One of the iconic Robusto cigars, the Hoyo de Monterrey Epicure No 2 is complex yet smooth and offers a sophisticated smoke without too much heaviness.
Before we go through the details in our review of the Epicure No 2, here’s a bit of background on this much loved brand of Cubans.
Swiss Cuban Cigars reviews | the Epicure No 2 from Hoyo de Monterrey
Hoyo de Monterrey is a Cuban cigar brand synonymous with quality and the finest tobacco. Owned by Habanos SA, which is the state-owned tobacco company in Cuba, the Hoyo de Monterrey brand is consistently up there among the favourites for cigar smokers.
All the way back in 1831, a young Spanish boy called Don Jose Gener y Batet landed in Cuba. At the age of 13, he started work on a tobacco plantation in Vuelta Abajo, which is one of the five tobacco regions in the country.
By the 1850s, Jose Gener had decided his future lay in Cuban cigars and he started his own factory in Havana. The first line of cigars produced was called La Escepcion, and he was immediately successful.
Using the profits from his Havana factory, Jose Gener acquired one of the finest farms in the best growing area – Vuelta Abajo.
The birth of Hoyo de Monterrey as a brand
That’s the background leading up to Jose Gener giving his brand a name: Hoyo de Monterrey. This translates as “the hole of Monterrey”, which derives from the kind of terrain that premium tobacco farmers prefer.
Very quickly, the Hoyo de Monterrey brand of cigars became very popular, particularly with the well off customers in Great Britain. Their patronage helped the factory to become of the biggest in Cuba.
Jose Gener died in 1900, but the family remained under his daughter’s leadership for the next 30 years.
Growing in popularity during the 1950s in pre revolutionary Cuba
In 1931, Fernandez, Palicio y Cia bought the brand from the Geners. They also bought the original La Escepcion brand from the family and brought them into their existing range.
By the 1940s, demand was increasing and the factory produced the Le Hoyo series of Cuban cigars specifically for the Swiss Cuban Cigar distributor A. Durr Co. And while half of the partnership, Ramon Fernandez, died soon after, the remaining owner Fernando Palicio continued to grow the brand. By 1958,13% of all Havana cigar exports came from his lines.
It wasn’t to last much longer as Palicio fled the country when the Revolution broke out. Safely ensconced in Florida, he then sold all of his cigar brands to the Villazon family, who continued to make the same high quality Hoyo de Monterrey specifically for the American market.
Back in revolutionary Cuba, the Government nationalised all the manufacturers of Cuban cigars in 1959. Hoyo de Monterrey continued to be produced in Cuba as well, and today is one of the best known and most loved Cuban cigar brands in the world.
The Epicure No 2 is very popular with cigar aficionados
Cigar connoisseurs regularly tout the Epicure No 2 as a big favourite. It has a ring gauge of 50 and is 124mm (4.7 inches) and is part of the Epicure line of cigars from Hoyo de Monterrey.
The other cigars in this range are the Epicure Delux (Petit Robusto), the Epicure Especial (Toro) and the Epicure No 1 (Toro). And when it comes to flavour and smokability, there are a number of reasons why the Epicure No 2 consistently ranks as one of the most popular Cuban cigars around the world.
Hand rolled using the finest tobacco that can be found in the best growing region in Cuba, perhaps it’s not surprising to find out how much it’s liked. Flawless construction with a double band also adds to its elegance, and hits the mark for aesthetics.
But it’s all in the flavour. When you smoke a Hoyo de Monterrey Epicure No 2 you can expect a very smooth and pleasantly enjoyable smoke undercut with a robust taste.
While the flavour is stronger than some other Cuban cigars, it’s not at all over powering, instead finding a very balanced flavour profile. You can definitely taste the notes of dried fruit, cinnamon and cocoa through the creamy smoke.
A quick but satisfying smoking experience
The Epicure No 2 can be smoked well straight away, even when the tobacco leaves are young. However, we’d always suggest storing it in your humidor at least for a while.
It’s a popular choice with aficionados, and is great for cigar novices to give a fine cigar a go. They will quickly discover just how complex a Cuban cigar can be, when made from the finest leaves.
Even when the leaves are young it has an even combustion – although it’s best left stored in a humidor for a while. The Hoyo de Monterrey is a cigar for seasoned smokers, however, novices are encouraged to give it a try to see just how complex and flavoursome a fine cigar can be.
As we’ve seen the Epicure No 2 remains one of the most popular Robustos from Cuba. The variety of flavours and relative accessibility of the flavour profile work in its favour.
It takes around 45 minutes to smoke a Hoyo de Monterrey Epicure No 2, making it a fast yet very smooth smoke. If you’ve never tried an Epicure No 2, you should give it a try. You may be surprised how delicately complex a fine cigar can be. As it’s a wider ring gauge than lots of other Cuban cigars, when you draw in the smoke it’s cooler and smoother than those with smaller gauges.
Of course, because it’s a wide Cuban, it also feels great in the hand and is ideal for special occasions as well as quick but sophisticated smoke breaks. Ideal, in fact, when you need a bit of headspace and are looking for a way to relax.
SwissCubanCigars.com is the largest online retailer of authentic Cuban cigars on the Internet. We sell a wide variety of high-grade Cuban cigar brands, complete with authenticity marks that can be checked on the official Habanos SA site.