Hoyo de Monterrey Epicure #2 (2005 Vintage)

Hoyo de Monterrey Epicure #2 (open box)

Origin : CubaHoyo de Monterrey
Format : Robusto
Size : 124 x 19.84 mm (4 7/8 x 50)
Box code : SXF SEP 2005
Price : ~$550 for a box of 50

Lately I have reviewed some of the newer releases from Cuba’s finer cigar producers (like the Juan Lopez Don Juan), and I found myself wandering down memory lane and I gravitated towards the one cigar that I have consistently enjoyed over multiple vintage years. Hoyo de Monterrey has released the Epicure #2 line some time ago and it has brought them success over the years. I recently pulled out one of their older, more aged releases to see if time had been good to this cigar, and had it found a new place amongst my old favorites. I have consumed the 2004, 2005, 2008, 2009 versions of this smoke in a variety of 25 and 50 cabinet boxes.

Appearance : Rating: ★★★½☆
Cigar was a pleasing light brown color and showed very few signs of oiling. There was some blooming on some of the cigars, but I cannot attest that blooming was how the sticks came from the factory, how my favorite tobacconist (LCDH-Knokke) had stored them, or whether the blooming may have occurred for the time that I had them. I do live in a rather humid area of my country, so the blooming is most likely from the last of the three choices above. This smoke had very few spines, and most appeared to be quite short, if not noticeable at all.

Hoyo de Monterrey Epicure #2

Construction : Rating: ★★★½☆
This product had few construction problems, most evident being the lack of evenness of the burn. If you light one of these you most assuredly will have to correct the burn somewhere along the way. Other than that, the wrapper held its integrity all the way to the head, and the head did not unravel, even though the cigar was clipped past the head cap. The length of the uneven burn will make the lit end “bend” in the direction of the run in the burn if you do not correct the flaw when you see it. The ring kept its place, and the foot of the cigar was easy to light.

Flavor : Rating: ★★★☆☆
The light on this stick greets you with a moderate, but pleasing peat-like note with little aftertaste, if any. The note holds itself throughout the smoke, at times gaining intensity and at times softening to allow some dark chocolate and even almond-like notes to emerge, especially towards the last third of the burn. The tannin levels begin to get pretty strong towards that very end of the burn, so I would recommend extinguishing the smoke a centimeter before the ring ( barring any movement or misplacing the ring during the manufacturing process). I would give this stick higher marks were it able to show me some more complexity of taste. If you like the robusto genre of smoke like this or even some of its Montecristo cousins, you will leave the smoke quite satisfied, as Hoyo de Monterrey delivers a good smoke, despite lack of complexity.

Value : Rating: ★★★½☆
With a cost of $12US each, you get a more than acceptable quality delivery for the money you spent. The price point is placed well compared to others of its genre. You definitely get your money’s worth with this cigar. It is a good choice for beginner and aficionado alike.

Overall Rating : Rating: ★★★½☆ (3.25)
A good smoke to enjoy that is quite affordable. The aging process served this smoke VERY well. Where the Hoyo de Monterrey Epicure #2’s more recent releases tend to have tobacco that is rather moist, and tend to give off some rather strong mulch-like notes, this stick holds on to its earthy heritage and delivers those flavors in a delightfully constrained manner. Overall, it was a quite enjoyable smoke.