Hoyo de Monterrey Habanos
For over 100 years, the name Hoyo de Monterrey has become synonymous with elegance, tradition, and quality. It is one of the oldest cigar brands in existence and has since been known as a lasting member in the cigar Pantheon. Today there are two different versions, one being the Cuban and the other Honduran. While these two brands seem evidently different today, they both share the same historic origins. The story of Hoyo de Monterrey begins well over a century ago when a young man brought the traditions and storied culture of Spain to the small Caribbean island of Cuba.
In 1831, a 13-year-old boy named Don Jose Gener y Batet arrived on the island from Spain. For 20 years, Gener worked on his uncle’s tobacco plantation in the lush and fertile region of Vuelta Abajo. He cultivated his tobacco knowledge and then at the age of 33 opened his own cigar factory in Havana and began producing his first brand, La Escepción. This line became a success, and the factory became exceedingly profitable. Gener seized this opportunity to purchase the best tobacco farm in the country, and named a new brand of cigars after it – Hoyo de Monterrey.
The regions name literally translates to the “Hole of Monterrey”. This appears to be in reference to the concave terrain that is preferred by tobacco farmers. The line became an instant success and became increasingly popular in the European market, particularly in Great Britain. Production continued with the Gener family into the 1930s, with the Hoyo de Monterrey factory becoming the largest cigar factory in the country. The brand was purchased by the Fernandez, Palicio y Cia company, which already produced the popular Punch and Belinda.
This historic brand of cigars even played a part in the early stages of Davidoff’s cigar line. During the 1940s, the company produced the luxurious Hoyo and Chateaux series specifically for a Swiss distributor. The Chateaux line caught the attention of famed Swiss tobacco merchant Zino Davidoff, and he would achieve great success marketing the brand. Following the Cuban revolution, the Cuban government contacted Davidoff to establish a luxury brand of cigars under their name. Eventually, the Hoyo Chateaux was distributed only under the Davidoff name, beginning Davidoff’s domination of high-end luxury cigars that continues today.
The Cuban Revolutions affect on the cigar industry was profound, and changed the political and economic landscape of the cigar market ever since. The negative aspect was that the Cuban cigar industry now saw their biggest market, the U.S., off limits. The positive however, was the creation of a global cigar industry. Up to this point, nearly all premium cigars were crafted in Cuba. The embargo forced many manufacturers to move throughout South and Central America to create brands that could be sold in the U.S.
The Villazon Company had sought to establish itself in Honduras. The company would see great success when in 1960 when Fernando Palicio left Cuba and sold his brands to Villazon. The Honduran versions of Punch and Hoyo de Monterrey have seen renowned success in the United States and have a cemented place on the shelves of American tobacconists. In the 1990s the Villazon Company was sold to General Cigar, who continues production today. With stand out products like the Excalibur and Dark Sumatra, Hoyo de Monterrey is a true premium brand and has become a staple for Honduran cigars.
The Cuban Hoyo de Monterrey is still being produced, now under the control of Cubatobacco, the government owned national tobacco company. True aficionados take pride in smoking the Hoyo line, particularly the famed Epicure No.2 and Double Corona. Whichever Hoyo you are smoking, take comfort in the fact that you are enjoying a cigar of the finest quality and with a tradition of elegance and craftsmanship.