This April, General Cigar launched a new version of Hoyo de Monterrey exclusively for brick and mortar retailers. According to Alan Willner, vice president of marketing, “We’re taking the legendary brand Hoyo de Monterrey and moving it into the future. The new Hoyo is about keeping the brand’s rich history of Honduran craftsmanship and infusing it with new ideas, new tobacco and new packaging.”
Hoyo was inspired by Hoyo Edición de Cumpleaños 150, a successful, limited edition cigar released last year. Hoyo 150th anniversary took the first step toward breaking the conventions of the brand by featuring a new variety of Nicaraguan tobacco, a shade-grown wrapper never used before in any other cigar. With sleek new packaging and a contemporary logo, Hoyo Edición de Cumpleaños 150 represented a new wave of the brand.
Continuing along the path carved by Edición de Cumpleaños 150, Hoyo is an artisanal line featuring special tobaccos, proprietary aging techniques and old world craftsmanship. Hoyo takes the same Esteli-grown Habano shade wrapper used in “150” and adds extended fermentation to deepen the flavor. The blend was also updated to complement the wrapper and features longer aging on the filler and binder to deliver a deep, rich smoking experience.
Hoyo begins with a proprietary wrapper called Esteli Habano Shade. Cultivated by the Plasencia Group exclusively for Hoyo, it is the first Cuban-seed, shade-grown wrapper, and is also one of the heaviest wrappers used in premium cigars. The Plasencias use special cultural practices to deliver a thick, pliable leaf with bold, peppery flavor. Given the power of the leaf, the Hoyo blending team chose to apply increased fermentation, taking place over two years, to bring deeper dimension to its taste.
The blend consists of three different tobaccos – a Pennsylvania Ligero, plus Nicaraguan Esteli and Nicaraguan Ometepe leaves. Each of the filler leaves was aged for more than 18 months. The Pennsylvania ligero is a powerhouse, balanced by aged Ometepe leaves. The Esteli leaves lend a familiar earthy flavor that increases the cigar’s complexity.
An aged Ecuadoran Sumatra binder lends great combustibility and ensures an even burn. Each of the four vitolas will be packaged in sleek, 20-count black boxes with silver branding elements. They are: Gigante (6” x 60) – SRP per cigar is $6.99, Toro (6” x 50) – SRP per cigar is $6.79, Robusto (5” x 54) – SRP per cigar is $6.59, Rothschild (4.5” x 50) – SRP per cigar is $5.49.
Ring Gauge: 54
Country of Origin: Honduras
Wrapper: Esteli Habano Shade
Binder: Ecuadoran Sumatra
Filler: Pennsylvania Ligero, Nicaraguan Esteli and Nicaraguan Ometepe
Factory: STG Danli
Blender: Jhonys Diaz and General Cigar Blending Team
Number of reviewers: 5 – Gregg (McGreggor57) Stefan (Stefan) Craig (WyldKnyght) Kent (Throck) Jason H. (Jokey Smurf)
Age: 1 Month
Release Date: April 2016
Contributed by: General Cigar
“A nice variegated coloring of black and brown, velvety to the touch. Great cap and seam work with only a couple of visible veins. ” -Gregg (McGreggor57)
“The wrapper had leather and nutty smell. The foot gave off a medium tobacco aroma. And the dry puff tasted like nuts and spices.” -Craig (WyldKnyght)
“This cigar was easy to light. The initial flavor I got was a roasted almond flavor. The draw was a little tight, the burn was uneven, I touched it up, but it went uneven anyway. The smoke was nice and oily in the mouth.” -Craig (WyldKnyght)”
“The first third was a nice introduction. There was a leather power punch in the beginning with a nice flavor of walnuts that was tempting to take charge. I enjoyed the diversity of the two.” -Kent (Throck)
“The second third is marked by notes of cured (Nicaraguan?) tobacco and a sour note of red fruits reminiscent of Flemish red ales. There is also medium strength white pepper in the mix, most noticeable on the retrohale, and some dry cocoa notes on the palate which become stronger past the midpoint. Finishes slightly bitter, akin to the hoppiness of many Imperial Stouts.” -Stefan (Stefan)
“As the cigar entered the second portion, I began to notice a charred oak note, although the leather note remained the primary flavor. Eventually I began to pick up some black coffee notes as well…This seemed a nice twist to pair with the anise that has remained on the lingering smoke. The cigar is medium at this point, and as this portion is ending I start to detect the return of black pepper on the retrohale.” –Jason H. (Jokey Smurf)
“A rich coffee develops in the final third as the cedar increases just a touch. The grasses transition into more of a damp hay. There is a much better balance of flavors than previously.” -Gregg (McGreggor57)
“As I entered the final third, the smoke took an interesting turn and became oily and succulent. Unfortunately, this only lasted for about 10 puffs, then the volume thinned and the oily property of the smoke disappeared. Also at this point I detected a major flavor change. The smoke developed a strong white pepper property, mixed with bittersweet cacao. It was shortly after that the smoke really began to heat up and due to a slight amount of bitterness I decided to end the cigar with just under 2” remaining. ” –Jason H. (Jokey Smurf)
“The draw was quite nice but an air leak developed which made smoking a little more difficult.” -Kent (Throck)
“The burn was even throughout but the ash was really weak and cascaded into my tray while setting it down. I would have liked to see something with a bit more substance.” -Kent (Throck)
“I opted to punch cut this cigar and it just felt sturdy. The punch cut cleanly and removed a perfect plug of cap leaf. I was pleased that the cap didn’t split…I was a bit concerned because of the density of the cigar and the thickness of the cap, that the cap might crack. No worries…it remained intact. The initial draw was open, and tasted of mild, sweet tobacco.” –Jason H. (Jokey Smurf)
Overall Strength: Medium
Overall Body/Complexity: Medium
Overall Experience: 89
“The first third kept me guessing as to which flavors would find my palate on each draw. The addition of a rich coffee near the end elevated and balanced the mediocre flavors in the middle. While nothing really grabbed me, I found it to still be a solid cigar.” -Gregg (McGreggor57)
“Marked by a bitter chocolate leitmotif, this smoke is unfortunately not in my wheelhouse. Nevertheless, I appreciate the outstanding construction.” -Stefan (Stefan)
“This cigar looked good and started out with promise, but alas it was not meant to be, the uneven burn and the lack of flavor after the first 3rd put the nail in the coffin of this cigar. I’m not sure I could honestly recommend this cigar to anyone.” -Craig (WyldKnyght)
“This cigar was a bit of a roller coaster. It had so much promise with the flavors of the first two thirds, but the construction issues and harsh, bitter end was not the way i enjoy finishing off a cigar. Such a shame to go out on those notes. ” -Kent (Throck)
“This was quite a nice smoke with several twists and turns in flavor. The cigar performed beautifully, and at one point held just under a 2” ash. The draw was outstanding, and the burn mostly straight. I would rate this as medium/full strength over all, and medium body. I enjoyed the cigar, and I think it worthy of a five pack for future tastings.” –Jason H. (Jokey Smurf)
Smoking Time (in minutes): 62
To view the complete scores and notes, click here.