I couldn’t believe my luck when i was told by the lovely people of The Havana Club, Concorde Hotel that there were a couple of Hoyo de Monterrey’s Epicure No. 2s being sold at a 25% discount. Apparently, these fresh, and unsmoked cigars had small defect in the wrapper that led to them being returned by a buyer. I’ve been assured that this happens extremely rarely – quality control at The Havana Club is extremely tight. And even when it does happen, the management will exchange the damaged cigars at no cost to the buyer. Rare as the occasion is, it gave me a chance to get my hands of these very thought of cigars at an affordable price. Immediately, i snapped up the 3 cigars on offer at RM135 for the lot. One in particular had its wrapper slightly torn up at its tip. I decided that this would be the one i smoked first, while the other two would be kept for aging purposes.

Hoyo de Monterrey is a little valley place in the Vuelta Abajo, the supreme fertile site for growing tobacco. This island cigar brand was established by Jose Gener in 1867, so this tobacco factory is one of the oldest cigar brands of Cuba. The brand offers a lighter flavour and a wide range of sizes, the largest of which are much celebrated.

The scent test was pure bliss. A mild, smooth scent emanates from this cigar – intoxicatingly addictive. From end to end, the wrapper is an absolute beauty: dark, oily and easy to the touch. Its external build quality strongly suggests that this cigar is going to be a joy from start to finish.

It lights up well – a few quick twirls under relentless torch flames brings this robusto to life. And, what a life! Thick, swirling smoke billows with each draw. Flavourful, rich and extremely creamy, the Epicure No. 2 deserves every award, every applause it has received. The flavour is distinctively dark cocoa with a smooth serving of light spice and tobacco. Marvelously pleasing to the palate.

Verdict: Need i say more: it easily finds a top spot in my “Must Have (Again)” list. The best cigar that i’ve had the pleasure to enjoy so far in my short experience with cigars. Wonderful build quality, superb draw, thick, flavourful smoke without being too strong or spicy. It was sad to have to finish it, just a short 45 minutes after it first lit.