Hoyo de Monterrey Epicure No.2

Heatwave over here, so a nice day to sit outside on the porch. I had a craving for a Robusto sized cigar and I noticed I haven’t reviewed a Hoyo de Monterrey yet. Therefore getting an Epicure No. 2 out wasn’t a hard task at all. My aged Epicure No.2 must be pre 2008, since it doesn’t have the second band that modern Epicures have. yes Epicures. The are a few around. There is an Epicure No. 1 (Corona Gorda), an Epicure Especial (Gordito) and in 2010 there was a Double Epicure (Doble) and in 2012 an Epicure de Luxe (Mágico) saw the light of day. Some of those were first a Edición Limitada. Hoyo de Monterrey was established in 1865 and is a Global brand selling lots and lots of cigars. There also is a plethora of choice, and all are known to be light yet for the connoisseur.

Hoyo de Monterrey Epicure No. 2 (50 x 124mm, Robusto, Box code unknown)

Color & Looks: The feel is spongy, also some small holes in the wrapper, and even the foot has a little tear in it. That doesn’t bother me since it always is the first to burn. One larger vein and some vague green spots, but that is all. If you look at the whole it looks pretty good and smooth.

A cru: Leavy and wet, a very elegant smell. Mildly woody with some paper thrown in and the whole smells rather light. After the cut it becomes very nutty, with cardboard and grassy. No salt on the lips. Draw is easy. Very light in fact. When the cigar gets warm if feels even more spongy and soft. It is underpacked, something that was already noticeable through the very light draw.

Taste: First impression it that it is very impressive. Great smell altogether and a lot of smoke. Not fatty full cream, but thin cream with a spicy bite to it. Mild wood spice I would say. For me the creamyness isn’t creamy enough.

The ash from the wrapper is white the rest of it is grey and black. I’m having some mild mocha coffee with this and it doesn’t fit. It hinders all the flavors of the coffee and makes the coffee taste sour. I tried a second cup, strong espresso and that was a bitter. Still this one is better accompanied by water and probably something alcoholic. The outside smoke is really prickly. The first 2 centimetres are a bit ‘nervous’ but after that it settles down, and settles for great balance. Toffee is added to the menu. Still there is little development throughout the cigar.

After some time with this the amount of smoke is really incredible. I’m sitting outside with a little wind and I’m still able to generate a sort of private cloud around myself. Overall this cigar could have been creamier, and for a Hoyo it has a atypical sharp and spicy edge to it. Definitively an after dinner cigar, even though it is light. You can smoke this one untill it burns your lips, isn’t that good value!

Points: 87

The Griffin’s Robusto Maduro

Twentieth post, so let’s get something out of the ordinary. I don’t have a lot of non Cubans lying around so I was very curious how this would be. Besides that, this cigar earned itself a 90 points score from Cigar Insider. So here it goes…

The Griffin’s are named for the Griffin’s Club in Switzerland, and are made with tobacco from the Cibao Valley in the Dominican Republic. and I guess that with Nicaragua, these are the countries to watch when thinking of good cigars to compete with the Cubans. The Cigar is made by Davidoff and that shows. It’s a very nice looking cigar, so it seems to have a good build quality. Compared to their Classic Line, this Maduro uses an aged Connecticut Broadleaf Maduro wrapper. The producers themselves describe the taste as this:  Spicy, sweet aromas with medium-strong, but understated piquancy…

The Griffin’s Robusto Maduro (50 x 127mm, Robusto, Box Code Unknown)

Color and Looks: Maduro. Very nice wrapper with one larger vein. Numerous small white spots on its surface, like sand. A little tear at the foot. The whole cigar feels firm.

A cru: Deep tobacco flavor, perfumy. After cutting, it smells grassy (this cigar sat for many years in my humidor). Draw is al right and tastes like hay.

Taste: Good smoke, very appetizing, very elegant smell from the outside. It reminds me of how cigars smelled when I was a kid (when somebody else was smoking). Grey ash, straight as an arrow, with a slightly brown tinge to it. Very firm ash, good build. I’m having it after dinner, and it smokes just fine. Perfect draw. Quite mild with no soapyness or ammonia. Well aged. I have a feeling that the Maduro wrapper balances the cigar, and gives it more of an edge to it. I can imagine that the Classic version, would be mild and has to be smoked before dinner. It’s not an overly complex cigar, but still interesting enough for the connoisseur. Up to this point (1/3) a very nice surprise. If this would be a men’s fragrance, this would be a “sports” version.

The (2/3) mark starts with more spices and wood. The overall experience is on the dry side, so not creamy. Like the Petit Edmundo, this is a cigar that does not complement coffee, but rather emphasizes some tastes. I don’t think this cigar needs more ageing. Further down the road, this cigar keeps getting spicier, woodier and adds hints of bitter dark chocolate and licorice. It’s building up its strengths. By doing so, it gets more and more one-sided which is a bit boring really. Ash fell off only twice.

The first 1/3 was very satisfying, with nice development. 2/3 down, it became “stronger” and more linear and less interesting. The last third is very disappointing, so you can say the first half is good, the rest should die out in your ashtray. The big band this cigar has, is glued to the wrapper ánd is placed nearer to the middle than the end, so be careful when shifting or removing it. Or maybe they strategically placed it there, since you shouldn’t smoke the cigar beyond the band. Now try to score a cigar that starts so well and goes downhill so fast. The first third would score something like 85 points, and beyond the halfway point it’s more like 65 points. So overall I will score this…

70 Points