Connoisseur’s Corner: A Hoyo De Monterrey Flirts With Perfection
This collection of aged cigars covers all types of vintages and dimensions. The smokes range from 11 years old all the way to a cigar that's been around for more than five decades; from the ultra-slim Punch Panetelas Grandes (all of 33 ring gauge) to the pleasantly plump Tatuaje RC233—55 ring gauge at its fattest point, with curves like a pinup model. Our highest score, a near-perfect 99 points, went to one of our household favorites, a Hoyo de Monterrey Double Corona from Cuba rolled more than 20 years ago. This stately double corona is smoking beautifully, and the flavor suggests that it can rest for many more years before beginning to decline. Close behind, at 97 points, was the dainty and older Davidoff No. 2, a reminder of when that brand was rolled in Cuba.
Hoyo de Monterrey Double Corona (1995)
A gorgeous cigar that looks like a slab of dark chocolate, made from one of Cuba’s better vintages. The draw is nearly perfect. The cigar yields drier notes to start—slate, minerals and earth—and the leathery core grows more prominent as the cigar turns to ash, with a sweet note of peanuts and French roast coffee. Marvelous, with plenty of structure left for years to come.
Davidoff No. 2 (1990)
A good-looking cigar with a medium-brown wrapper and a pigtail cap. Despite the firm draw, it is full of pleasant flavors, with a creamy profile and a sweet spiciness that smacks of cinnamon. A long, pleasant finish.
—Marvin R. Shanken
Cohiba Siglo IV (1994)
This well-aged, midsize Cohiba has a gorgeous exterior and a perfect draw after 22 years in the humidor. The flavor is austere to start, and after some time it gets sweet and woody, with a faint hint of peppercorn. The smoke takes on a rich, long chocolate finish near the end, a delightful reward.
Punch Panetelas Grandes (circa 1950s)
Plucked from a traditional dress-box of 25, this skinny smoke is subtley box pressed with a slightly rounded head and a reddish wrapper. It has a smooth draw and is rather mild, with a bit of a peppery character along with some pleasant touches of nutmeg.
—Marvin R. Shanken
Romeo y Julieta Exhibición No. 4 cabinet selección (1994)
Decades hibernating in a 50-count cabinet have rounded out the character of this robusto, which is soft, but ample. There are still some visible oils to the otherwise medium-claro wrapper. The cigar finesses the palate with a smoke that’s floral, nutty and sweet before it peaks with a big graham-cracker note that seems to come out of nowhere and lingers for the duration of the cigar.
Tatuaje RC233 (2005)
This immaculate diadema is dressed in a stunning, golden-brown wrapper dotted with oils. It has the faint aroma of fresh-baked cookies and a refined leather note. Spiced cappuccino comes in, and almonds and citrus peel combine at the midpoint to create a creamsicle effect. Eleven years has tempered this once-intense cigar, but it’s still complex, full bodied and burns dead even.