Hoyo de Monterrey Le Hoyo du Prince

Hoyo de Monterrey LogoThe year 2015 passed, without even one Cigar review. How is that possible? Did I quit smoking? No way, but I do have to admit I never started smoking either. Cigarettes are not for me. From the start it was always about Cigars. I smoke for taste I used to say and I never smoked a lot. The place I write from, The Netherlands, is not a tropical country, and I do have to find me a spot for smoking and reviewing Cigars somewhere, since I don’t want to smoke inside the house. As long as I don’t have a place for smoking, I’ll have to wait for some nice weather, and especially time. I need to be left alone with my Cigar for as long as it takes, and that is maybe the real problem here.

Getting the Cigar part of Master Quill back on track, we’ll start with another Hoyo du Monterrey. Hoyo du Monterrey has been featured before on these pages with the Epicure No. 2 and Le Hoyo du Maire. As I said before Hoyo de Monterrey is known to be a light Cigar yet meant for the connoisseur, aren’t we all? I do like Hoyo de Monterrey, untill now they have always been full of aroma, well-built and all smoked very good. I like the blend of tobacco used for this brand. The Cigar I’m about to review is and old one. Aged for a long time. The band you see in the picture was introduced around 2005, and mine doesn’t have that, and no, it hasn’t been removed. I bought a batch of old Hoyo’s quite some years back. Today this Cigar is only released in an SLB 25 (Sliding Lid Box, containing 25 Cigars).

le Hoyo du Prince

Hoyo de Monterrey Le Hoyo du prince (40 x 130mm, Almuerzos, Corona, Box code unknown)

Color & Looks: Light brown, with small veins and very straight. Tightly packed.

A cru: Light chocolate. Leafy with some nice leather notes. Still smells young and leafy. Grassy even. Fresh mown grass. Well I didn’t expect that from this old Cigar.

Taste: For a tightly packed Cigar this still had a reasonable draw. Starts out nice and friendly, not hitting you over the head like some Bolivars. Creamy. Doesn’t produce a lot of smoke, yet tastes great. Warming and creamy and is and goes together well with my coffee. What a great smell. Even second-hand smoke smells great. Becomes slightly spicy with young wood. The leather aroma is young and fresh. A freshly made and oily saddle. Great. The wrapper turns into white ashes and inside it turns black and grey. It’s just a shame it is a bit plugged, and I have to work at it so hard. Maybe this needs to be smoked at a lower humidity. This one here, has a RH (relative humidity) of around 70%.

After 1/3 the wood becomes more serious. Sandalwood and definitely less creamy. Hints of menthol on my lips. Since this is plugged, the smoke gets channeled and flows rather fast and hot. The whole experience gets dryer and more herbal. Half way through, the creaminess surprisingly reappears keeping the whole rather tasty and keeping it relatively mild. Second hand smoke is still great with added mint. That is what ageing will do. The great taste stays untill the very end when you almost burn your lips. It doesn’t become harsh at all. After putting it down I taste some thyme in the back of my throat.

Very tasty and accessible Corona. Definitely worth trying out. I loved it, even this tightly packed one.

Points: 84

Partagás de Luxe

…some sunshine, and another chance to finally review another cigar that is with me for quite some time, and thus had the chance to age properly.

Don Jaime Partagás y Ravelo, from Spain, started his own cigar factory named Partagás in 1845. Not much later he was murdered, over… a woman. You’ve guessed it. Partagás was also the first place to have the famous lector. A lector is the person who reads to the workers, from newspapers to good novels. Usually the workers themselves take turns in reading. Partagás is a very big and popular Cuban brand, know to be quite heavy, so not a brand you’ll start with when you are a novice. Note: The Partagás de Luxe was a machine-made cigar up to 2002. Now its a hand-made cigar.

Cuban Partágas de Luxe (40 x 140 mm, Crema, Corona, Box Code LWI SEP 05)

Color and Looks: Colorado, no big veins and rustic looking. The wrapper is ultra thin almost translucent (when warm) and fragile. The one I smoked had some frays at its foot, but it was the only one in the box, so no worries. When holding it, it seems to me it has no weight.

A cru: Woody, soapy and grassy. The foot smells more like hay and leather. Draw just ok, a bit heavy, which I didn’t expect, since its light weight.

Taste: Burns well, good rich smoke. Lots of wood that stings on the palate. It also has all the traits of wood. The spiciness, the sourness, like oak has in some whiskies. The build quality is very high. The ash from the wrapper and binder is white, the filler is gray and black. The ash has millions of tiny dots, that weren’t to visible in it’s a cru state. The wood also shows some cedar now. The taste is very simple and seems to evolve hardly.

Although its woody and dry, it doesn’t seem as strong as I thought, but when combined with double roasted coffee, the coffee seems watery! After 3 centimetres it does get better, some grass is added to the taste. Still very uncomplex but a good friend nevertheless. Ash is firm and fell off three times.

The soapyness gets more and more “there” and is something you’ll want to “away”. Fortunately since this didn’t go well with coffee, it goes well with carbonized water. (This time I had some de-ironed mineral water from France). I won’t be running out to buy a new box of these. There isn’t a lot happening, but what’s there is nice. The build is very good and the draw turned out to be very easy. It didn’t weigh a lot and therefore it burned pretty quick. The black band was glued to the cigar and can’t be removed without ruining the cigar. Unfortunately this band sat quite high, so the end came even sooner. Short spicy, woody and alas soapy smoke.

Points: 71

Romeo y Julieta Romeo No.3 (Tubos)

Well, today was another great day to sit outside, so I decided to try another cigar. This time one of my first buys. A loooong time ago I bought a box of ten of these tubed Petit Corona’s (in the brushed aluminium tubes). I tried one (probably in its sick period, of which I knew nothing at that time). I found it very harsh then and very young, like green grass with ammonia. After this first try I felt a bit sick myself. Now let’s try this one after a prolonged time in one of my humidor’s and see if ageing made this cigar any better.

Well this is a Cuban Romeo y Julieta Romeo No. 3 (40 x 117mm, Petit Corona, Box Code ORE JUN 04).

The brand was established in 1875 and was named for Shakespeare’s tragedy Romeo and Juliet. Quite a surprise ‘eh? It was made BIG by Jose Rodriguez who acquired the brand in 1903. Just like Prez JFK springs to mind when thinking about H. Upmann, Romeo y Julieta also had a big Prez-like fan: Winston Leonard Spencer-Churchill. In his honor RyJ made a famous cigar named Churchill. As far as I know there’s never been a John F Cigar…

Color & Looks: Colorado, veiny and no powder nor frays. Good build, easy to cut.

A cru: Old books, ashy (and that’s before lighting it).

Taste: Easy combustion and excellent draw. Starts very nice, well matured. Leathery and I would say half-creamy.  This is really a lot better than all those years ago. It has a great startup, it’s good from the very beginning. Oriental spice and some cedar. It stays on the mild side. After just two centimeters development starts and moves more into more spices and ground black pepper. The whole is very nicely balanced, and I love balance! It’s very aromatic and gives lots of almonds now. I hope it’s not hydrocyanic acid gas ;-). The further down the cigar, the more cedar, but never overpowering the overall taste, just a little shift in the spectrum towards the wood. Some dry forest floor and a hint of cannabis and even a little hint of petrol, which is no problem but just adds to the balance. This little cigar evolves forever (well 30 to 40 minutes) and doesn’t stop with the aromatics. The end announces itself with some mint, and never becomes harsh.

It gives a lot of smoke and white ash with many white dots. This is clearly a lunchtime cigar. Will do great after lunch, but also an hour before dinner. Then again, this one is also great with arabica coffee (not espresso nor robusta coffee). I can imagine this one will do great with white wine (take your pick I haven’t tried which yet) and probably not with strong alcohols. Wow, as bad as it was when it was new, so good it is now. If I were JFK, I would tell my assistant to run out a second time to buy 1200 of these too. Still, it’s a shame I needed some eight odd years to find out how great these really can be.

Smoke this slowly, take your time. Don’t ruin this cigar because you want to get back to work on time.

88 points