29 Nov 2006
Last week, as I read Patrick A’s review of the Cusano 18, his description of “heavy chemical and nicotine flavors” brought back a rush of memories. Unpleasant memories of when I’d suffered through similar tastes in bad cigars. Fortunately, my mind soon wandered to some of the first cigars that made wonderful and lasting impressions.
So, later that day when I found myself in a local B&M with a little time on my hands, I picked up a Hoyo de Monterrey Excalibur Epicure. I clearly recall the first Excalibur I had and how impressed I was with the smoothness and taste. I haven’t smoked all of the many Excalibur variations since, but I’ve burned through quite a few. Every one has been good. This one was no exception.
The Epicure is 5.25 inches long with a 50 ring gauge. General lists the single MSRP at $5. (If you’re a bargain hunter, Epicures can be purchased on the Internet for under $65 for a box of 20 – to me an incredible price for a cigar of this caliber.)
The Epicure Natural has a beautiful light brown Connecticut shade wrapper that contrasted sharply with the dark blend of Honduran, Nicaraguan, and Dominican filler when I clipped the end.
As you might expect, spice was the initial sensation from the thick, creamy smoke. That taste faded as the white ash grew. A warm, smoky flavor developed about a quarter of the way through, and the finish got drier. Near the halfway point, I got hints of what seemed to be coffee and caramel, while the spice came and went several times.
I’m not trying to wax poetic, and I can’t pretend to remember exactly what the Excaliburs I smoked in the past tasted like. But I do know that I enjoyed this cigar every bit as much as I remember enjoying that first one.
The draw was excellent, and the cigar burned evenly and slowly. I removed the label and smoked past that point without getting the least bit of heat or bitterness.
I spent the last few minutes smoking outside, and when I finished I decided to dissect the stub for curiosity. The results were impressive. That wrapper is so thin it must take a master’s touch not to rip it, and the filler was folded with what looked like mathematical precision.
Taking into account all that this cigar has to offer – value, consistency, taste – I’d give it four out of five stogies.
[To read more StogieGuys.com cigar reviews, please click here.]