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Stogie Reviews: Hoyo de Monterrey Double Corona (Cuban)

9 Mar 2010

Whether or not you take Cigar Aficionado’s reviews seriously, there’s no denying that its pages are routinely splashed with praise for Cubans. A glance at the publication’s various “Top 25” lists, for example, reveals a cast of usual suspects from the forbidden island: Cohiba, Montecristo, Bolivar, and H. Upmann.

Hoyo de Monterrey Double CoronaThe magazine has been keeping such lists since 2004, amounting to six years and 150 cigars. Amazingly, not once is Hoyo de Monterrey mentioned, a renowned Cuban brand established by José Gener in 1865. Only the Hoyo Excalibur Epicure, an unrelated Honduran offshoot produced by General Cigar, was honored in 2007.

My, how times have changed. Seventeen years ago the Double Corona was Cigar Aficionado’s unofficial darling. By early 1993, this gigantic vitola had amassed 4 ratings of 94 or higher, including a whopping score of 99 for “some of Cuba’s finest tobacco and greatest workmanship.”

I don’t place a lot of stock in CA’s ratings, especially those from the pre-boom era. The industry has changed quite a bit since George H.W.’s single term in office. And now non-Cubans are rivaling, if not surpassing, many Cubans in quality.

But the Hoyo Double Corona (7.6 x 49) seems to have held its ground over the years. Some cigar enthusiasts consider it to be the best from a brand that includes the Epicure No. 2 and the Epicure Especial. They have no qualms about paying $16-23 for the opportunity to smoke one.

At first glance the Double Corona isn’t all that attractive. Aside from its intimidating length, it sports a lumpy wrapper with abundant discolorations and several large veins. The sharp band and the faint pre-light notes of hay, however, give a preview of the medium-bodied smoke that’s to come.

The first inch is characterized by a profile of honey, graham cracker, and a bit of leather. Complex and aromatic, it errors on the salty side but is otherwise balanced. The flavor at the midway point features floral notes, and the final third—my least favorite—has a slightly stale aftertaste.

Construction is better than what I’ve come to expect from Cubans. Throughout the two-hour smoke, the draw is clear, the gray ash is sturdy and reliable, and the burn requires only minimal attention. I found these characteristics consistent across the three Double Coronas I smoked for this review (all of which had been resting in my humidor for over a year).

In the end, this Hoyo is a tasty treat with just the right amount of spice, creaminess, and sweetness to merit an occasional purchase for a rare occasion. While I may not have liked it as much as the powers that be at Cigar Aficionado, the Double Corona is certainly worthy of four stogies out of five.

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

Patrick A

photo credit: Stogie Guys

5 Responses to “Stogie Reviews: Hoyo de Monterrey Double Corona (Cuban)”

  1. Dave in Ashburn Tuesday, March 9, 2010 at 4:03 am #

    Jeez, am I the only American that has no idea how to get my hands on a Cuban cigar?

  2. furious Tuesday, March 9, 2010 at 7:50 am #

    The Cubans always employ the most experienced torcedors on these massive sticks, so the quality is almost always top-notch. In fact, I would state confidently that since the major production debacle in 2001, most habanos have improved in quality markedly. I, for onw, do not get that many plugged or even semi-plugged sticks these days.

  3. Nadeem Wednesday, May 19, 2010 at 2:05 am #

    I have been smoking MC-DC for some time and they are wonderful. Specially on a beautiful summer long days you can enjoy it for 2 hrs.

    I got a new box of 25 dated Sep/08 and shape of this cigar is not round its rectangle shaped, is this common (I have not seen rectangle shape before) or just a new shape ?


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