It’s a big deal when Cuba creates a Gran Reserva. These cigars are sold for dear prices, are made in limited quantities and are rolled with tobaccos aged far longer than tobacco that goes into a standard cigar. The smokes are prized by collectors.
Last night in Havana, Cuba threw a party celebrating the debut of the latest Gran Reserva, the Hoyo de Monterrey Double Corona Gran Reserva Cosecha 2013. It’s expected to be on sale later this year, or perhaps in early 2020.
The Hoyo de Monterrey brand takes its name from a famous Cuban farm of the same name, located in San Juan y Martínez in Vuelta Abajo, Cuba’s finest tobacco-producing region. The night was filled with references to the tobacco where Cuban cigars are born. There were people on stilts—stilts are used in tobacco fields to help drape the canopies of shade over the plants—and dancers wearing tapado, the shade material itself. The imagery of farms was everywhere.
The cigar itself will be a rarity, made in limited quantities. There will be only 5,000 boxes of 15 sold. There was no mention of price, but Gran Reservas are always quite expensive.
There have only been five Gran Reservas in the history of the program, and this is the first Hoyo to wear the silver-and-black Gran Reserva label. (The Hoyo de Monterrey Epicure No. 2 Reserva, released in 2016, was part of the Reserva program, meaning it used slightly younger tobaccos.)
Last night’s party guests were each given a sampler box containing two of the prized cigars. I lit one this morning, and smoked it in the comfort of the lounge at the Casa del Habano at the Melia Cohiba Hotel, paired with a cup of strong espresso.
The cigar was rolled beautifully, with near-perfect construction. The draw was a delight—not tight, not too loose—and the burn was razor sharp and dead even, just what you want in a cigar. It was easy going at first, but like all great cigars it improved markedly as I smoked it, gaining power about 1 inch in and blossoming into a flavor bomb at about the 2-inch mark.
Cuba says the cigar is made with tobacco from the 2013 crop, which was a good one. That doesn’t mean the cigar was rolled that long ago however. These are fairly fresh, and this is a cigar that will smoke better in six months, better still in a year.
Regular Hoyo Double Coronas are legendary smokes—in the opinion of many, the best of Cuba’s double coronas. And Gran Reservas have done well in our ratings. Those two facts make this cigar one that will be coveted, and one that’s likely to do well when it hits the market.