued to draw on it until the heat from the lit end was singeing my moustache. The sensations continued in my mouth for what seemed like an eternity.

Cigar 3: I lit this cigar the following day. There was some slight damage to the cap but I cut it carefully, fully expecting it to unravel during the smoke. It didn't. A cigar following on from No 2 has got to be an anticlimax. This was a superb smoke. It was almost as good as its predecessor and its only failing was to have a bitter taste about 2inches from the cap. I find it difficult to believe that these 3 cigars came from the same "stable". They appeared to be almost identical in every way but smoked differently

Hoyo De Monterrey Epicure No. 2
Reviewed Jason Maceyko (January 2001)

I received my three cigars in perfect condition, just after the New Year. I immediately noticed that they had a beautiful "natural" wrapper and looked quite oily (for a natural). As I picked up the first one, I noticed that it was solid and smooth in structure. I would say perfect in design. The cap was also constructed beautifully. I felt the cigar for bumps and soft spots and found none. Out of curiosity, I checked the other two and didn't find any flaws in those either. By this time, I was excited and already had my punch out to make a perfect circular cut into the nicely flattened cap. I lit my cedar match and "went to work" on this beauty. The initial draw was so easy and effortless that I actually had to look to see if it were lit. Just as I looked, I could taste the smooth, leathery smoke and there was plenty of it. The smoke became even more smooth and leathery, with a nice hint of earthiness, after the next couple of puffs. It was obvious that this was a exceptionally crafted cigar, made with choice tobacco leaf and filler, for a medium body effect. The cigar continued to have a silky smooth leathery taste throughout, and about 1/3 of the way through the cigar, developed a profound earthy taste to accompany the leatheriness. The draw was still very easy and effortless. This cigar is listed as mild to medium flavor but really has a brilliant full flavor taste, disguised by smoothness. I first ashed the Epicure after about 1/4 of the way through and it held nicely. The cigar also burned evenly throughout, never even got hot (as I smoke my cigars ALL the way down). The finish was perfect as well. The flavor of earthiness and leather intensified and left my mouth and throat with a satisfied feeling. I found myself licking my lips a lot with this cigar, and really enjoyed the smooth, leathery taste. Did I mention how easy the draw was on these beauties?? The consistency with all three cigars were the same. I really like that in a cigar. You know what you're getting. THIS IS A GREAT ANYTIME CIGAR!!!! I will be adding these to my purchase list.

Thank you to all our friends at C.Gars LTD. for this great opportunity to taste a world great! Jason Maceyko

Hoyo De Monterrey Epicure No. 2
Reviewed by Robert C May (June 2000)

As you know I received three examples of the HDM Epi #2, two of these were nearly identical in appearance with a reddish wrapper (rosado?) while the other had more of an "EMS" color. All three cigars featured excellent, even superb, construction. There was a big difference in how they smoked however.

Cigar #1: One of the reddish ones. I smoked this cigar on a sunny morning while drinking a root beer and running some errands. The errands took a while as I could not put the cigar down to get out of the car. This cigar had excellent construction with a very nice rosado shaded wrapper, a truly beautiful cigar. Upon lighting the draw was perfect, producing ample volumes of smoke. The burn was also perfect for the first two thirds of the cigar, the burn became a little uneven the last third. The flavor and aroma could best be described as mild, the body light. This is not to say the cigar was not rich in its flavor and aroma. Indeed, the character of this cigar displays the same delicate strength as that of a Jean Patou perfume. Overall a superb cigar that should be tried by all, a perfect late morning or early afternoon smoke, I would recommend the morning.

Cigar #2: The other reddish one. This one I can't explain. I probably did smoke it too soon after a late (heavy) lunch. Having said that this was a terrible cigar. The burn was one of the worst I have ever experienced, H2000 perhaps? Not to mention that when I could get it to burn the smoke was harsh and thin. Who knows?

Cigar #3: The "EMS One". Nice construction perfect draw. Smoked this one in the afternoon of a pleasant day. Exhibited many of the same qualities of #1. I have to confess I may have been a little critical of this cigar because of cigar #2. I would say it probably was as good as #1, with the same flavor profile, aroma, burn and smoke volume.

LE Hoyo Du Prince
Reviewed by Paul Haney ( November 2000)

On receiving the perfect condition cigars I knew I was in for a surprise. Unlike other who appear to know the brand of they were tasting, there was no indication of what the cigars were with the packaging. As this was blind testing, I could not refer to anything to find out more about what I was to smoke. They measured 5" long, had a medium tan brown and a mild aroma to them when unlit.

As you will know from my short biography, I am not a regular smoker and when the first cigar was lit on the day of receipt, I was hit by a taste that I had not experience with a cigar. Spice! Having read about this flavour, I now understand what other reviewers mean. At about the first quarter, I felt very contented and relaxed. The spice flavour prevailed and continue to pleasure me. At about half way the taste seemed stronger and started to become more harsh. At the last quarter, the harshness was spoiling the pleasure for me so I decided to let it burn out. I only drank water with the cigar so as to not affect the taste. The tobacco after taste remained with me until mid afternoon the following day. This is the longest time a cigar has left an aftertaste with me but it was not unpleasant.

Cigar 2 I smoked 2 day after the first. This time I smoked it with a glass of good old coke. The spiciness was still there and the third quarter of the cigar seemed less harsh than the first, making the experience much greater.

Cigar 3 was smoked a week later. This time I went a step further and had a glass of port. This time, I got it right. The port periodically cleansed the palate affording me to taste the true flavour of the cigar more often. Very pleasurable indeed.

I would not even attempt to guess at the cigars I smoked and I am looking forward to reading on the website what I have experienced. I may even be tempted to buy some of these when I want to experience 'spice'.

Finally I would like to thank C.GARS for selecting me for the challenge, particularly as I am new to the world of cigars. Also to you dear reader of my review. It would be interesting to know your own comments of my tasting notes and no doubt you will reflect this in your voting.

Hoyo De Monterrey Double Corona
Reviewed by Joe Gellman

C.GARS Ltd allows me to be a chartered libertine in writing these cigar tasting reviews. They never know just what I might say about one of their cigars but have promised to print whatever my opinions might be; brave folks that they are. Not to worry, C.GARS, this is going to be a nice review.

"Gorblimey" if this cigar is not one of the greatest made. Measuring a staggering 7 5/8 x 49 (178 x 18.65), the cigar is a impressive item. Let me take you on a trip through this cigar.

The oils on this wrapper make it a delight to the eye. A deep, dark, rich, chestnut brown color immediately makes you feel like hiding the riches from prying eyes and salivating mouths and telling your amigos to bog off. There are no veins on the wrapper and, from cap to foot, you cannot but notice it's smooth construction. The cap is almost too perfect to cut. The foot is as even as could measurably be, and looking end up, the tobacco leaf is tightly and symmetrically rolled.

The cigar is firm yet yielding just a bit, and there were no soft spots to be found. I had laid this selection down for 4 months and every now and again took a loving look, wondering when I would break down and smoke them. Now was the time to be bold, and thankful am I that I made the decision.

There was a definite sweetness when placing the cigar in my mouth and, not to blaspheme Gerard's tasting notes, none of the acidity or harshness he finds in this cigar.

The cigar has a very subtle aroma not unlike newly opened Orange blossoms, perhaps best described as delicate. Well, I mention this since our Orange tree has recently bloomed and I am reminded of that fresh aroma which wafts by just as I step from my front door. Having been to the western regions of Vuelta Abajo, I can just imagine Jose' Gener selecting the leaves for this vitola. When you visit Cuba make certain to go there on a clear, warm day and drink in the special aromas of the earth and leaf... you will understand this cigar better, then.

The cigar lights well, even, and presents the smoker with abundant rich, thick, gray fog. There is an immediate taste of amber or, more precisely, honey-vanilla. The aromas are not that different from the taste which makes this a much sought after cigar.

This was the easiest cigar to do a tasting on; no surprises here. An even, cool burn, a hint of woodiness which is wrapped in light flowery sweet scents.

The ash was steady, firm, and very dark. When placed in the ashtray and tested, the ash was crisp and airy-like. There was much time on this cigar and I would not suggest it when there is not the time to enjoy it, leisurely.

One's first impression of this cigar is that it is going to be quite full-bodied. This is not the case and, thus, is not a cigar to light up after a heavy meal. I started the day off with this cigar, at 7:30 a.m., and was not disappointed in my timing. Smoking the cigar made me linger over several cups of Mocha-Java coffee. I made time to read the Times, watch passing nubile Beverly Hills ladies, and think of earlier years when the passing day seemed to contain more hours for leisure.

Towards the last 2 inches of the cigar I noticed a deeper taste of honey and earth developing which crescendoed in a blast of flavors previously described.

At 4 p.m. I left the office for another DC experience with some stronger Kenya blend coffee. The experience was the same as in the early morning. I went home wanting more, not because the tastes did not linger, but due to the delightful smoking experience I had, and the way in which the day seemed to float by.