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Stogie Reviews: Hoyo de Monterrey Epicure Especial (Cuban)

31 Mar 2009

If you’re not familiar with this particular stick, maybe you’ll remember the Edición Limitada 2004. That renowned and elusive cigar helped elevate the status of Hoyo de Monterrey, a Cuban brand that generally takes a backseat to more familiar names from the forbidden island.

Hoyo de Monterrey Epicure Especial (Cuban)The Epicure Especial sprung from its predecessor’s popularity and was launched in 2008 at the Festival de los Habanos (along with the H. Upmann Mágnum 50). Specifics are hard to come by but, from what I can tell, it’s supposed to be based on the Edición Limitada 2004 blend.

Now dubbed “the flagship of the Epicure line,” the five and a half inch by 50 ring gauge frame is said to be in line with today’s vitola preferences. The appearance is simply masterful, save for one large vein that resembles a Frankenstein scar on one of the two samples I smoked for this review.

Oily and soft to the touch, the russet-colored wrapper gives off pre-light aromas of sweet hay and coffee. Then, after toasting the foot, the Epicure Especial begins with a graham cracker spice, some honey, and plenty of earth tones—a flavor profile that’s milder than anticipated but not without a pepper-like aftertaste.

As an unexpected bonus, a touch of sweet caramel fades in and out after the midway point. It isn’t hard to notice this Cuban’s complexity. And while balance is also a virtue it captures well, at times (most notably when the frequency of puffs is increased) the taste can run a tad salty. This interplay between the base flavors, the sweet caramel, and the salt continues until the cigar is too small to hold.

If your experience is anything like mine, you’ll likely have to touch up the Epicure Especial’s burn once or twice to keep things even and running smoothly. Don’t expect any trouble from the ash or the draw, though.

Perhaps it’s cliché to say a new cigar “needs some time” before it comes into its own. But even though this is a fine, noble smoke today, something about the flavor leads me to believe it will be slightly better tomorrow. So I plan to patiently age the rest of my stash with hopes that it will gain some of the nuance and floral notes that have made the Epicure No. 2 so outstanding.

Any cigar that sells for $260-280 per box of 25 is worth the wait. I’ll be sure to let you know how my experiment turns out. For now, the Hoyo de Monterrey Epicure Especial earns four stogies out of five.

[To read more cigar reviews, please click here.]

Patrick A

photo credit: Stogie Guys

6 Responses to “Stogie Reviews: Hoyo de Monterrey Epicure Especial (Cuban)”

  1. furious Tuesday, March 31, 2009 at 1:57 am #

    I have not had the pleasure of smoking this offering yet, but if your review is any indication, I should purchase a box ASAP. The Epicure No. 2 is probably my favorite robusto of all time, and I would really like to see exactly how this stick compares to it.

  2. TheCigarSpy Tuesday, March 31, 2009 at 2:36 am #

    Hey Patrick,

    I smoked and reviewed this cigar a couple of months ago and I liked it very much. Which surprised me because I dont like any other cuban Hoyo's lol it's the last cigar I go for.

    great job! good smoke 🙂

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