HdM Epicure No. 1 (GKI JUL04)

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Seeking to remedy a disappointing experience with an '02 Epi No. 1 earlier this weekend, I dug deep in the aging humidor and found my unopened JUL04 box, which I received from Rob almost two years ago. I do mean unopened; since the seals hadn't even been broken. Perhaps this box would be better, I hoped.

When I slid off the lid, and folded back the waxed paper, I knew I was in for something special. In addition to the sharp cedar scent, courtesy of the packing insert, there were strong and intoxicating aromas of fully-ripened tobacco and a nose-tickling sweet spice.

My chosen candidate was cloaked in a golden brown wrapper, smooth and firm to the touch, with light veining. It smelled marvelous. Clip!

The intial draws were wonderfully full and spicy, with flavors of toasted tobacco, hot and sweet pepper, and an underlying woody core. For the first quarter, I would describe this cigar as full-bodied and full-flavored. Very un-Hoyo in these respects. This introductory peppery burst slowly resolved into an astonishing medley of sweet and complex spices, dancing on a foundation of wood and toasted tobacco. "Rich" is admittedly an overused term, but in this case it would be an understatement. The cigar continued in this vein, growing perceptibly stronger, but still perfectly smooth and balanced, to a sweet and savory nubbed finish. I was tempted to smoke another, but determined to let the experience settle slowly into my memory.

I can say without doubt or hesitation that this is the most flavorful Hoyo that I have ever smoked. And this includes the vaunted Pyramide EL, which heretofor has been my favorite Hoyo, and one of my favorite EL's. I find most Hoyos to be a tad too mild, and medium-bodied for my benumbed taste buds, but this '04 Epicure No. 1 was a rousing and welcome exception. Although I hesitate for fear of rebuke, I am compelled to give this one an A 93-94. Are there any more boxes of these around?

Viva Le Hoyo Epicure No. 1! My faith in you is more than restored.

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