The Hoyo de Monterrey Epicure No 2 Reserva Cosecha 2012 is the latest in the annual line of Reserva cigars to be released from Habanos S.A. It was debuted on the first night of the 18th Habanos Festival on February 29th.
The looks of this cigar are really quite breathtaking. The wrapper specially chosen for this release is slightly darker than your normal Hoyo Epicure and is obviously of the best quality as it is very smooth and shows no veins.
It is fairly soft to the touch and pretty oily. The aroma from the wrapper and foot are pretty sweet like caramel with just a hint of aged tobacco. The pre-light draw shows more of the sweetness but also some musty leather.
The first few puffs are just creamy goodness, no spice at all. The retrohale reveals some nuttiness with a background of caramel. The burn and draw are just about perfect.
Further in, I get just a tiny hint of white pepper, just enough to add a little something to complexity.
The second third has built up in strength a bit with some more of that white pepper, but still in the medium range. The flavors are now still the nuttiness but the sweetness has been replaced by an orange peel flavor. The finish is very creamy, and lasts a very long time. One of the nicest finishes I have ever experienced. I find this third so well balanced and complex, it is hard not to smoke too fast because it’s so delicious.The burn and draw are perfect so far, haven’t had to touch a thing.
After a while, I find the addition of some baking spices to be quite pleasant and balancing. This third was just fantastic, even better than the first. I can only hope that this continues.
The final third transitions with a base layer of fresh bread and creaminess that is just awesome. As I approach the end of this cigar the bread turns into a more toast flavor, which is interesting. It finishes out with the same creaminess with just a little more pepper, never getting hot. Just wonderful.
This is what a well-aged cigar made with the highest quality tobacco should taste like. I have smoked a lot of cigars, cuban and non-cuban, and I have to say, without a doubt, this is one of the best cigars I have ever smoked. The flavors were expertly balanced and complex, never strong with pepper. The burn and draw were pretty perfect.
Now, I don’t know what these will cost when they come out, and God know when that will be as we are still waiting on releases from last year like the Montecristo 85th Anniversary and the Partagas Maduro No. 1, but my guess is somewhere in the $60-$70 range. Many will balk at this, and I can totally understand that. But, if you want truly one of the best cigars you can buy for a special occasion, pick one up, put it on a Christmas list, split with a friend, whatever you can. You won’t regret it. I have no hesitation giving this cigar a 98.