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Hoyo De Monterrey Palmas Extra

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Light up a Hoyo de Monterrey Palmas Extra, taste the wonderful flavors that HDM makes available, think about what you just paid for a cigar of this quality and you’ll ask yourself if you’ve just rubbed a magic lamp and a kind and generous Genie made this all happen.  Probably not, although there are times when I wish it was that easy.  From time to time, if you shop around and make yourself aware of the great deals available, you can find hidden gems in a store that offers Cuban cigars for sale.  This is just what happened a few years back when I went to “The Vancouver Cigar Company” and decided to see what $12 would buy.

I remember tasting my first Palmas from HDM and thinking that it was a great cigar for the money and then I left a few in the back of my humidor and forgot about them.  They were hiding under some Montecristo Edmundos that I was aging so I wasn’t even aware that I still had them.  Being fortunate that my memory is starting to slip only really works out for the better when I stumble across hidden gems like this.

This “Cremas” has a 40 ring gauge and 5 1/2 inches long, making it yet another great cigar to smoke when time doesn’t permit you to enjoy something larger.  An hour is what you’ll get from this cigar but don’t assume that just because it is a bit smaller that you’ll be smoking a milder cigar.  Spicy is going to be the first word that pops into your head as soon as you light this one up.

I’ve been smoking a lot of Romeo y Julietas lately and this morning’s cigar, although having a definite HDM profile, reminded me a bit of the spiciness that you taste in a Romeo.  Of course it wasn’t identical in flavor but this is a cigar that seasoned cigar smokers will enjoy.  Spice, cedar and dark chocolate with subtle hints of strong coffee are the notes that reveal themselves as this cigar burns along.  There was no magic Genie, just a forgotten cigar that aged for a few years .

Hoyo de Monterrey Petit Robusto

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The only reason why the battery is in the picture is to show the size of the cigar.  I saw a friend yesterday who gave me a few of these petit robustos and the first thing that came to mind was how pretty these little guys are.  I’ve always maintained that HDM has one of the most beautiful Cuban cigar bands and matched with this 4 1/8 inch, 50 ring gauge cigar gives you a real visual treat.  I’m a big fan of the Epicure No 2 and the Double Coronas from this brand but this smaller brother of the Epicure does not exactly resemble the former of the two.  Where the Double Corona starts off with mildness, the Petit Robusto seems to behave in the same way but gradually moves into a great medium strength cigar with the same sort of flavor profile that HDM is known for.

This brand has a rich Cuban history, starting in 1865 by Don Jose Gener y Batet, when he acquired one of the finest pieces of land in the Vuelta Abajo and registered the HDM name.  Translating from Spanish to English, this name means “The Hole of Monterrey”, which pertains to the concave land favored by tobacco growers.  Shelter, rich soil and hard work transformed this company into a giant in the Cuban Cigar industry and by 1958 this company produced 13% of all Havana cigar exports.

Something to consider when thinking about ordering a box of these Petit Robustos is the price and how competitive it is for the quality of cigar you are getting.  This is a lunchtime cigar, a middle of the day cigar and one that will give you an impressive glimpse into the history of this prestigious Cuban brand.  I really do believe that we are in the middle of a golden era of Cuban cigar manufacturing and production.  Cuba, although staying relatively steady with cigar sales world wide, seems to be putting an intense effort in insuring that their product climbs ever higher in quality.  This IS the time to be stocking up and aging your favorite Cuban cigar since they are tasting great, even while young, so aging should bring this generation of Cuban cigars phenomenal results.

Hoyo De Monterrey Short Piramides 2011

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Hoyo de Monterrey is one of the Cuban brand of cigars that I love the most. with it’s complex and rich profile that gives you an abundance of flavors that are considered to be the reason why this is one of the biggest success stories in Cuban cigar marketing.  The various sizes from HDM satisfy every cigar smoker’s needs from the stately double coronas, the ever popular Epicure No 2 and now the 2011 introduction of the Hoyo de Monterrey Edicion Limitada Short Hoyo Piramides.

Once again, we are seeing that the world trend in cigar smoking is moving in the direction of the shorter cigar that takes less time to smoke but in this case we’ll be given the pleasure of tasting some of Hoyo de Monterrey’s finest tobacco, aged for at least two years and the wrapper leaves coming from the Tapado which is shade grown black Cuban tobacco.

The dimensions of this short Hoyo Piramides is 5.3 inches and a ring gauge of 46, which should give you an hour of smoking, compared to the longer amount of time it takes to smoke a Montecristo No 2. This year’s Edicion Limitada will be shipped in boxes of 10, which seems to be yet another movement of making the price of a box of Cuban cigars that much more affordable for the consumer.

There’s no question that this is one of my favorite brands from Cuba and I, for one, can’t wait to sample this new introduction to the Hoyo De Monterrey family.

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Hoyo de Monterrey Double Coronas VS Partagas Lusitanias

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When driving through the mountains in Alberta, Canada just outside of the small town of Banff but still well in Canada’s National Park on July 2, 2011, I thought of a great pair of cigars to light up with my friend Tom.  We were driving from Calgary to Vancouver that morning and since we had quite a few hours together in his car that day, I thought that comparing 2 incredible Prominentes from 2 of Cuba’s more well known cigar brands, Hoyo de Monterrey and Partagas.

I clipped and handed the Lusitanias to Tom and I then proceeded to clip the HDM Double Coronas for myself… It was a very even decision concerning which cigars either of us wanted since these 2 cigars both stand proudly in their brand as a popular seller with those who like bigger cigars, these being both a 49 ring gauge and  7.6 inches long…. I knew the next few hours driving down the road would be very entertaining, informative and hugely satisfying.

The first difference I noticed was the draw and that the Lusitanias gave a bit more resistance than the HDM but the Partagas was a year or so newer and slightly more tightly rolled, no problem though.  The first puff from both cigars were not strong at all and almost instantly mellowed and provided a medium strength smoke into the first third… The flavor profile couldn’t have been more different in that the Lusitanias was considerably more of a sweeter smoke at this stage and the Double Coronas from HDM was a woodier profile… Both Tom and myself were trying to identify different flavors in both cigars but it became clear that the more complex profile belonged to the Lusitanias and trying to describe all that we were tasting in that cigar became difficult because of our different palates…

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I smoked the HDM happily for the next few hours and saw the flavors subtly change from third to third as this Prominente proceeded to gain power and strength… The Partagas was equally as entertaining but kept that initial sweetness we noticed for the length of the cigar’s burn… That is what is so marvelous about Partagas, it builds in strength but stays smooth and flavorful without ever getting bitter or hard to smoke… The HDM Double Coronas was one of those cigars that you hated to see burn away because of the elegance of the moment.

Driving in your car down the road gives you the best opportunity to smoke in a controlled environment where time goes easily by and you get a real accurate glimpse of what cigar makers want you to taste… Cars are warm, you have control of how much wind ( if any ) you want and the only danger is dropping ashes on your clothes…. Hey, its only a car!

The Existence Of Plume, Or Bloom, On Your Cigars

A little over a year ago my nephew brought back a few boxes of cigars for me on his trip to Havana.  One was a box of Hoyo de Monterrey Epicure # 2‘s and the other was Partagas Serie D No 4, two of my favorite Robustos.  These cigars looked and tasted great but they tasted a bit young so I’ve been letting them rest in my humidor and mellow in flavor for a while.  A few days back I saw a bit of grayish, slightly bluish, dust on one of the D 4’s and it really did look like a pretty sight.

Plume or Bloom is a fine dust-like powder that is actually crystallized oils from the wrapper leaf that can form if you have cigars that are aging in optimum conditions.  A steady humidity level and constant temperature is key to seeing plume on your cigars but never assume that you’ll see it  right away.. This takes time, sometimes years… Plume is often mistaken for only mould that can creep into the picture if your humidity stays over 75 or higher for a length of time and then you are in trouble.  Sanitizing your humidor with alcohol will be your next move because mould will ruin your cigars..

One easy test to see if your plume ( Bloom ) is mould.  Rub off a bit of the powder, if a stain appears then you have mould.  If the dust easily rubs off and no stain remains then you are in Plume Country and it IS a happy day.  See the picture above to take a look at this fine dust when magnified and notice how it looks like little lamp posts.

Hoyo de Monterrey – Double Coronas

A few years back I found myself standing at the counter of ” The Vancouver Cigar Company” beside a gentleman who was buying a box of Hoyo de Monterrey Double Coronas.  I had also been over to the humidor and had picked 3 HDM Epicure No 2’s, we had something in common.  I asked him if he also enjoyed my pick of the day to which he answered yes but added ” more is better “… I knew he wasn’t commenting about the number of cigars I was about to pay for, it was the size !

That comment stayed with me, so after a few months I went back and picked up a few HDM Double Coronas to see for myself if his statement had any merit.  As always, I found that Trevor keeps a close eye on the humidors in the shop and the DC’s were in beautiful condition… You wouldn’t believe how some shops treat the Cuban cigars they sell, I’ve seen completely dried out cigars with cracked wrappers for sale..  This past summer I’ve even found a shop on the prairies that were selling Punch Coronations that were riddled with little holes…… Think about it ! Buying Cuban cigars from a shop where people CARE about their product makes all the difference.

What I found with this 7.6 inch, 49 ring gauge Prominente was the journey it takes you on from mild creaminess evolving into a nutty sweet coffee then finishing with a spicy beany final third.  This is not a cigar you’d expect would burn quickly, you better have at least 2 hours on your hands in order to give it sufficient attention.  Some consider this DC to be a perfect morning cigar and I have to agree because of it’s gentle approach which never gets harsh in the least.

I still believe that one of the best Cuban Robustos is the HDM Epicure No 2 but if you have a bit more time to enjoy a fabulous DC the Hoyo de Monterrey Double Coronas is what you should experience.