By:Â Eric Hewett
Size:Â 5.5 x 50 ring
Country of Origin: Â Cuba
Price:Â $13 – $15CDN
Behind The Stick:Â Launched in 2008 at the Festival de Los Habanos, the Epicure Especial wasÂ billed as theÂ pinnacle of theÂ HDM Epicure Line.Â Â Â The blendÂ was developed fromÂ the highly popular HDM Edition Limitada 2004.Â Â Â The literal translationÂ of the SpanishÂ name Hoyo de Monterrey is “the hole of Monterrey” which describesÂ the concave or bowl-like shape of the valley in the Vuelta Abajo region where the HDM tobacco plantation is located, in the town of San Luis y Martinez.
Construction:Â The overall construction on these cigars is top notch.Â Â Â From the perfect cap to the minimal veins & the beautiful chocolate colored wrapper this is a magnificent looking cigar.Â Â Â There is even a light touch of plume beginning to develop on these as they rest in my humidor.Â Â Â The bands are eyeÂ catching with a combination of red letteringÂ and raised gold accentsÂ on a white background.Â Â Â Â Â If you were browsing through a walk-in humidor I am certain these cigars would catch your eye.
Flavor:Â The cigar clipped and drew well.Â Â Â The pre-light aroma was all Cuban barnyard with a slightly salty taste on the lips as I put the cigar to my mouth.Â Â Â Â Cold draw produced very little to speak of.Â Â Â Â Once I lit the Hoyo de Monterrey Epicure Especial I was met with a slightly salty herbal flavour that reminded me of the sea salt people like to use to rim margarita glasses.Â Â Â Â Through the first third the cigar stayed consistently herbal & slightly salty with a bit of a nutty aftertaste.Â Â Â Â As it progressed into the second third a light milk chocolate flavor joined the mix.Â Â Â The cigar burned more quickly than I expected and the burn itself tended to wander frequently, requiring touch-ups.Â Â Â The burn issues were consistent with all 3 of the HDM’s I smoked for this review.Â Â Â Â Â On a few occassions the cigar threatened to go out on me and I had to completely re-light one of the 3 I smoked.Â Â Â Â
If you look carefully at the photo above you can see that despite some of the burn issues the ash held like a champ until I tapped it off in one solid chunk.Â Â Â Â Now if that doesn’t tell you this cigar was rolled by a skilled hand I don’t know what else could convince you.Â Â Â
As I worked my way into the final third the HDM Epicure Especial introduced a slightly chalky aftertaste that I did not enjoy.Â Â Â The previouslyÂ noted herbal salty flavours were muted and turned progressively sour.Â Â Â Â As I reached the bands I must admit that I found the cigar almost difficult to finish.Â Â Â Â The chalky muted finish to this stick was a dissapointingÂ conclusionÂ to what had been a pleasant, medium bodied cigar.
Overall:Â Â The Hoyo de Monterrey Epicure Especial is a medium bodied Cuban cigar with a reasonable price point.Â Â Â The construction and appearance of these cigars is very well done.Â Â Â Â Â The wandering burn issues ofÂ this cigar did not presentÂ anythingÂ that I couldn’t handle with a few well timed touch-ups.Â Â Â Â The flavor profile started out well but the finish on all three was dissapointing.Â Â Â Â I am holding out hope that perhaps some significant time spent aging in my humidor might help remedy some of the less enjoyable flavors on the finish.Â Â Â Â Feel free to give these Cubans a try but don’t get caught paying $16 or more for these sticks because you might be dissapointed.