The dimly lit street leading into Club Habana was lined with men in suits and women in fancy dresses. A light show played across the facade announcing Habanos S.A.'s new cigars for 2014. One of them was the Le Hoyo de San Juan, an additional size for Hoyo de Monterrey Serie Le Hoyo—a sub-series in the Hoyo de Monterrey brand.
The announcement came at the 2014 Festival del Habano, the annual cigar event held each year in Havana. The cigar finally began to reach some markets in late summer and early fall, but some places, like Mexico, are still awaiting their first shipment. A Habanos spokesperson confirmed that many markets, including Spain, have received the cigar, but others have not.
In the United Kingdom, the La Casa del Habano there received the cigar a few months ago. The reception has been strong, according to Ajay Patel who operates the shop. He said the cigar retails for £21.91, or about $37, and has shown strong quality control—good draws and burns.
The cigar was rated in the September 23 Cigar Insider, scoring 89 points in a blind tasting. The panel noted that it was earthy and floral, with a creamy texture and notes of wood and leather.
According to Habanos, the cigar contains seco and ligero tobacco from San Juan y Martinez, one of Cuba's premier growing regions. At 6 inches by 54 ring gauge, it is the largest size ever produced in this line. Most Le Hoyos previously have been panetela or corona ring size and packed (unbanded, years ago) cabinet-style in slide-lid boxes, or SLBs. The Le Hoyo de San Juan comes in 25-count and 10-count SLBs.
The cigar also carries the new distinctive red, white and gold Hoyo de Monterrey band; inside the box of 25, the cigars are bundled with a white ribbon identifying them as Serie Le Hoyo cigars and, specifically, imprinted with Le Hoyo de San Juan. The cigar is made at a single factory, rather than at a number of different factories throughout Cuba, but Habanos refused to confirm which factory is responsible for this cigar.
Christoph Wolters, at Hamburg, Germany's La Casa del Habano, received his first shipment four weeks ago. He reports a favorable response from his clientele and is glad to see the bigger size in the Le Hoyo line. In Germany the cigars sell for about 14 euros ($18) apiece.
In Mexico, Max Gutmann, who owns the Habanos cigar franchise there, said he is expecting his country's shipment in the next two weeks, but he has already smoked some. He said he loves the bigger size, but warns, "as long as you have the time to smoke it."