It seems that almost all BIG vitolas of HDM are at their peak from 98. 2003 is too early and 90 too late, at least in my experience as of late. I would be curious to see how these smoke in a few more years. Of course, this doesn't mean it will hold true to everybody's experience, but as I smoke more aged stuff, the difference, even after 10+ years can be profound, to say the least. Incredible, even for a marca not know for it's teeth but great creamy spice.
Review: Hoyo de Monterrey Extravaganza (Colección Habanos 2003)
In 2003, Habanos S.A. brought back a modified form of the Hoyo de Monterrey Lusitanias as the third release of its Colección Habanos series. The cigar was renamed the Hoyo de Monterrey Extravaganza and measured 180mm x 50, as opposed to the original 184mm x 50.
The first of the Colección Habanos series in the form of the Cuaba Salomónes introduced in 2001. The Colección Habanos are non-production sizes for various brands all released in unique book-like packaging. There have been 11 releases in total, one for each year beginning in 2001 with the exception of 2011, when Habanos S.A. rereleased each of the previous 10 vitola in the form of the Colección Habanos 2011 Obras Completas Edición Única.
The entire Colección Habanos series is as follows:
- Cuaba Salomónes — 2001 — 300 Boxes of 10 Cigars (3,000 Total Cigars)
- Partagas Serie C No.1 — 2002 — 300 Boxes of 20 Cigars (6,000 Total Cigars)
- Hoyo de Monterrey Extravaganza — 2003 — 500 Boxes of 20 Cigars (10,000 Total Cigars)
- Romeo y Julieta Fabulosos No.6 — 2004 — 500 Boxes of 20 Cigars (10,000 Total Cigars)
- Montecristo Maravillas No. 1 — 2005 — 500 Boxes of 20 Cigars (10,000 Total Cigars)
- Trinidad Torre Iznaga — 2006 — 500 Boxes of 20 Cigars (10,000 Total Cigars)
- H. Upmann Magnum Especial — 2007 — 500 Boxes of 20 Cigars (10,000 Total Cigars)
- Cohiba Sublimes Extra — 2008 — 1,000 Boxes of 20 Cigars (20,000 Total Cigars)
- San Cristóbal O’Reilly — 2009 — 1,000 Boxes of 20 Cigars (20,000 Total Cigars)
- Bolivar Gran Belicoso — 2010 — 1,000 Boxes of 20 Cigars (20,000 Total Cigars)
- Obras Completas Edición Única — 2011 — 1,000 Boxes of 30 Cigars (30,000 Total Cigars)*
- Cuaba Bariay — 2012 — 1,000 Boxes of 20 Cigars (20,000 Total Cigars)
*As noted above, the 2011 release was a compilation of the previous ten releases.
The Extravaganza was the first release to see 500 boxes, which became standard until 2008. there are few images of the Extravaganza’s packaging, here’s one from the La Casa del Habano website:
And the particulars.
- Cigar Reviewed: Hoyo de Monterrey Colección Habanos Edición 2003 Extravaganza
- Country of Origin: Cuba
- Factory: Francisco Pérez German
- Wrapper: Cuba
- Binder: Cuba
- Filler: Cuba
- Size: 7 2/23 Inches
- Ring Gauge: 50
- Vitola: Lusitanias
- Est. Price: $130.00 (Boxes of 20, $2,600.00)
- Release Date: 2004
- Number of Cigars Released: 500 Boxes of 20 Cigars (10,000 Total Cigars)
- Number of Cigars Smoked for Review: 1
It’s a bit massive with some discoloration and a rough roll, but I love the size and still find the appearance striking. The Hoyo band is gigantic and the Extravaganza’s caps are applied brilliantly. Unfortunately, there’s not much off the wrapper, likely due to eight or so years and no cellophane, but the foot presents a great roasted nut aroma, sugary twang, leather and a real barbecue sensation. I take off a bit less than I probably should, which produces a slightly tight cold draw, but the flavors are great. A full mixture of leathers, roasted flavors and twang dominate a bit of white pepper on the back of the throat.
I take my time lighting and enjoy the wonderful toasted aroma that fills the air at the beginning of the first. The first draw of the Extravaganza is cedar and nuts that turn from sweet to raw. It’s detailed with tons of great smoke production in and outside the mouth. Eventually, it settles to nuts and cedar in varying degrees of sweet and saltiness with a hint of black pepper and some sweet grassy notes. The aroma is truly one of the better I’ve seen in a while, helped by the great smoke production.
The second third sees much more roasted flavors coming through as sweeter nuts begin to consistently dominate the cedar flavors. Not a whole lot of progression from the Hoyo third-to-third, more like a change every few puff with the same core flavors from the first third. A few touch-ups are needed, but in general the construction is great, particularly the draw, which is ever so slightly tight, in my ideal range.
Into the final third and I don’t expect much change, which is the case. There’s a bit of twang added to the fray, but in general the Hoyo de Monterrey Extravaganza is much like the first two third. It’s a big cigar and it takes a while, but eventually I get down to the finger burning range.
- In addition to the 10,000 originally released cigars, there were an additional 3,000 released as part of Obras Completas in 2011. For the difference, trust your source.
- The price is based off of two auction prices from C.Gars Ltd. At its recent November auction, the English retailer sold one box for £1,500.00 and the other £1,700.00. Based on current exchange rates, the boxes sold for just a fraction over $2,600.00.
- Interestingly, one box a had a box code of December 2003, the other May of 2004. One would think that with something like this where production is very small, the boxes would be finished in a relative short time from one another, even in Cuba.
- It should also come to no surprise that much like many other special releases, the schedule Habanos is using is behind. The Extravaganza shipped in 2004 and the 2012 release is not expected until later this year.
- This is an easy Cuban cigar to smoke. So often, the better Habanos S.A. products require you to pinpoint acute and odd flavors all over the palate, with the Extravaganza, the flavors just come at you.
- As noted a few days ago, the book packaging is becoming more and more common. Fuente plans to do it this year and Tatuaje released a rather similar looking book in 2012 for early versions of the Cojonu 2012 Capa Especial and Reserva.
- Strength is around medium.
- The size was apparently originally listed as 194mm x 49.
- At this point, expect to pay over $100 for the cigar if not more. Singles could go for less or more than complete boxes, as is the case with this type of product, the time and place will be the biggest factors.
- I’ve paid $100+ more times than I’d like to admit for a single cigar. It’s still hard to say whether or not it.
- Final smoking time was two hours and 10 minutes.
The Bottom Line: This is an odd Cuban experience. Most of the cigars we review are either awful, misses, great or sublime. Rarely anything in between. The Hoyo de Monterrey Extravaganza is just good. As noted above, an easy cigar to smoke and an enjoyable one at that. It comes at you with easy-to-pick up big flavors that don’t overwhelm you in quantity. It would be a great cigar for the Hoyo portfolio and clearly with a few years of age would be able to provide a unique experience, but definitely not sublime. Not worth the price of admission, or the challenge that it will take to find these, but a cigar I’d love to smoke on a daily basis with a market-appropriate price.
Final Score: 88