Review: Hoyo de Monterrey Short Hoyo Pirámides (EL 2011)

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At the end of 2011, Habanos S.A. released its 11th collection of Edición Limitadas, a trio of cigars from Cohiba, Ramon Allones and Hoyo de Monterrey:

  • Cohiba Cohiba 1966 — Double Robusto (6 1/2 x 52)
  • Ramón Allones Allones Extra — Corona (5 3/5 x 46)
  • Hoyo de Monterrey Short Hoyo Pirámides — Petit Pyramid (5 3/5 x 44)

The Hoyo de Monterrey was the first of the three cigars released, with Habanos S.A. announcing its forthcoming release on August 22, 2011. In the press release about the Short Hoyo Pirámides, Habanos S.A. describes it as a cigar, “for those who adore milder yet aromatic-complex cigars, or just for those who still are in a rookie league within the extraordinary world of habanos, the new Short Hoyo Pirámides is the perfect choice.”

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The Short Hoyo Pirámides is the sixth Hoyo de Monterrey Edición Limitada since the series started in 2000:

  • 2000 – Particulares — Gran Corona (9 1/4 x 47)
  • 2001 – Particulares — Gran Corona (9 1/4 x 47)
  • 2003 – Pirámide — Pyramid (6 3/20 x 52)
  • 2004 – Epicure Especial — Robusto Extra (4 9/10 x 50)
  • 2007 – Regalos — Corona Extra (5 2/5 x 46)

Response to the Edición Limitada line has been strong since debuting in 2000, though there are a good number of cigar smokers who consider the line to be nothing more than a way to raise prices without raising quality. While the tobacco has been aged for two years, it has not produced a science for producing great cigars. Similarly sized Hoyo de Monterrey cigars tend to sell for $7–8, so in this case it’s almost a 200% markup from their standard line.

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Here is what the 10 count boxes of the Short Hoyo Pirámides look like:

Hoyo de Monterrey Short Hoyo Pirámides Edición Limitada 2011 Box 1

Hoyo de Monterrey Short Hoyo Pirámides Edición Limitada 2011 Box 2

Hoyo de Monterrey Short Hoyo Pirámides Edición Limitada 2011 Box 3

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But enough about money, let’s light this stick up.

Hoyo de Monterrey Short Hoyo Pirámides Edición Limitada 2011 1

  • Cigar Reviewed: Hoyo de Monterrey Short Hoyo Pirámides Edición Limitada 2011
  • Country of Origin: Cuba
  • Factory: Miguel Fernández Roig
  • Wrapper: Cuba (Vuelta Abajo)
  • Binder: Cuba (Vuelta Abajo)
  • Filler: Cuba (Vuelta Abajo)
  • Size: 5 3/10 Inches
  • Ring Gauge: 46
  • Vitola: Petit Pyramid (Forum)
  • MSRP: $13.80 (Boxes of 10, $138.00)
  • Release Date: August 2011
    Number of Cigars Released: n/a
  • Number of Cigars Smoked for Review: 3

The first thing that comes to mind from the prelight aroma is buttery popcorn, which is followed by a peppery under note of wood and toast, a very alluring and enjoyable smell to say the least. The cold draw of the Hoyo is fairly easy with the typical bit of firmness associated with the Pirámides vitola. Its Cuban wrapper is toothy and has a number of small veins tracing up and down its length.

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The early notes of the cigar evoke memories of a salty pretzel, though the saltiness fades away quickly to leave a very pleasant doughy note. The draw is just the slightest bit labored, though again this isn’t a surprise given the shape. Before the end of the first third, the doughy note turns to a drier, woodier note that turns the body of the Hoyo de Monterrey from soft and fluffy to drier and robust. Varying degrees of spice come out in the first third however although  one cigar shows hardly any, while the next cigar shows a fair amount.

Hoyo de Monterrey Short Hoyo Pirámides Edición Limitada 2011 2

Not too far into the second third, the Hoyo de Monterrey unleashes a pepper bomb that explodes in the nose and leaves a good bit of fallout on the palate. It’s a quick strike, though as the pepper dissipates within just a few puffs and the doughy note of the first third returns with just a faint hint of the wood in the smoke. The ash has held on fairly well to this point, nearing three quarters of an inch each time before dropping off.

Hoyo de Monterrey Short Hoyo Pirámides Edición Limitada 2011 3

A distinctive flavor and aroma switch to grilled pork kicks off the final third, and if I didn’t know better, I’d swear my downstairs neighbor was grilling something up. The pepper kicks up a bit as well in the final third, providing a great finish to a fairly complex cigar.

Hoyo de Monterrey Short Hoyo Pirámides Edición Limitada 2011 4

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Final Notes:

  • For being a still relatively young cigar, this has a lot of promise. Maybe it’s just in a great sweet spot right now, but each of the three Short Hoyos I smoked were flavorful and smooth without a single note of harshness.
  • The Hoyo de Monterrey Double Corona is one of my favorite cigars, and I’ve consistently enjoyed the flavor profile that nearly the entire line delivers. The EL 2011 is no exception: medium to medium-plus in strength, a good bit of complexity, and a clean finish all make for a winning cigar in my book.
  • The 10 count box is also a great call on these, I’ve been advocating for smaller box counts for some time, as they make box purchases a bit more accessible. Also, if it turns out the cigars don’t hold up well over time, you’re not stuck with as many cigars that you no longer want.
  • While the Short Hoyo Pirámides puts out a good amount of smoke when you draw on it, it puts out little to no smoke when it’s resting, though it stays burning the whole time. I only had to give one of the three cigars smoked a quick relight.
  • This flavor profile is right up my alley: medium-plus, smokeable any time of the day, not too strong, not too mild, some nice flavor changes, a solid bit of pepper, pretty much everything I could ask for in a cigar.
  • Final smoking time was around 1 hour 30 minutes, though after the first one I slowed down with the other two to really enjoy the flavors and changes.

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The Bottom Line: While the Cohiba 1966 has gotten the bulk of the attention so far, there is a lot to love about the Hoyo de Monterrey Short Hoyo Pirámides Edición Limitada 2011. The pepper in the second third is a bit surprising given the sales pitch of being a cigar for newbies and fans of mild cigars, yet it’s also a fitting introduction to the flavor range that a great cigar can put forth. The salty start is a bit of a turnoff, and I could see it being a turnoff for those newbies, but sticking with it pays great dividends in terms of flavor and complexity. I hate to think of these going through a sick period and losing some of the great flavors that are present right now, but the thought of what these will evolve into with time is also very appealing. The only remaining issue is the price. These are about $2.00 per cigar more than the 7 3/5 x 49 Double Corona, making for an interesting comparison of two cigars I really like. It’s hard to say I‘d go wrong with either one, but it’s hard to also overlook that I’d get a lot more cigar for my money with the Double Corona. Either way, both will have a spot in my humidor for some time.

Final Score: 92

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Patrick Lagreid
About the author

I strive to capture the essence of a cigar and the people behind them in my work – every cigar you light up is the culmination of the work of countless people and often represents generations of struggle and stories. For me, it’s about so much more than the cigar – it’s about the story behind it, the experience of enjoying the work of artisans and the way that a good cigar can bring people together. In addition to my work with halfwheel, I’m the public address announcer for the Colorado Rockies and Arizona Diamondbacks during spring training, as well as for the Salt River Rafters of the Arizona Fall League, the WNBA's Phoenix Mercury and the Arizona Rattlers of the Indoor Football League. I also work in a number of roles for MLB.com, plus I'm a voice over artist. I previously covered the Phoenix and national cigar scene for Examiner.com, and was an editor for Cigar Snob magazine.

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