Tasting Notes: Hoyo De Monterrey Palmas Extra

So I am back with another Cuban cigar post, I can’t seem to help myself, even though I picked this baby up at a local shop and paid an inordinate amount of tax in the process. And though I usually tend toward the value end of the market, this Hoyo is a great budget-minded cigar. In the past the Palmas Extra was a machine bunched, hand-finished, mixed fill cigar; the cheapest cigar in standard line of the HdM brand, however when the Cuban tobacco authority(Habanos S.A.) changed the regulations to mandate the Totalmente a Mano standand across all premium lines, the Palmas received a significant upgrade in quality(hand-made, long fill, etc.) that doesn’t seem to be reflected in the price. The format is a FullCetros, 5.5″ long by 39 ring gauge, typical burn time is north of an hour. I prefer the long and skinny formats because the wrapper-binder-filler ratio is skewed to the wrapper where most of the flavour is…

I was fortunate enough to have the pick of a new box, and since I paid a hefty premium to the Crown, I used it to select a very well constructed and beautiful cigar, that sandy Colorado-Cubano wrapper that Hoyo is known for. The smell was of a drying shed after the rain, slightly dank Cuban tobacco(which smells like heaven to me), and the humidity was just right, it was ready to smoke. My only regret was I didn’t check the box-code…

The bite felt firm at the shoulder but with just the right kind of give, it felt like how a luxury-crafted cigar should. I cut a perfect channel-cut into it with my finger-nails, I couldn’t take the chance of destroying that beautiful shoulder with a missed-cut. The dry draw was reminiscent of a wood-shop, sawdust, cedar…

The initial draw was toasty, and immediately woody, the finish was plainly spicy but not in a tarry way.  The first third was definitely mild, the Hoyo-esque, flavours were easy to separate from the Cuban tobacco tones. I could taste a certain funk, that was to me reminiscent of American tobacco, or at least what Marlboro and Camel wish their tobacco tasted like…

The second-third, brought in some earthen tones, to the cedar and dry spice, not black-earth, but a parched, dead-of-summer earth. a note here and there of leather and hay. This cigar was unmistakably a premium Cuban cigar, even if I had spent twice as much as I actually did on it I would feel like it was worth it…

The bridge into the bottom third was notable for the sudden appearance of floral tones, and my need to leave for a minute, to go talk to man about a horse, so-to-speak…When I returned, however I was greeted with a cigar that had filled out to a solid medium strength, the spice tones finally lost their ethereal nature and were buttressed finally with the black pepper undertones of HdM’s Epicure line. The satisfying tingle I could feel on the inside of my lips and cheeks stands as a testament to the kind of experience this cigar was, from start-to-burning-my-fingers-finish.

I’ve surely said it before, but I’ll continue to say it again; when you smoke a good Cuban cigar it is akin to a religious experience, or maybe that’s just a new-world thing…

 

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