Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Hoyo de Monterrey Dark sumatra

Up for review we’ve got the Hoyo de Monterrey Dark Sumatra.


Blended by: Estelo Padrón
Size: 5.7 X 54
Shape: Media Noche
Origin: Honduras
Body: Medium
Flavor: Full
Wrapper: Equadoran Sumatra
Binder: Connecticut Broadleaf
Filler: Honduran and Dominican
Rocky’s Price: $7.29 for single, $110.31 per box

First off, I love this cigar. Let’s get through the pre-smoking evaluations quickly.

The presentation of the cigar is very nice: three bands and a cedar sleeve. The wrapper is dark and lovely with a light sheen that doesn’t quite qualify as shiny. It has an excellent toothy feel and look to it with an excellent aroma to boot. Chocolate and earth dominate the pre-light aroma with just a hint of manure. The construction is very firm with very little, if any, give. When rolled between the fingers, the wrapper crinkles just slightly. The cut was smooth with only a crumb or two needing to be brushed away before testing the draw. Pre-light draw is wide open with some dominant fruity notes. The flavor reminds me of raisins or dates, which I never tasted in the smoke.

On to the smoke!

Lighting turned out to be no problem, easy and even and delicious! The first flavors I experienced were spice, dark chocolate, earth and caramel. An excellent start! I also tasted something that I could not define, which I will refer to as “mystery” from here on out.

The first quarter of the cigar continued with the flavors I tasted on first light, but I spent the entirety of it experiencing something I rarely have the joy of experiencing with tobacco: image. I’ve only experienced this twice, once with Chelsea Morning (a pipe tobacco blend), and once with Dark Sumatra.

While doing some reading about tobacco recently, I discovered an article by G.L. Pease, an artisanal pipe tobacco blender, about how smell is the sense that is most closely tied to memory. I’ve also seen this at and found it intriguing. Since taste and smell are so closely related, they inform each other of the experience one sense is having and, sometimes, this experience conjures memories and images. The Dark Sumatra gave me one such experience.

I don’t know how many of you folks out there like to get outdoors to hike, camp, fish, etc., but I for one am a born hiker and camper. I love to get outdoors away from the sounds of the city to enjoy the sensual experience which they provide. A stream flowing past your path or through your toes while the sun warms your shoulders and the wind sways the trees. The smell of earth all around you bringing a sense of peace and calm, wholeness and oneness. This is the memory that Dark Sumatra conjured up for me.

I remained lost in this visual memory for quite some time as I smoked this cigar, enjoying the consistent chocolate, earth, and coffee notes as they danced around my palate while my feet remained in the stream and the sound of the wind rustling the trees filled my ears. I could almost feel the cool air on my skin and the warm sun on my face. The smoke is cool and it fills my mouth and nostrils like fresh, crisp air.

In reality, I was seated in a chair at Rocky’s with the TV on, folks talking around me, and Buddha, Mike, or Dave going to and from the humidor, but I was barely there.

I remained lost in this stupor as the cigar developed in body and flavor, transforming into coffee with chocolate cream. The spice pulled way back into the background as I sat on the bank of the stream sipping my coffee with chocolate cream, fresh and steaming from the pot I’d set on the morning camp fire. The quality of the smoke developed a subtle creaminess about it that only highlighted the memory and images that were playing out for me. All the while, the taste of mystery never left the cigar, keeping me entranced in the images.

I hardly even noticed when I began to get to the end of the cigar, only realizing it because I began to taste a slight bitterness, which put a crack in my memoryscape and brought me back to the room. I enjoyed the finish of the cigar, even though the taste of mystery had vanished as bitterness took its place. Even though a bitter note stepped in, everything else that made the cigar amazing remained, sweet chocolate now in the background, coffee now sharing the foreground with earthy notes. By the time I set down the nub, I felt a supreme sense of satisfaction and quickly dove into the humidor to buy another.

To summarize, this cigar has that rare quality that you seldom find in any tobacco product: magic. This cigar is drastically underpriced in my opinion. I don’t generally like to tell people what to buy, as I really think it should be up to you whether or not you do. I like to share my experience and hope that it informs your decision making. In this case, I highly recommend picking up a box. Maybe two.


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