Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Hoyo de Monterrey
Sizes: Governor (6.12 x 50), Robusto (5.5 x 54)
Wrapper: Ecuadoran Sumatra
Filler: Blend of Honduran, Nicaraguan, and Dominican
Price: $4.50

This Honduran-made version of Hoyo de Monterrey has been around since the 1970’s, when (or so the story goes) Jose Gener smuggled tobacco seeds out of Cuba in a diplomatic pouch to escape Castro’s grasp. These cigars are manufactured in the Villazon factory, under the guidance of Estelo Padron. The cigar is now owned/distributed by General Cigar Co. and is marketed as “heavy-bodied” and “Cuban-esque”.

I picked up a box of 10 Governors from JRCigars, with a free 5-pack of robustos, on sale for around $30. (They usually go for $4-5 at my local B&Ms).

I liked these cigars, especially the Robustos, which are noticeably spicier and more aromatic than the longer, thinner Governors. It would seem, based on internet reviews and blogs, that the maduro version of this smoke is more popular, but I chose the EMS which I usually prefer. The cigar is light brown in color and tastes earthy and woody. It has a lingering spice on the finish, but I would consider this medium, not full-bodied. They have average construction: No burn problems but do occasionally require relights. I found HdM similar in construction, body, aroma and taste to Punch, which is not surprising since they originate from the same factory.

This is certainly better than your average $2 cigar, but not in the same league as some of the other brands I’ve enjoyed recently. They don’t have the richness of Gurkha Master Select, the complexity of 5 Vegas Limitada, or the power of DPG Cuban Classic and Gran Habano #5 Corojo.

But the best time to enjoy HdM is on a lazy Saturday afternoon, paired with a dram of Old Pulteney, a salty coastal scotch from the northernmost tip of the Scottish Highlands. The Old Pulteney can complement the cigar, without overpowering it, and together they will certainly enrich a few relaxing hours on the back porch reading or preparing a Sunday School lesson.

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