The new Hoyo de Monterrey from General Cigar is a brick and mortar exclusive. The Hoyo began shipping to retailers late last week (April 1st) and should be on the shelves at your local B&M soon. It is available in four sizes.
Hoyo de Monterrey
Size: 5 x 54
Wrapper: Esteli Habano Shade (proprietary)
Binder: Ecuadoran Sumatra
Filler: Pennsylvania Ligero, Nicaragua (Esteli & Ometepe)
Samples smoked for review: 2-3 per reviewer
Cigars for review were provided by General Cigars
Note: We used the CigarFederation Rating System
Rob's Rating - 87 AKA "5-Pack Purchase"
I read a bit about the Esteli Habano Shade wrapper that Plasencia grew for this cigar and it got my attention. I also like the idea of keeping the Hoyo as a B&M exclusive. Sure some stores will probably sell them through their online store, but I like the idea of a B&M exclusive more than a regional or limited release. Get off your butts and go to your local lounge before they are all gone! OK, rant over.
Flavor: The Hoyo offered up some rich flavors along with a consistent spice. The spice started out as a black pepper and took on more of a baking spice flavor as things progressed. The spice was mainly present on the retrohale and was not overpowering at all. The flavor profile featured a rich backbone of leather and cedar giving the Hoyo the feel of a nice maduro. There were varying levels of sweetness in there and some "bakery" notes as well. Chewy notes of molasses mingled with some stewed stone fruit and mild baking spice to add to the richness of the blend.
Construction and Performance: I smoked three Hoyos for this review. The first two smoked as if they were a little damp so I dry-boxed the third and found much better results. The thickness of the wrapper may have something to do with this. Keep that in mind if you grab some of these.
Final Thoughts: The new Hoyo profiles as an "everyday" maduro style smoke and is priced accordingly. I found the profile interesting and enjoyable if a bit on-dimensional. It's a solid smoke that needs some dry-boxing if you want to get the best performance.
Matt's Rating - 86 AKA "5-Pack Purchase"
The first thing you note about the Hoyo is the new branding. Silver embroidery on a black band pops out, and the logo is cool looking. The Esteli Habano Shade wrapper is dark, but looks much lighter in contrast to the deep black band. There are a few veins visible, but the construction looks very nice as seams are near impossible to locate. The wrapper feels dry, and the cigar is a bit hard on a slight squeeze, but the wrapper has an oily sheen. I use the table cutter to clip the cap and take some prelight draws. There is a sweet wood flavor that is prevalent on the cold draw along with a bread/flour flavor. Interesting.
There is a lot of flavor off the light. The bread/flour note I experienced on the cold draw provides the foundation, but I also get a sweet spice on top. Its quite pleasant. Right now, the draw feels tight, but I'm still getting proper smoke output, and the cigar is putting out some solid smoke even at rest. The burn is a bit wonky. Interesting to note that I sampled 3 cigars for this review, and the final cigar I dry-boxed. I find the 3rd sample smoked is providing much better flavor and burning a bit better too. The ash held on for a solid inch and a half or so before it fell on its own accord. The burn line is a bit off-kilter, but its not impacting my experience.
The middle kicks off with more of the same. The sweet spice - I keep wanting to call it cinnamon, but its not quite that - has dissipated a bit, but there remains a subtle sweetness on the front of the tongue. The bread note that laid the foundation for this cigar - a flavor I've rarely picked up previously - is still there, but seems to be transitioning to a much more earthy flavor. I'm a bit surprised, given the blend profile, that the ligero is not shining a bit more, but I think the fact that I dry-boxed this final sample is the difference. The first two samples I smoked seemed almost wet and smoked very heavy. This final sample was dry-boxed for a couple of days and is showing much more flavor and complexity.
I'm now firmly in the finale at the hour and twenty minute mark - a definite slow burner even dry-boxed. The sweetness is all but gone at this point. The bread flavor I noted early has fully transitioned to an earthiness at this point, and the cigar has definitely become more full-bodied. There is now a white pepper note on the finish, and a little bit of bitterness as I'm reaching the nub.
This is an odd review to write. Typically, I'll smoke a sample or two to get a feel for a cigar, and then pull a final sample and do this pseudo-stream-of-consciousness review that represents my experience across all samples. For this cigar, the act of dry-boxing the third sample completely changed my experience. The first two samples I smoked were a bit "wet" and were just powerhouses with little else. Obviously, this final sample was a much better experience and completely changes my view of the cigar. Given our scoring system, I'd definitely pick up a couple of these and dry-box them for a couple of days before smoking.
Cigar Federation Group Score - 86.5
"We'd buy a couple and probably grab a 5-pack"