March 26, 2016

PRE-RELEASE REVIEW: Hoyo Robusto (5 x 54)

Video review HERE.

General Cigar will launch a new version of Hoyo de Monterrey exclusively for brick and mortar retailers. The new collection called Hoyo will be available in four sizes ranging in price from $5.49 to $6.99 and begins shipping to all retailers on April 1.

According to Alan Willner, vice president of marketing, “We’re taking the legendary brand Hoyo de Monterrey and moving it into the future. The new Hoyo is about keeping the brand’s rich history of Honduran craftsmanship and infusing it with new ideas, new tobacco and new packaging.”

Hoyo was inspired by Hoyo Edición de Cumpleaños 150, a successful, limited edition cigar released last year. Hoyo 150th anniversary took the first step toward breaking the conventions of the brand by featuring a new variety of Nicaraguan tobacco, a shade-grown wrapper never used before in any other cigar. With sleek new packaging and a contemporary logo, Hoyo Edición de Cumpleaños 150 represented a new wave of the brand.

Hoyo begins with a proprietary wrapper called Esteli Habano Shade. Cultivated by the Plasencia Group exclusively for Hoyo, it is the first Cuban-seed, shade-grown wrapper, and is also one of the heaviest wrappers used in premium cigars. The Plasencias use special cultural practices to deliver a thick, pliable leaf with bold, peppery flavor. Given the power of the leaf, the Hoyo blending team chose to apply increased fermentation, taking place over two years, to bring deeper dimension to its taste.

The blend consists of three different tobaccos – a Pennsylvania Ligero, plus Nicaraguan Esteli and Nicaraguan Ometepe leaves. Each of the filler leaves was aged for more than 18 months. The Pennsylvania ligero is a powerhouse, balanced by aged Ometepe leaves. The Esteli leaves lend a familiar earthy flavor that increases the cigar’s complexity.

An aged Ecuadoran Sumatra binder lends great combustibility and ensures an even burn.

Each of the four vitolas will be packaged in sleek, 20-count black boxes with silver branding elements. They are:

Gigante (6” x 60) – SRP per cigar is $6.99

Toro (6” x 50) – SRP per cigar is $6.79

Robusto (5” x 54) – SRP per cigar is $6.59

Rothschild (4.5” x 50) – SRP per cigar is $5.49

Wrapper: Esteli Habano Shade
Binder: Ecuadoran Sumatra
Filler: Pennsylvania Ligero, Nicaraguan Esteli and Nicaraguan Ometepe

The cigar is very dark and oily. It has a nice feel in the hand.

The test draw after cutting the cap was very good. The initial flavors at light up were cedar, black licorice, espresso, leather, and black pepper rated at an 8. There seems to be a cream-like flavor mixed in with the cedar and licorice. The cigar is heavy on the espresso and leather. The leather is an old leather, not a newly tanned flavor. The sweet aspects seem to tone down the darker notes somewhat.

About 3/4 inch in the flavors have changed. There are still massive amounts of espresso and leather. The black licorice notes  have gone away but they were replaced with a buttery brown sugar which goes along nicely with the cedar. The finish is a cream flavor with leather aspects. There is quite a bit of lingering black pepper. The cigar is pretty much full bodied out of the gate. It's a low level full bodied.

2 inches in the leather notes have toned down a little, along with the espresso. The sweet, buttery cedar and brown sugar has risen to the forefront. The pepper continues to be very good on both ends. The cigar has settled down to a nice mix.

The cigar ended pretty consistent from the last segment with the exception of the leather moving upward a little. The cigar ended at a low level full bodied. The finish did not change much. The pepper remained very good on both ends. This new Hoyo has been a nice cigar with a good mix of sweet and dark notes. I enjoyed this cigar.

Score: 92

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