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Hoyo de Monterrey Epicure No. 2 Cuban Cigar Review

General Information

  • Price: $13.50 (Box of 25, $265.00)
  • Made By: Habanos S.A.
  • Factory Location: Cuba
  • Dimensions: 4 7/8″ by 50 ring gauge
  • Shape: Robusto
  • Filler: Cuba
  • Binder: Cuba
  • Wrapper: Cuba
  • Cold Draw: Bread/Wheat, Sweet, Tangy
  • First Third: Bready, Caramel, Honey, Sweet
  • Second Third: Light Coffee, Cream, Cocoa, Cedar
  • Final Third: Light Coffee, Cream, Cocoa, Cedar
Hoyo de Monterrey Epicure No. 2

Appearance

The Hoyo de Monterrey Epicure No. 2 is light walnut brown in color and, at first sight, appears to be a well-crafted beauty. Meticulously packaged in a wooden slide-lid cabinet, much care is taken to ensure that airflow allows this Cuban favorite to age flawlessly.

Hoyo de Monterrey Epicure No. 2 with Cigar Cutter

Handsome yellow ribbon bundles these cigars together while each individual cigar is wrapped in the traditional white wrapper, bordered in gold, with gold and red details and lettering. The No. 2 can be purchased in cabinets of 25 or 50.

Taste & Draw

Overall, the Hoyo de Monterrey Epicure No. 2 is very sweet, creamy, and mild. This doesn’t mean it lacks flavor or pleasure. On the contrary, the No. 2 is quite balanced, delicate and subtly nuanced with an absorbing and smooth development.

Man Smoking Hoyo de Monterrey Epicure No. 2 in Cigar Lounge

Smoking this cigar reminds me of walking into a fine pastry shop with enchanting aromas of baked goods and café au lait tempting your every senses. It begins with a bready note, transitioning next to sweeter tones of caramel and honey, before moving towards hints of light coffee and cream. It finishes with a hint of cocoa that blends seamlessly into a woodsy, cedar note.

Man Lighting Hoyo de Monterrey Epicure No. 2

The draw on this particular cigar is flawless. Occasionally, with other Cuban cigar brands composition issues can lead to a problematic draw. However, that is not the case with the Hoyo de Monterrey Epicure No. 2. From the cold draw to the final pull, the draw is smooth, even and perfect.

Cold Draw

Bread/Wheat, Sweet, Tangy.

Part of the enjoyment of smoking premium cigars is discerning what flavors they’ll hold. The best way to do this is to take a cold draw, where you put the cigar clip on the cigar and take an extended inhale before lighting it. Admittedly, the flavor profile on the cold draw won’t exactly match when it is actually burning. Nonetheless, you’ll experience your first impression of what the tobacco will momentarily taste like after lighting it. It also alerts you to any possible draw complications that might arise while you are smoking it.

Cutting Hoyo de Monterrey Epicure No. 2

After lighting the Hoyo de Monterrey Epicure No. 2, its smooth, sweet aroma gently awakens your senses. After taking the first draw, you experience an unmistakable bready, wheat-like taste similar to a warm, fresh baked loaf of Italian panè bread. You are next introduced to a sweet flavor that turns tangy – an interesting note for a Cuban cigar. Neither overpowering nor passive, the flavors blend nicely together signaling of a mild, yet highly complex cigar. Having no pull or construction issues on the cold draw, your senses will happily welcome this Cuban delight.

Hoyo de Monterrey Epicure No. 2 Cuban Cigar

First Third

Bready, Caramel, Honey, Sweet.

Oftentimes, after lighting a cigar and actually beginning to smoke it, the tastes differ considerably from the cold draw. The Hoyo de Monterrey Epicure No. 2, however, remains consistent from the initial cold draw during the first third of the burn. The first third starts out with that aforementioned bready flavor, then smoothly transitions into sweet notes of honey and caramel. Thick, but never acrid or overpowering, the smoke has a mild honey mouthfeel, leaving one to wish the cigar never extinguishes. Despite being a fairly mild cigar, the No. 2 is extremely flavorful and smooth, and won’t leave you lying on the floor from overpowering strength. The first third pulls perfectly, smoking evenly and smoothly. The easy and consistent burn is almost certain a product of its flawless construction. The aroma is soft, pleasant, and vaguely sweet. So wonderfully pleasing is the aroma that it is difficult to imagine even the least cigar-loving fan being offended by this cigar.

Man Smoking Hoyo de Monterrey Epicure No. 2

Second Third

Light Coffee, Cream, Cocoa, Cedar.

The second third of the Hoyo de Monterrey Epicure No. 2 is a graceful transition from the first third. It follows the sweet caramel and honey with tones of mild coffee and cream flavors. Arguably, a near-perfect pairing. It only gets better as the burn seamlessly transition into cocoa. After a few puffs of cocoa, you begin to experience unexpected woodsy hints of cedar, a subtle masculine surprise following the soft flavors of baked goods flavors derived during the cold draw and the first third. The mouthfeel and strength stay the same as in the first third, and the aroma nicely blends the sweetness and woodsy qualities. The cigar keeps burning and pulling smoothly and evenly, while the smoke continues to please the mouth and senses.

Hoyo de Monterrey Epicure No. 2 in Ash Tray

Final Third

Light Coffee, Cream, Cocoa, Cedar.

During the final third, the Hoyo de Monterrey Epicure No. 2 continues to delight. Unlike other Cuban cigars after the first half, there were no issues with the draw, flavor or consistency. The No. 2 never stops impressing. The final third of the cigar stays consistent following the second third, continuing with tones of light coffee, cream, cocoa, and cedar often blending together. The mouthfeel and strength never overwhelm, and the smoke gives a smooth, slightly sweet aroma. Once again, the No. 2 burns easily and consistently during the final third. No doubt, an homage to its craftsman-like construction and the exceptional quality of the tobacco used.

Final Third of Hoyo de Monterrey Epicure No. 2

Summary

The Hoyo de Monterrey Epicure No. 2 begins with slightly bready, sweet notes that quickly develop into notes of light coffee, cream, cocoa, and cedar. Overall, this cigar is much different than many other Cuban cigars. Its delicate complexity and smooth, perfectly balanced flavors leave you wanting more. Because of these qualities, I would recommend this as either a morning cigar or as your first cigar of the day. If you have the chance to smoke one of these, be sure to take advantage of the opportunity.

Finished Hoyo de Monterrey Epicure No. 2 in Ash Tray with Ash

The Hoyo de Monterrey Epicure No. 2 makes me think of sitting on a cedar deck of a vacation cabin in the middle of pristine woods in Vermont. I imagine waking up, selecting the No. 2, pouring some coffee, and sauntering out to the deck. The woods are quiet, except for the melodic sounds of birds. The No. 2’s smooth yet fragrant smoke lingers around me before drifting off as it follows the morning dew. The Hoyo de Monterrey Epicure No. 2 feels like the perfect, centering start to the day, especially during these crazy, pandemic times.

Pairing Notes

When developing this list, I tried to balance both the historic beverages that likely would have been consumed during the time period this cigar was first crafted with beverages that I simply enjoy and feel match the flavor profile of this cigar. Use this list as a starting point, however, be sure to experiment and pair the Hoyo de Monterrey Epicure No. 2 with whatever you enjoy.

  • Cognac
  • Bourbon
  • Rum
  • Rye
  • Chocolate Stout
  • Coffee Stout
  • Dark Roast Coffee
  • Espresso
  • Chocolate Milk
  • Coke-a-Cola
Hoyo de Monterrey Epicure 2

Brand History

For many generations, the name Hoyo de Monterrey has been synonymous with cigar smoking perfection; it invokes tradition and premium quality. It’s one of the oldest Cuban heritage cigar brands in existence and remains one of the most sought-after smokes on the planet. Today there are two different versions of Hoyo de Monterrey cigars, one being the Cuban and the other the Honduran. While these two brands are produced in different countries, they both share the same historical origins.

Hoyo de Monterrey Epicure No. 2 Review

The Founding

In 1831, at the age of 13, Don Jose Gener y Batet emigrated to Cuba from his homeland of Spain. After arriving in Cuba, he worked on his uncle’s tobacco plantations in the Vuelta Abajo region of Cuba, just north of Havana. This region has extremely fertile land and is world-famous for producing incredible cigars. Finally, after working for his uncle for over 20 years and mastering his trade, Don Jose saved enough money to move to Havana and open his own factory. There, he began producing his own cigar brand called La Esception.

La Esception became extremely successful, so much so that it’s actually still produced today in Honduras. This success enabled Don Jose to purchase his own farmland and begin producing his own tobacco. He used this newly produced tobacco, and his skills from La Esception, to create a new brand formally known as Hoyo de Monterrey.

Just like La Esception, Hoyo de Monterrey cigars became an instant success and were wildly popular. In the 1930’s, Hoyo de Monterrey was officially the largest cigar factory in all of Cuba.

First Sale & Influence on Davidoff

Just as Hoyo de Monterrey was coming into its prime, it was purchased by the Fernandez, Palicio y Cia Company. At the time, the Fernandez, Palicio y Cia Company also owned Punch and Belinda. The purchase of Hoyo de Monterrey put them at the top of the Cuban cigar empire.

In the 1940’s, Hoyo de Monterrey began exclusively producing the luxurious Hoyo and Chateaux series cigars specifically for a Swiss distributor. These exclusive cigars caught the attention of none other than Swiss tobacco merchant, Zino Davidoff.

Davidoff went on to achieve great fame and success selling and marketing the Hoyo do Monterey brand. Davidoff received so much notoriety for his efforts that the Cuban Government made an agreement with him to create a new cigar brand under his name, thus beginning the start of the Davidoff brand we know today.

The Embargo

After Fidel Castro came into power, all private companies, including cigar brands, were all of a sudden now owned by the Cuban government. The Cuban government actually still produces many of these extremely popular cigar brands, including Hoyo de Monterrey, under a company called Habanos S.A.

In 1962, president John F. Kennedy signed the Cuban Trade Embargo which prohibits the sale of Cuban Cigars in the United States. This proved to be quite a huge blow to the Cuban cigar market, because at the time, the United States served as the largest market for Cuban cigars.

Many prominent businessmen, including Fernando Palicio, owner of Hoyo de Monterrey, then moved to the United States and incorporated new companies. Fernando Palicio also set up new factories in Honduras and continued to produce his premium cigars. Hoyo de Monterrey became one of the first major cigar brands to be successfully produced outside of Cuba.

In the 1990’s, the Villazon Company, also owned by Fernando Palicio, was sold to General Cigar, who continues to produce the Honduran version of Hoyo de Monterrey to this day.