Brand: Hoyo de Monterrey
Line: Epicure No. 2
Size: 4 7/8″ x 50
Price: $ 18 CAD
Having had a box of these beautiful cigars sitting in my humidor for the last three years earned it a review on such a beautiful day as today. These robusto’s were one of the first cuban cigars that I was introduced to at the beginning of my cigar career. They were then, and still are now, my favourite cuban cigar….but why? Well this review should shed some light on the flavour profile that has boosted this beautiful stick to the top of my preferred cuban list.
I took one of my last 12 robusto’s and cut off the top cap with my table cutter. I toasted and lit the foot and was rushed with the flavours of cedar and vanilla with the instant texture of milk on the back of my palette. The cigar itself is beautifully constructed with tight, invisible seems and a very smooth and silky wrapper. The pack was light, yet dense and would prove to be a delicate, yet robust smoke.
First Third (1/3) – 15 min
The notes of cedar were persistent during this third, but what was interesting was the creeping taste of sweet port that was making its way to the forefront. Although I rarely pick up a glass of port, the flavours were bold enough for me to distinguish it. The texture of the copious amount of smoke was creamy and produced an oily slickness on my tongue and lips. As the burn approached the second third the notes of cedar began to transform into a similar but distinctly woody, hay-like aroma.
Second Third (2/3) – 20 min
I smoked this third particularly slowly, given the shorter length of the stick, and I sat back and enjoyed the massive volume of smoke that this stick almost miraculously outputted. The woody-hay aroma’s continued to be present on the finish and notes of cayenne and black pepper started to move its way into the fold. The spice however, did not tingle my lips or tongue, rather it had a distinct aged mellowness that is characteristic of this Cuban classic.
Final Third (3/3) – 15 min
Interestingly enough, this stick, as it passed the band point, retained its structural integrity in the face of the massive smoke volume and moisture. The warm smoke produced some sweet tea and caramel aromas that were a welcomed change from the previous two thirds and was a fitting way to end off such an enjoyable smoking experience. When I could not hold the nub any longer I placed the cigar down to rest, appropriate for such a magnificent work of art.
Total Smoke Time: 50 min
This masterpiece of Cuban craftsmanship is a necessary resident in any true cigar lovers humidor. The variety of flavours and transitions will keep those who are easily bored actively trying to distinguish them. The cigar, like all great Cubans, was constructed to the highest standards and packed perfectly. Because of this the smoking experience was flawless and makes the smoker regret ever ending it! Taking into account these factors: Construction, burn, smoke volume, flavours and transitions; this Cuban beauty places on the Leather Library 10-Point Stogie Scale a:
You will notice in my Cuban cigar reviews how much I stress the perfection of the construction. Truly, Cuban cigars, being the primary export and source of revenue (aside from tourism), for the Cuban government naturally have to meet the highest standards.
Many tourists get duped when they travel to Cuba by locals who try to sell them name brand Cuban cigars, yet they are merely counterfeits. Aside from a variety of indicators, distinguishing a counterfeit typically comes down to the construction. Counterfeits are not regulated, nor are they rolled by the very skilled hands at the Cuban cigar factories. Don’t be fooled by the locals!
By: Steven Umbrello
Steven Umbrello is a student of philosophy and an avid cigar and pipe smoker.He has been smoking cigars and pipes for over five years and has made it his mission to learn as much about the industry as possible. He has attended some high profile cigar events and is a leading member of the Toronto Cigar Club. You can find more from Steven at his blog The Leather Library Blog.