Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Cigar Review: Hoyo de Monterrey Le Hoyo de San Juan

It has been six years since Habanos S.A. released a new regular production Hoyo de Monterrey, and the release of this smoke could not have been more perfect. While the world is looking for larger ring gauge offerings, I believe the days of looking for super strong smokes is over and there is a return to a flavor focused offering. The big ring gauge craze is still present, but at least we are getting somewhere with simply making a flavorful cigar or Habano. Habanos has slowly been introducing large ring gauge offerings in their bigger and more well known brands, and this year at the Habanos Festival they revealed the new large offering. The offering was tittle Le Hoyo de San Juan, and was the newest addition to the Hoyo de Monterrey brand. It is an offering that is meant to pay tribute to the old brand, but do it in a manner that is modern/new, but also traditional. The Habano is just now making its way into stores across the globe, and today I take a look at this new release and see how it smokes.

Released this year, Le Hoyo de San Juan is the newest and 13th regular production vitola in the Hoyo de Monterrey brand. It is a large offering, measuring 150 mm (5.9") with a 54 ring gauge, and is titled Geniales in the factory while being considered a robusto extra from Habanos S.A. The Habano is composed of tobacco from the San Juan y Martínez municipality, and Habanos has states that this is the Habano will not be composed of tobacco from any other area. This municipality is located in the well known Vuelta Abajo region of Pinar del Rio, and this is where Vegas Robaina is located. The robusto extra is massive in hand, and this may not be the biggest, but it sure feels like the biggest Habano that I have handled. The Hoyo band really pops off the wrapper and everything about it screams big! The 54 ring gauge comes off like a 60, it being a Habano and all, and the wrapper is smooth with some minor veins here and there. It has a very faint grittiness to it, very faint, and there is a coloring that is between a dark Natural and light Colorado color spectrum. The wrapper gives off an aroma of hay, tobacco, cedar and grass, and the foot shows some similar qualities with some dried fruit and currant notes.

The first third opens up and is showing incredible flavors. There is a sweet floral flavor profile that has an aroma of roses, and with that is some soft spices that are showing some cinnamon, soft pepper and cloves. I am getting some natural sweetness as well, almost like sugar with cinnamon, and it has a toasty, hay and cedar quality present as well. The finish is creamy with some soft tobacco notes, and this Habano is fantastic. I am blown away by how smooth and flavorful this Habano is, and I could smoke this all day with no problems. The construction is solid as well as well, and while there is not a perfect burn line on the smoke, it is showing a fairly decent burn line that is holding onto the dark charcoal colored ash. There is a nice bit of smoke production present with the Habano, and I would say that the body is at a medium level and the strength just below that.

The second third shows some nice transitioning in terms of flavors, and I am picking up some stronger floral and herbal notes, and it is paired with this nice creaminess that is accompanied by some cedar and tobacco notes. There is a touch of soft tropical fruits present, and it has this jerked meat flavor with that which is very soft. The finish is showing some sweetness, and it is paired with some nutty and toasty qualities. Still very complex, this Habano is terrific for being as young as it is. The construction is fantastic as well and I am getting a much more even burn line with a dark charcoal ash on the end. The draw is cool, producing a lot of smoke, and it is a flavor focused Hoyo. I would say that the strength is still right below medium in this third and the body is right at a solid medium level.

The final third show some additional transitioning and I am beginning to get some chocolate notes that are paired with this caramelized sugar flavor profile. It is still producing those cream flavors as well, and it has a nice toasty and hay flavor profile present also. There are some nutty and cedar qualities on the finish, and it has a smooth tobacco and coconut shaving flavor on the closing profile. The flavor profile really changed in each third, and it grew in boldness the further along I got. It was an extremely filling finish, and this is a Habano I could have all the time. The draw was cool all the way to the larger nub and it produced tons of smoke on the finish. The construction was lovely, showing a fairly even burn line, and with that was the firm dark ash that had been present throughout. I would say that it smokes at a medium body in this third and the strength is right there as well. It is truly a perfect cigar for so many smokers.

I am not crazy over the Hoyo de Monterrey brand, Catfish will tell you that, but this is simply one of the best Habanos I have had and possibly the greatest vitola in the line. Yes, it is a larger smoker, but it is packed full of great tobacco that has incredible flavors and does not sacrifice any of its amazing qualities. I could enjoy this Habano all the time and this might be my favorite Habano on the market right now. I know, call me crazy, but this baby is beautiful. They really crafted a special Habano when they released this, and it goes to show how much skill Habanos has in blending. I believe that it also shows the greatness of their skills as this was released in a large ring gauge offering, and I believe they are making better large ring gauge smokes than a lot of the American manufacturers. The world is asking for bigger smokes and Habanos answered their call with the Le Hoyo de San Juan, and did it with flying colors. Right now, the Habano smokes between a 93 and 95, but with a lot of age, it could be near perfect.

Young Rating: 93-95
With Age Rating: 96-98