Cigar Reviews

Hoyo De Monterrey – Epicure Especial (Cuban)

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Today I reached into my Cuban humidor to pick out a stick from a box I recently ordered. I hadn’t tried a Hoyo de Monterrey Spicure Especial prior to this little box purchase so I started off with a 10 count box to see how I would like them before I bought a larger box. The cigars have the standard Hoyo De Monterrey bands with an additional white band below that with the “Epicure Especial” name on it,

Hoyo De Monterrey is one of the many cigar manufacturers from Cuba and they offer a fair variety of cigars. I’ve dabbled in some of their other vitolas and heard good things about this one, especially considering their fair price tag. So I bit the bullet and grabbed a box. The cigars come in a cedar box of 10 with a sliding lid. This damn lid practically required a vice grip to get off! Needless to say, the lid never went back on the box after that… So after prying the lid off I got to see my cigars.

The Hoyo De Monterrey Epicure Especial come bound together with a nice golden yellow ribbon adorned with the cigar name. The name of the cigar is very misleading considering it’s actual vitola. A typical epicure is much smaller but this cigar is almost a full toro size! As I smoke this I’m sitting outside enjoying some awesome sunny weather. Let’s see how this cigar stacks up!

Cigar: Hoyo De Monterrey Epicure Especial
Drink: Unibroue Brewery Maudite
Vitola: Epicure Especial (5.8 x 50)
Wrapper: Cuban
Binder: Cuban
Filler: Cuban
Price: About $8
Burn Time: 1.5 hours

• The wrapper on this cigar is fairly rough looking with quite a few bumps and some medium sized veins running along it
• The color of the wrapper is a nice deep brown, almost chocolate and shines with it’s oiliness
• The top of the Epicure Especial is finished with a triple cap, not messy but not perfectly clean either
• The foot of the cigar looks fairly well packed with no gaps to be seen
• A slight squeeze reveals a fairly firm cigar with just a little springiness to it
• The cut on this cigar was super easy and fell off in one clean piece

• Toasting was very simple, the tobacco started glowing quickly
• Turns out the toasting wasn’t too even so I needed a little touch up shortly after lighting
• After that minor correction we’ve be running in auto-pilot! No problem for the first couple of inches at all
• Discovered a little tunnel after the first ash and it’s making the burn a little lopsided now, will need a touch up
• Cigar actually went out a bit early

Smoke & Ash:
• Right off the bat I’m getting a ton of smoke from each draw
• The resting smoke is fairly minimal and gives off an almost campfire type of aroma, like burning wood
• Ash is a little rough looking but it’s staying compact and clean
• The color on the ash is a fairly light grey with some spots being nearly white
• I started to get a bit of flaking on the ash as it grew to almost 2 inches in length
• First ash fell calmly into the ashtray just short of 2 inches

Tasting Notes:
• The wrapper of the Epicure Especial gives off a nice cedar aroma with a slight nuttiness to it
• Pre-light draw is very woodsy and has some nice spice added into the mix, a bit of white pepper and some raw nutmeg
• Initial draws bring more of the woodsy notes and a very creamy undertone, I’m very surprised to see the pre-light spice is almost completely gone
• So far the body is fairly mild but smooth and creamy, retrohale has almost no bite to it with a cedar finish
• I’m getting a little bit of the saltiness that Tony always mentions in his Cuban reviews
• There are some slight hints of leather here and there along with some bits of roasted coffee
• There’s a lot going on the the flavor department, very complex but it’s very smooth, balanced and tasty so I’m enjoying it quite a bit
• As the cigar hits the half-way mark, some of the initial spice is making a comeback with a bit of nutmeg and clove
• All the flavors seemed to slowly intensify as I passed the halfway mark with the coffee and woody notes still being the most prominent
• As I approach the nub I’m getting some interesting earthy and vegetal flavors I wasn’t expecting
• The body had a nice buildup to the finish and started to turn a tad bitter with under an inch to go

Final Thoughts:
Well there’s not much I can say about this stick other than I really liked it! What a great and relaxing experience! The cigar had a nice variety of flavors that were always well balanced and enjoyable. The smooth and creamy aspects made it a pleasure to smoke along with a great burnline. The price of these is also very fair coming in at around $8. It’s not an “in-your-face” cigar and if you prefer a lot of strength you won’t find it here. The little bit of build-up near the end was a nice turn as I was expecting it to be mild the whole way through. Considering the age of this cigar being only from 2009 I think another year would make the last bit just as smooth but it’s still a tasty cigar.

Another Canadian craft brew for me today. The Maudite from Unibroue Brewery! I’ve had this one with quite a few other reviews including the Alec Bradley Family Blend, La Aurora 1495 and My Father Le Bijou 1922. It’s a very tasty and smooth strong beer with an 8% alc/vol. I’ve sai it before and I’ll say it again, this does not taste like a strong beer AT ALL! It’s so smooth and light tasting. you get some fruity/tart undertones with a slight malty bitterness and a clean finish. Very enjoyable and seems to pair well with a lot of cigars. It did pair fairly well here although I think a nice porter or stout would have gone better from the brew category. Port of course would have been perfect and a strong coffee would have been excellent as well.

Daniel T. (a.k.a. Dalamscius) is an IT Professional from Toronto, Ontario, Canada. He enjoys cigars, scuba diving, hockey, fishing, nature and anything that challenges his mind. If he's not sitting on his big comfy couch or at work you can usually find him in a boat on top of the water or 100ft under the water enjoying a dive. He is engaged to a wonderful Fiance and looking forward to his wedding. Feel free to contact Daniel anytime via email (dalamscius[at]gmail[dot]com). And make sure to follow him on twitter


  1. jjo

    June 20, 2011 at 1:29 pm

    Sounds great, Daniel. Although, being an upstanding U.S. citizen…. 🙂

    I was under the impression that the Epicure size is the same as a Toro. Perdomo’s site says it’s the same, as well. Just goes to show that some form of standardization is needed to avoid confusing consumers. Are you listening, Gurkha, et al?

    Nice informative review, as usual.

  2. Dalamscius

    June 20, 2011 at 8:37 pm

    jjo, that’s the good part of being Canadian, no worries about Cubans. I do need to pay an arm and a leg to get them locally though! lol. This cigar locally would sell for about $25…

    From what I know about Epicures they are all fairly short. A little google search shows the standard Epicure size to be about 4.375 x 34, even smaller than a corona! I see the Perdomo site has Epicures in the toro range too, so I guess it’s whatever you make it to be! lol

    Thanks for the comment!

  3. Jay

    June 21, 2011 at 11:09 am

    Thanks for another good review. Is it box-worthy ? (that was your initial question) and how does it compare to Epi #2 ?

    Thanks !
    – Jay

  4. Dalamscius

    June 21, 2011 at 2:03 pm

    @Jay – Thanks! Box worthy is a “maybe” for me. Fresh I don’t think they are box worthy but if they age well I see them having potential. Maybe a 10-box is enough but there are other Cubans I’d prefer over this in the same price range. The Montecristo No. 2’s are less than a dollar more.

    Haven’t had an Epicure #2 so I can’t compare. Haven’t had many HdM’s at all actually which is why I wanted to give these a try when I saw them.

  5. Danny

    June 21, 2011 at 2:48 pm

    Great job buddy. You summed it up very well.

    I have had both, and while I go back and forth depending on my mood, lately I prefer the Epicure No. 2, especially since it’s a bit cheaper. But I would smoke wither anytime.

  6. Tadd

    June 21, 2011 at 6:17 pm

    Another elusive white whale here in the great south…. Sounds pretty tasty. That is about the only positive thing for living in Canada for me…. Way too cold…. 🙂 You can keep it. Now the Stanley cup is in Boston I can’t put hockey on that list… Oh yeah Great Review!

  7. Dan

    June 22, 2011 at 12:41 pm

    Nice review Daniel! Hoyo is so far my favourite Cuban brand. I’m in love with the Epi 2s. The box of epi2s i recently got have a year of age on them (as of this month) and they’re smooth as hell through and through. They’re really hard to keep for an extended period of time. I had to put them out of sight in my humidor, otherwise they’d probably be gone. I have yet to try this specific stick but from what you described it’s very much the same, IMO.

  8. DaByrdman33

    June 22, 2011 at 6:30 pm

    Really enjoyed the review. Yet another contraband cigar that I will have to add to my list. If I keep reading your reviews I’m gonna go broke. Ha ha!

  9. Dalamscius

    June 23, 2011 at 6:32 am

    @Danny – I think I need to check out these Epicure #2’s sometime soon!

    @Tadd – I got a sunburn this weekend so it’s not too cold, you are just a giant wuss! And Boston is closer to Canada than most of the USA so I still win!

    @Dan – Hmmmm…. you have a box of Epi #2’s and I have a box of Epi Especial and neither of us have tried the other. I think there may be a little herf in order sometime soon? haha

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