Hoyo de Monterrey is one of the original and now classic brands of pre-revolutionary Cuba. The brand was established in the 19th century and is in wide circulation to this day, in various blends, made either in Cuba or Honduras. The new Hoyo was inspired by a limited edition blend, the Hoyo Editión de Cumpleaños 150, which was created to celebrate the sesquicentennial of Hoyo de Monterrey.
The highlight of the new Hoyo is a shade grown Habano leaf grown in Esteli. It is an unusual wrapper, not only because Habano is rarely if ever grown under shade, but also because this leaf looks anything but shade grown. Tobacco is generally grown under shade to produce a light, creamy and consistent leaf. It’s the most flawless of cigar wrappers, but it is also less robust in flavor. This shade grown Habano, produced by the Plascencias especially for this cigar, is dark, oily, and spicy — pretty much the opposite of what I expect from a shade wrapper.
Under the hood, the blenders have utilized an aged Ecuadoran Sumatra binder and a sturdy filler blend of Nicaraguan leaf from Esteli and Ometepe, plus a dose of Pennsylvania ligero. Hoyo was created exclusively for brick-and-mortar retailers in four sizes:
- Gigante – 6 x 60
- Toro – 6 x 50
- Robuso – 5 x 54
- Rothschild – 4 1/2 x 50
I’m not too enthusiastic about General’s recent trend toward wide rectangular bands, but at least this one is pretty (and easy to remove). It is not, however, prettier than the wrapper on the new Hoyo, which is gorgeous. It’s hard to believe this is a shade grown wrapper — it’s sleek, oily, and just this side of maduro in appearance. The Robusto is a solid parejo, though I noticed a couple had small dents that only the most fastidious of critics would notice.
A functional cap sits on a flat head. The draw is effortless while offering the proper amount of resistance, and the burn is slow and even.
Overall construction: Excellent
The Hoyo Robusto opens up sweet and woody on the nose and peppery on the palate. The aroma is a little bit fruity — dried fruit like cherries or raisins — but it also reminds me of smoky maple syrup, if there is such a thing. The smoke from a good barbecue sauce might make a good comparison. After an inch or so the pepper eases up, without disappearing altogether, and the syrupy flavor continues with some coffee-like accents. This is a full bodied cigar with a good punch, though the smoke texture is a bit heavier than its strength.
The finish is long and earthy towards the finale of the cigar. The basic components of the flavor and aroma have not changed — the smoke is still sweet and woody on the nose, and earthy on the palate. The pepper returns for a victory lap and gets doused with my last sip of Guinness at the finish line.
The new Hoyo is an expressive cigar, and one that I think will appeal to adventurous maduro smokers. It’s not branded as a maduro — in fact it’s not a maduro — and it lacks the chocolate and coffee flavors that maduro smokers are accustomed to, but its predominating sweetness and dry peppery punch is a combination that fans of Nicaraguan maduros will probably enjoy. On my scorecard it gets knocked down a bit for harshness, but this blend was obviously built for strength and flavor over smoothness.
While the Hoyo is only available for now at your local B&M, the price makes it worth the trip: MSRP for the Robusto is around $6.50 USD and larger sizes are only about a buck more.
Final Score: 89