One of Cuba's relatively newer cigars is also one that is smoking beautifully right now. The Hoyo de Monterrey Epicure Especial was introduced to the main Cuban cigar portfolio at the Habanos Festival in 2008.
The idea was to give the aficionado more, building on the success of the iconic Hoyo Epicure No. 2, a robusto measuring 4 7/8 inches long by 50 ring. The Epicure Especial, offering another 5/8 of an inch of smoking pleasure, was previously teased an Edición Limitada in 2004.
We had mixed feelings about the smoke when it was an EL, giving it scores of 85 and 90 points, but we have always been impressed by the regular production smoke, rating it several times between 89 and 94 points.
We have been most wowed by the version packed in a tube. Most Cuban cigars come in boxes, but if you want the tubed variety of this Hoyo, it is offered only in three packs, making it somewhat peculiar in the Habanos portfolio.
The cigar is very, very rich, with varied notes that include coffee, earth and cocoa powder, and a touch of graham cracker. It's complex, but not too strong, making it a very approachable Cuban.