Hoyo de Monterrey
Hoyo de Monterrey is the name of two brands of premium cigar, one produced on the island of Cuba for Habanos SA, the Cuban state-owned tobacco company and the other produced in Honduras by General Cigar Company, now a subsidiary of Swedish Match.
In 1831, Don José Gener y Batet emigrated to Cuba from Spain at the age of thirteen, where he worked on his uncle's plantation in Vuelta Abajo. Twenty years later, he would open his own cigar factory in Havana and begin producing his own cigar line, La Escepción. In 1865, after using his factory's profits to acquire one of the best tobacco farms in Vuelta Abajo, he registered a cigar line named for it: Hoyo de Monterrey.
Literally translated from Spanish to English as "the Hole of Monterrey" in reference to the concave terrain favoured by growers of premium tobacco, the brand became incredibly popular, especially in the British market and José Gener's factory subsequently became one of the largest factories in Cuba. In 1900, Gener died in Spain and his daughter Lutgarda Gener took over the business and it would stay in the family for another thirty years.
In 1931, the Gener family sold their cigar brands in order to focus more on their sugar cane properties. The firm of Fernández, Palicio y Cía bought the Hoyo de Monterrey and La Escepción brands and added them to their impressive line-up, which already included Punch and Belinda. Around this time, in the 1940s, the Le Hoyo series (along with the Chateaux series which would later be used to create the Davidoff cigar line) was created for Swiss distributor A. Dürr Co. After the death of partner Ramón Fernández, Fernando Palicio became sole proprietor of the business and by 1958 his cigar lines accounted for 13% of all Havana cigar exports.
After the revolutionary government of Cuba unilaterally nationalised all the cigar manufactures in 1959, Fernando Palicio voluntarily left Cuba for Florida. He subsequently sold his cigar lines to the Villazon family, which continued to make Punch, Hoyo de Monterrey and Belinda cigars in their Tampa, Florida factory from Honduran tobacco for the American market.
Hoyo de Monterrey continued production in Cuba and in Honduras and is still a popular, globally marketed Cuban cigar line. Among connoisseurs, the Épicure No. 2, Double Coronas and Le Hoyo series are particularly prized.
Being a globally marketed brand, Hoyo de Monterrey has been chosen for Habanos' annual Edición Limitada releases since 2000. The Particular had some production problems during the first Edición Limitada line-up in 2000, with few of the cigars getting out to vendors. This prompted Habanos to release it again the next year, the only Edición Limitada cigar so far to have had this happen. In 2004, a new size was added to the Hoyo de Monterrey line, the Petit Robusto, which also wore a slightly redesigned Hoyo de Monterrey cigar band.
Available Vitolas in the Hoyo de Monterrey line
The following list of handmade vitolas de salida (commercial vitolas) within the Hoyo de Monterrey marque lists in order, their length in Imperial (and Metric), ring gauge, their Factory name and a colloquial description of size/shape:
- Petit Robusto - 4⅛" × 50 (105 × 19.84 mm), Petit Robusto, a petit robusto
- Épicure No. 2 - 4⅞" × 50 (124 × 19.84 mm), Robusto, a robusto
- Coronation - 5⅛" × 42 (130 × 16.67 mm), Petit Corona, a petit corona
- Palma Extra - 5½" × 40 (140 × 15.88 mm), Crema, a corona
- Corona - 5⅝" × 42 (143 × 16.67 mm), Corona, a corona
- Épicure No. 1 - 5⅝" × 46 (143 × 18.26 mm), Corona Gorda, a grand corona
- Churchill - 7" × 47 (178 × 18.65 mm), Julieta No. 2, a churchill
- Double Corona - 7⅝" × 49 (194 × 19.45 mm), Prominente, a double corona
Le Hoyo Series
- Le Hoyo du Maire - 3⅞" × 30 (98 × 11.91 mm), Entreacto, a small panetela
- Le Hoyo du Député - 4⅜" × 38 (111 × 15.08 mm), Trabuco, a short panetela
- Le Hoyo du Prince - 5⅛" × 40 (130 × 15.88 mm), Almuerzo, a corona
- Le Hoyo du Roi - 5⅝" × 42 (143 × 16.67 mm), Corona, a corona
- Le Hoyo de San Juan - 5⅞" x 54 (150 x 22 mm), Geniales, a grand corona
- Le Hoyo des Dieux - 6⅛" × 42 (156 × 16.67 mm), Corona Grande, a long corona
- Le Hoyo du Gourmet - 6¾" × 33 (171 × 13.10 mm), Palma, a slim panetela
- Particular (2000 and 2001) - 9¼" × 47 (235 × 18.65 mm), Corona Grande, a grand corona
- Pirámide (2003) - 6⅛" × 52 (156 × 20.64 mm), Pirámide, a pyramid
- Épicure Especial (2004) - 5½" × 50 (140 × 19.84 mm), Gordito, a robusto extra
- Regalos (2007) - 5⅓" × 46 (135 × 18.26 mm), Regalo, a corona extra
Hoyo de Monterrey also produces two machine-made cigarillos: the Mini and the Midi.
- Red Auerbach was famous for smoking a Hoyo de Monterrey "victory cigar" before the end of basketball games of the Boston Celtics, the NBA team he worked for as a coach and executive from 1950 to 1997 and again from 2001 until his death in 2006.
- Min Ron Nee, An Illustrated Encyclopaedia of Post-Revolution Havana Cigars. Hong Kong: Interpro Business Corp., 2003.