Le Hoyo de San Juan Reaches World Markets

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."

"While not necessarily a fan of the bigger ring gauge, this is a very nice cigar with a nice floral and honey backbone. Because of its size and girth, set aside enough time to enjoy. If you shop around, you can find these are a reasonable price. My recent purchase of 3x5 boxes came out to less than $11 a stick. " —March 17, 2017 14:38 PM
"I smoked a Le Hoyo de San Juan this week and an Aging Room F55 about a month ago. The Hoyo is way, way better for my taste. The CA-rating is relative. In my opinion, the Davidoff Toro Nicaragua (rated 95) is an amazing cigar, while the F55 (also 95 points) is terrible. I think besides reading reviews, we should also "rate" the cigars ourselves, according to our taste." —June 27, 2015 22:21 PM
"Michael, The F55 was a lame duck. Only someone used to "American" cigars, who mostly smokes them, would feel this way. CA rates non-Cubans highly, I suspect, because of the advertising revenue. I have smoked many non-Cubans and only a very few come close to measuring up. If you're going for the slightly bitter taste of an F55 you're better off buying a New World." —June 3, 2015 12:11 PM
"As they say, there is no accounting for taste. I don't do with CA ratings, as I find that to my taste a good Cuban cigar will be always superior to any highly rated no Cubans. At least taste wise. I smoked Opus Xs, Padrons, Davidiffs, you name it, don't do it for me. I still smoke them occasionally just to compare. And the price is much higher than $18." —October 31, 2014 03:51 AM
"Wtih all due respect, when I can purchase a cigar in the USA that is rated number two in the CA annual ratings with a score of 95. Aging Room F55 for $8.00 a cigar, makes my point. Granted I have not tried the Le Hoya, however, I have found CA to be rather exact to my standards of taste. I am an avid fan of Cuban cigars, by the way, so cost is not the issue, its the pricing of a mediocore rated cigar at close to $20 that is not right." —October 31, 2014 02:52 AM
"@one1off This cigar is surely not overpriced. Only problem I have with it, is that it is still too young, too much ammonia. A month or 6 and the harshness will go away! Price here in The Netherlands is €14,50." —October 30, 2014 13:12 PM
"$18.00 for a cigar that got 89 points? Blind tested. Thinking maybe there should be a category in CA that lists cigars overpriced for the money. " —October 30, 2014 06:24 AM