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In 2000, Habanos S.A. released the first of what would become an annual series of cigars, a number of which have become some of the most sought after creations to hail from the tiny island. Since its debut that year, the Edición Limitada Series has consisted of a specific number of non-standard production vitolas for various brands, but there have been changes. While the releases from 2000-2006 were rolled with wrappers that had been aged for two years and were taken from the higher primings, all of the tobacco—including the wrapper, filler and binder—for the cigars in the series since 2007 has been aged for at least two years.

In addition, each of the cigars released under the Edición Limitada Series features two bands: a main band with that specific brand’s logo and a secondary band that includes the Edición Limitada moniker and the year the cigar was released. However, while the main band for cigars in the series is typically a standard production band for whatever brand is being released, there have been examples of releases using a brand new main bands that were produced for that specific cigar, including the Hoyo de Monterrey Grand Epicure Edición Limitada in 2013.

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With seven different releases, Hoyo de Monterrey was one of the most popular marcas in the Edición Limitada program during the first 13 years of its existence, although there has not been a release in the series for the brand since 2013:

There were three Edición Limitadas released for 2007:

  • Hoyo de Monterrey Regalos (EL 2007)
  • Romeo y Julieta Escudos (EL 2007)
  • Trinidad Ingenios (EL 2007)

The Hoyo de Monterrey Regalos—the name translates to present from Spanish—is a 5 3/8 x 46 corona extra packaged in 25-count unvarnished slide top boxes. Interestingly, while it is true that this exact combination of 137mm x 46 and vitola had not been produced in the Hoyo de Monterrey marca before, the brand did have a release that was discontinued in the 1970s named the Obsequios that measured the same size, albeit in a perfecto shape.

Although exact production numbers have never been confirmed, a press release from Habanos S.A. indicates that the Regalos was “manufactured in small quantities.”

 

While not one of the most attractive cigars I have seen recently, the Hoyo de Monterrey Regalos still has its charm with a milk chocolate brown cover leaf that is totally devoid of oil. The cigar is extremely rustic to the touch and it is hard to miss a massive vein running down the bottom half where it ends close to the foot. Aroma from the wrapper and foot include a strong orange cream citrus, leather, cinnamon, earth, dark chocolate and vanilla, while the cold draw brings flavors of spiced apple tea, cinnamon sticks, orange rind, earth, peanuts and creamy leather.

The Hoyo de Monterrey Regalos starts off immediately with a very interesting dominant combination of cinnamon sticks and dark chocolate, interspersed with notes of oak, freshly roasted espresso beans, leather, earth and creamy almonds. There is also a massive salted caramel sweetness on the retohale that combines nicely with some slight white pepper, but no spice at all. Both the burn and draw are excellent so far after a simple straight cut, and the overall strength does not even sniff the medium mark by the end of the first third.

 

The Regalos seems to be hitting on all cylinders as the second third begins, thanks in no small part to the continued dominance of the cinnamon sticks and dark chocolate combination, which does not seem to be losing its strength anytime soon. Other less distinct flavors of espresso beans, creamy almonds, hay, earth and cocoa nibs flit in and out on the palate and finish while the retrohale seems to sing with the same salted caramel sweetness from the first third, albeit with a bit less white pepper. Construction-wise, both the burn and draw continue to impress, while the strength increases enough for me to take notice by the time the final third begins.

 

Interestingly, the dominant flavors on the palate shift a bit during the final third of the Hoyo de Monterrey: while the overt cinnamon stick note remains, the dark chocolate flavor wanes enough to be replaced by a much stronger espresso bean bitterness, although the new combination is still extremely enjoyable. The rest of the profile is full of almonds, dried tea leaves, earth, oak, hay and cloves, while the salted caramel sweetness on the retrohale continues to increase the complexity overall. While the draw is giving me no issues whatsoever, the burn has begun to run enough that I have to touch it up twice in a row, although it is fine after that until the end of the cigar. Strength-wise, the Regalos does come close the medium mark by the time I put down the cigar with a bit more than an inch to go, but never seriously threatens to go over.

 

Final Notes

  • Hoyo de Monterrey has the only Edición Limitada cigar to be slated for release in consecutive years: the Particulares, a 9 1/4 x 47 gran corona that was packaged in dress boxes containing five cigars in separate coffins. The first release of the Particulares was in the program’s inaugural year of 2000, and while the same cigar was announced as a 2001 release the next year, that version—along with the other four releases in the series that year—did not actually ship until 2002.
  • While first releases in the Edición Limitada Series in 2000 had black and gold secondary bands with the words Edición Limitada printed on them, there was no year indicated. That changed starting in 2001, when the relevant date was added underneath the Edición Limitada line, a practice that has continued ever since.
  • Although the spiced apple and cinnamon combination was quite prevalent in the cold draw of two of the samples, the apple note was nowhere to be found in the actual profile, replaced by a much more dominant cinnamon flavor.
  • It has been a while since I have reviewed a cigar that needed multiple relights, and interestingly, the wrapper on that particular sample seemed to be noticeably thicker than the other two, at least to my eye.
  • Editor’s Note: The difference in points between the first sample and the other two samples was roughly 15 points.
  • We were unable to confirm the box code(s) for these particular samples.
  • The cigars smoked for this review were purchased by halfwheel; we paid $115 for five.
  • Final smoking time for all three samples averaged one hour and 19 minutes.
86 Overall Score

After multiple relights, an uninspired profile and a persistent—albeit never overwhelming—bitterness on the finish, the first sample I smoked had me very worried what I would experience with the last two sticks. Thankfully, my fears were unfounded, as both of the remaining Hoyo de Monterrey Regalos cigars were excellent in just about every way: a wonderful combination of strong cinnamon and dark chocolate that shifts to cinnamon and espresso beans in the final third, combined with some extremely distinct salted caramel sweetness and white pepper on the retrohale that had no issues keeping up until the end of the cigar. Due to the extremely problematic issues with the first sample, the final score does not even come close to telling the whole story about this cigar, but at its best the Regalos is one of the best aged Cuban cigars I have smoked in a very long time.

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Brooks Whittington
About the author

I have been smoking cigars for over eight years. A documentary wedding photographer by trade, I spent seven years as a photojournalist for the Dallas Morning News and the Fort Worth Star Telegram. I started the cigar blog SmokingStogie in 2008 after realizing that there was a need for a cigar blog with better photographs and more in-depth information about each release. SmokingStogie quickly became one of the more influential cigar blogs on the internet, known for reviewing preproduction, prerelease, rare, extremely hard-to-find and expensive cigars. I am a co-founder of halfwheel and now serve as an editor for halfwheel.

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