20 November 2009

CIGAR REVIEW: Hoya de Monterrey - Rothschild Maduro

I recently smoked the Hoya de Monterrey - Rothschild Maduro (4.5" x 50) by General Cigar.  This isn't one of my usual brands but I received a couple different vitollas from a sales rep earlier this year which have been aging in my humidor and I finally decided to give one a try.  Besides, I read a couple reviews that said they weren't a bad low-cost cigar that was good for "everyday" smoking so I was looking forward to it.

The Rothschild's capa is Equadorian Sumatra; its capote is Connecticut broadleaf; and its tripa is Honduran, Nicaraguan, and Dominican.  Initial examination revealed a relatively consistent, near maduro color, with nice veins and texture.  It wasn't very firm, maybe even a little soft with a soft spot found under the band, and by the look of the foot, wasn't very well packed.  The pre-light aroma was of mild tobacco, pleasant but lacking any real notes.  Following a punch cut, I found the pre-light draw to be fine but the taste was of bland tobacco and not much of it.

The Hoya - Rothschild lit easily enough and produced plenty of grey smoke but was harsh tasting from the first puff.  Retro-exhalation was just not happening and made me want to cough.  As the first 1/3 progressed, a harsh, unpleasant taste covered my tongue and a strange, perhaps "tangy" sensation / taste developed that made me want to spit a lot.  It smoked a great deal while at rest which made me wonder if it was burning too fast but it did maintain an even burn until into the middle 1/3, at which time it started needing touch-ups.  The ash was medium-grey in color with different shades in different parts, was crispy and had lots of cracks, but it did hold on pretty well.  As I continued to smoke the Rothschild, its wrapper bubbled and flaked in places and a bitter taste dominated through to the end.

Many factors can affect an individual cigar including but not limited to its manufacture, the environment it is smoked in, and even the smoker themselves.  An individual bad cigar in a premium line can also be a fluke, which I myself have experienced in the past.  Let me qualify my remarks with this, I received this cigar some time ago and it has been in my personal humidor ever since, marrying with several drawers of super-premium cigars.  My humidor has an electronically monitored and controlled active humidifier that maintains optimal humidity levels.  This is important because over or under humidification can severely affect a cigar's taste and smoking qualities.  I smoked this cigar outside and by my self so no one else's smoke could have interfered and I also hadn't eaten or drank anything for a couple hours which could have altered the natural pH in my mouth.  All that being said, this was NOT a good cigar.  Everything about it was bad and at this point, I cannot recommend it to anyone.  As stated above, I acknowledge that this cigar may not be representative of the Rothschild line and to be fair I am willing to try another one; however, I certainly won't buy it.

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