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Hoyo de Monterrey Epicure Especial (non-LE)

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  • Hoyo de Monterrey Epicure Especial (non-LE)

    Time for my second review, then!

    As I have mentioned, I am far from experienced so please take my impression of the Epi Especial with the proverbial grain (rock, rather) of salt. In fact, this is a request for comments, inasmuch as it is a review, because my findings below are against the consensus on this cigar!

    EDIT, because this is important: If, like me, you are a novice and looking for opinions on which to base a purchasing decision, then please note that my opinion is anything but authoritative. I certainly wish to avoid misleading or deterring someone from trying a cigar that everyone rates highly. My "review" is the impression of a beginner, inviting explanations for my disagreement with the consensus. Again, this is not an expert's review, this cigar could well be excellent.

    Hoyo de Monterrey Epicure Especial
    Size: 50 x 5.6" (141mm) — Gorditos (Robusto Extra)
    Smoke time: 40 minutes to middle - estimated 1 hour 20 mins.
    Age: Unknown (bought as a single). Listed as a 2008 release at
    In my humidor for: One week, at 70% (Hygrometer is "Angelo", 75% during salt test).

    Appearance: I cannot judge a wrapper yet, so here is a photo (click to enlarge):

    Construction: No problems with cutting, although I did get a feeling that a Palio, or equivalent, would have been more reassuring with this cigar (perhaps this applies to larger ring sizes in general - I don't know yet). Burn was not as uniform as I had hoped for but there were no major problems. The ash was firmer and darker than the Epicure No. 1. The draw was good, even if not perfectly "linear". I did not have to relight but, on the other hand, I did not go past the middle (see below).

    Flavour: An initial hit of dry wood with some pepper. The latter increased its claim in the mix as the burn progressed, while the wood never subsided. To me a rather uninspired combination but, thankfully, there are also minor hints of almond, dried fruit, "sea salt" (not sure how else to describe this last one). Alas, as much as I kept searching for it, I could not find what had led others to give the Especial a high mark. Admittedly, others are experts while I am a novice but I just did not see the complexity, or a reason to "admire" this cigar - in the way I had admired the No.1 (a few "flat" spots aside). This is, of course, a "heftier" cigar, with more nicotine than its easygoing cousin (very distant cousin). This fact, combined with inexperience, could have put me off. On the other hand, I felt no "nicotine buzz" or displeasure. Eventually, my feeling became that this is a "wannabe": a cigar outside the usual HdM character (assuming the No.1 is representative of that character) which falls flat on its face as it tries to pack a bit more "punch". I gave up on it after forty minutes, having reached just the middle.

    Overall: I was hoping that this would prove a better, more complete, incarnation of the No.1 and I was disappointed. I am hoping that someone more knowledgeable can recognize in my description a common fault: e.g., needs significant aging, needs 67% instead of 70%, etc. For now, the Epicure Especial is crossed off my list.
    Last edited by Pilot; 21-10-2010, 07:45 AM.

  • #2
    This cigar is a Hoyo on steroids, but definitely a Hoyo.

    Given the quality of your description of the flavors, I'd say you'd probably end up liking this cigar if you could smoke a few others?
    If you were expecting a bigger Epicure1, which is an "easy" cigar, I understand your disappointment.

    I was surprised and a bit skeptical when I had my first one; I found the second more interesting, and I loved the third one? Now I try to age the rest of the box?


    • #3
      hello pilot,
      to be honest, your description doesn't match my experience of the hdm epi esp at all!!! i've went through 2 10ct boxes in the last few months, i love them!!! i'm not a fan of hdm's in general, instead preferring partagas and bolivar (the more full bodied of the habanos range), but this one has been a winner for me everytime!!! what i do find odd is that you rate the epi no.1 higher!!! why? because generally i found epi 1's & 2's to be very bland and lacking in complexity....... where as i've found the epi esp to be tasty, stronger and more complex!!! also, the epi esp seems to have a darker, almost maduro wrapper compared to the generally paler 'colorado' (?) wrapper of the standard epi 1 & 2!!! no sense comparing the two just because they're the same brand....... they're both entirely different beasts!!! definitely not a 'wannabe' cigar (not sure what you mean by that), and one that, for most, 'hits the ground running' rather than 'falling flat on it's face'.

      by the sounds of it, you probably got a duff one!!! maybe you should try another one just in case!!! then again, if it didn't tick your boxes, why bother???

      all in all, IMO, a rather harsh review of an otherwise fine cigar!!! but hey, we're all entitled to our opinions.......

      all the best,



      • #4
        My experience matches Senor Robustos. I have 2 10 cts left of three. Of the 8 I have smoked each was great, but as with so many things, it's not what I or anyone else taste in a cigar - its what you taste. So if it wasnt great, i dont see a problem with moving on. there are so many cigars to try and so little time to try them all in!
        The running gears of a bopmachine


        • #5
          I found I had to age them for about a year before they got really good.


          • #6
            Thank you everyone for your comments, I do hope that I did not come across as pompous. In my disappointment , I may have used unjustifiably harsh language, as Alex remarked. I have added a disclaimer, with emphasis, because I would not want to deter a novice from trying this cigar thinking that my negative review is expert opinion.

            This is probably why they say you should get them in at least a threes: I would have been able to cross-check my findings. In fact, I will be sure to buy a few more, one to try and the remaining to age, as Deano suggests! I cannot be sure, but I suspect that the No.1 I liked so much may have aged a lot longer than the Especial. Both, I got as singles from the same merchant - I should ask him.

            Ultimately, I want to understand how often it is that a cigar, from a line considered really good, may seem bad and for which reasons: Age, humidity, bad construction, personal mood and receptivity even? If the phenomenon is rare, then it is entirely possible that I am still too "fresh" to appreciate the more demanding cigars! (I have, however, also tried Monte's #2 and Edmundo's, Cohiba Siglo VI, and I thought they were quite good. ).


            • #7
              Pilot, you wrote what you shame in that! I'd be gutted if I chucked one of them half way through. I've some on there way, looking forward to them


              • #8
                HDM No2

                I have to agree to a point. I am a big No2 fan, which IMO is one of the best of the range.
                Given the choice I would always go for the No2.
                "Keep your eyes peeled, your arse up, head down, and your ear to the gound" WHISKY77


                • #9
                  hey pilot,
                  as i said, you're absolutely entitled to your opinion, and if the cigar didn't tick your boxes, then so be it!!! throwing it out halfway through was a bit....... OTT!!! i discovered through info on here shared by other members and other sources (such as these guys, who's reviews i find pretty accurate, good and to the point, and this site) that cuban cigars have 3 stages of evolution!!! in quite a lot of cases, the flavours, strength etc pick up in the last third.... you should've hung in there, if anything, just so you didn't waste a good cigar (TBH, i've never had a 'bad' cuban...... just the odd one that underwhelms)!

                  anyway, here's something to consider to back up your arguement!!!! most here love the montecristo profile!!! with the exception of the edmundos and no,2, i absolutely hate montecristos!!! the hdm epi esp is the only cigar in that brand i do like!!!! as bgwan said, it's all down to your taste and what you like!!!

                  also, to answer your last question, getting a bad cigar from a line that's really good isn't as often as you'd imagine!!! when it happens though, it really pisses you off!!! i've had cohiba robustos (considered to be a 'classic'), bought from my local habanos specialist, that were quite rubbish...... made me want to go down and cause serious trouble, especially since i knew they can be soooo good!!! lol!!!! i suppose any amount of factors can be involved here, poor storage, bad year of production, the roller.........

                  anyway, i'm glad to hear you're willing to try them again!!! would hate like hell to think 1 bad apple spoiling the whole barrel for you!!!

                  take care pal,



                  • #10
                    My experience of the EE's was that they are a different cigar after a couple of years, then they can be great.
                    Originally posted by Simon Bolivar
                    Little medical correction there Steve, you will surely die...but not from smoking these

                    Originally posted by Ryan
                    I think that's for lighting electronic cigarettes


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Pilot View Post
                      Ultimately, I want to understand how often it is that a cigar, from a line considered really good, may seem bad and for which reasons: Age, humidity, bad construction, personal mood and receptivity even? If the phenomenon is rare .
                      The phenomenon is certainly not rare! Sometimes your favorite cigar from the best box you ever had will taste like crap; an other time the cheap Piedra or Quintero that you take out to go walk the dog or mowing the lawn will seem fantastically tasty? personally I gave up going into the reasons that explain this fact!


                      • #12
                        It is good to know that it can happen to get a "bad apple", as Alex says, and that sometimes it just isn't good, for whatever reason (thanks, Smallclub). Also, it is good to know that aging improves this cigar significantly.

                        Whisky77, that you agree, to a point, was unexpected to me at this point .


                        • #13
                          Always interested to hear other people's points of view and the Epi especial is very topical for me as I'm half way through a 50 cab that is currently smoking so well as to make me think "wow!! what a f***ing great cigar!!"..quite unexpected for it's price point