Origin : Cuba
Format : Grand Epicure
Size : 5.1 x 55
Released : 2013
Box code : ALT JUN13
Price : ~$20 each
More info about purchasing Hoyo de Monterrey cigars...
The Hoyo de Monterrey Grand Epicure is one of the first 2013 limited editions to be released this year and this fat 55 ring gauge cigar really looks the part. Personally, I’ve always been a fan of the Hoyo line which is known for its sweeter profile. As many aficionados know, the Edición Limitada cigars are hand rolled by expert rollers and the wrapper, filler and binder leaves come from carefully selected plants from the Vuelta Abajo plantations (the best growing region in Cuba) and aged a minimum of 2 years.
The cigar has a stunning chocolate wrapper. As is common with the EL releases, the wrapper is a tad darker. This cigar looks exquisite and the chocolaty aroma coming off the wrapper as I inspected it was incredible. The wrapper had a nice oily sheen with some visible veining but tight seams. The cigar sports a nicely appointed Grand Epicure band with the secondary Edición Limitada gold band.
The pre-light inspection revealed a firm cigar, just enough sponginess and no discernible lumps or soft spots. The aromas coming off the Grand Epicure were absolutely breathtaking. The cigar held up to my straight cut without any difficulty. The burn was fantastic right down to the nub. No re-lights or touch-ups were needed on the samples I smoked. Despite it being a very dense stogie loaded with tobacco the draw was absolutely perfect. As with any cigar, let it sit at your relative humidity in your humidor for at least 14-20 days to allow it to stabilize. Most burn complaints are the result of smoking cigars that are not stabilized in your environment before smoking.
It’s exceptionally rare that I give a cigar 5 out of 5 for flavour. The pre-light draw on this Hoyo was extraordinarily inviting. It had creamy chocolate notes with some lush mature tobacco with some salty-sweet notes.
The Grand Epicure starts off with a blast of chocolaty sweetness with some coffee bean and a lush creamy texture to the smoke that immediately settles on your palate and never leaves. There was some mild pepper at the back of the palate. The oils adhered to the palate leaving a thin sweet honey-like film on my tongue. Hoyo smokers know that familiar complex creamy and chocolaty flavor. As a regular Hoyo smoker myself, I would say that the familiar Hoyo lushness is amplified 10 fold in this cigar. Admittedly, not everyone is a fan of sweeter cigars and many prefer earthier, grassier smokes. However, keep in mind when reading this review that these are my own tasting observations. All our palates and preferences differ. The point is, if you are a fan of the Hoyo de Monterrey line and that flavor profile you won’t be disappointed.
The mild spice on lighting the cigar is reduced to very little if any as the first third winds down. It’s all about flavor. I noted incredible rich coffee and lush chocolaty sweetness. The finish itself was long and had a very nice blend of sweetness and leather with that unmistakable salty twang that fine Cuban cigars leave on the lips. All these flavors blended together perfectly. It’s not all about the “sweet” with this cigar though as it did offer occasional bursts of sweet wood, earth and leather.
The second third offered very mild but discernable hints of citrus, dried fruits and a touch of vanilla bean with more of that lush chocolate. By the halfway mark the cigar was still giving me nice chocolate overtones but each puff offered something different with increasing depth. There was sweet cedar, rich roasted coffee bean, semi-sweet chocolate with leather, each taking their turn to shine. A mild black pepper spice came back into the profile hitting the front of the palate this time and staying on the tongue on some puffs and on the back of the palate on others.
The final third offered less sweetness as it transitioned to reveal more earthiness and leather. Still, there was some discernable honey, chocolate and dark roasted coffee bean. This was a knuckle burner. It was that scrumptious and I can only imagine what they will taste like with just a little more time in the humidor.
This is not meant to be a daily smoke nor is it priced to be. The Grand Epicure is priced as a premium cigar and as such treated like one. I just had a client pick me up 2 boxes of 10 on his trip to Cuba. I always emphasize that value is dependent on the pleasure you get out of what you buy and for my money, I certainly got pleasure out of this purchase.
Overall Rating :
Notwithstanding price, I had to rate this cigar a 5 out of 5. Our pleasure of smoking cigars after all comes down to the enjoyment we get out of the flavors. It is a lush, rich, creamy and extremely flavorful smoke. Every puff offered something different. It was extremely complex and had incredible depth to the flavors. The blend was always changing featuring chocolate, coffee, sweet cedar, leather, caramel, vanilla and mild pepper with hints of orange peel and dried fruit. This may be controversial here (everyone has their own palate so please don’t take my word over your own preferences) but in my opinion, this is the best limited edition release I’ve sampled in quite a few years and next to the Cohiba Behike BHK52 this is perhaps the best “premium” Cuban Cigar I’ve had in quite a while.