September 3, 2017
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Origin : Cuba
Format : Almuerzos (petit coronas)
Size : 130mm (5 1/8″) x 40 (15.87mm)
Price : € 7,90 / $ 9.30 each
Le Hoyo du Prince is an attractive medium-format Cuban cigar, offering some unique, subtle sensations of honey with spice notes, amidst an often patchy progression when smoking this stick in the ‘small corona’ category. Officially at 40 ring gauge, the Hoyo du Prince can vary a little towards the thicker side, making it quite similar in vitola to a Cuban Mareva (42 x 129mm) such as the Montecristo No 4.
Hoyos are catalogued as ‘light’ in flavour strength by Habanos, which means there is a certain amount of subtlety in Hoyo flavours, so that spice notes can seem much more prominent, and that’s what one finds here. The ‘light’ aspect also shows, in that Hoyos are often easy to smoke down to the nub, and in the fact that you tend to be rewarded for a little time restraint between puffs, the subtler aspects being more enjoyed when the cigar is not so heated.
Unlike its sister global hand-made Cuban brands of Herman Upmann, Romeo y Julieta & Partagás, Hoyo doesn’t have lower-price offerings (under € 5 in my neighbourhood), but starts its offerings a little higher, at roughly the same initial price point as Cuban global flagship Montecristo, still a bit less than the cheapest Cohibas. The Le Hoyo series tend to be good-looking but not perfect in appearance.
In a pre-draw, the Hoyo du Prince will often tickle your lips with its spice notes, which will be well-experienced in the first third of the cigar. As you settle in to it, very often there is a rather glorious 10 or so minutes where you have lots of light honey flavour, a bit of cedar or other wood, and a range of peppered spice notes. In this phase the Hoyo du Prince can give you that ‘Ah, this is an example of what Cuban cigars are all about’ feeling. The spices in the Le Hoyo line feel a bit ‘Asian’ to me as they remind of what one experiences in the Sumatra stogie wrappers from Indonesia, sometimes seen in Europe on the Dutch short-filler cigars.
After that initial third, the honey flavour of the Hoyo du Prince, tends to shift to something more nutty, with a little less spice, and frankly there is often a bit of a dull patch in the middle third. The best thing here is to only puff occasionally, sipping some beverage, until more flavour returns toward the end of the middle phase. At that point, you often get back to a more interesting cigar, a bit different however than in the first third, often with some surprising strength, and flavours of nuts and wood, and some spice tho not so clear as in the initial section.
Because of the variance in the total experience with these cigars, I would hesitate to recommend them generally … but on the other hand, the 10 or 12 minutes when the cigar is stupendous is memorable, and leads me to pick up a few of the ‘Le Hoyo du …’ cigars every now and then.
Hoyo de Monterrey is a name that might be translated as ‘King’s Hollow’, ‘hoyo’ being a hollow or small valley area, ‘monte’ being mountain or hilly countryside, and ‘rey’ meaning king. The brand is quite historic, registered in Cuba in 1865 by founder José Gener (1818-1900), who had began working in Cuban fields as a Spanish immigrant in 1831 when he was only 13.
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