Hoyo de Monterrey Sabrosos EMS

Day 4 of this “Less than $5 Challenge” I've set for myself. Tonight I'm trying the Hoyo de Monterrey Sabrosos EMS Panetela. “EMS” refers to “English Market Standard,” which is really just another way of referring to a “natural” wrapper.

Cigar: Hoyo de Monterrey Sabrosos EMS

Vitola: Panetela (5” x 40)

Price: $3.99/stick

Origin: Honduras

Wrapper: Ecuadorian Sumatra
Binder: Connecticut Broadleaf
Filler: Honduran, Nicaraguan, Dominican
Body: Mild

Rating (out of 10): 9.2

Nice, light brown color to this little stick... very, very light veins and a faint oiliness to the wrapper, and the classic black-and-gold HdM band. There's kind of a flat cap on this, which should be pretty easy to cut with the narrow punch.

This stick is pretty well put-together, too. Everything looks good, just one slight wrinkle in the wrapper. Otherwise, no issues. The cap is perfectly applied and cuts easily with the punch.

Nice, cedar aroma on the barrel, and an earthy tone with some very faint floral notes at the foot.

First Third:
The cold draw is a bit earthy, like sweet hay. My lighter's giving me a bit of trouble, not sparking, even after a fresh refill... might be time to replace the little guy. Once I get it going, though, there's a fantastic aroma wafting off the foot as I light it up, with distinct cedar and coffee scents.

The coffee definitely comes through on the flavor, as well, with notes of cedar just underneath.

I feel like I'm also getting... a kind of vanilla sweetness. It's subtle, and kind of hiding on the finish.

Second Third:
This is another narrow-gauge, fast-burning stick, and we're already getting into the second third. Not a whole lot of change to the flavor, except that the cedar has grown in strength a bit, almost balancing the coffee.

I'm mostly liking this one so far... I just kind of wish it was a bit wider. In any case, the ash is nice and white, but a bit loose. It's burning good and even, though.

Just past halfway, the cap begins to peel away. This stick might burn down fast enough for it to not be an issue, though.

Still, losing the cap partway through, is a major pet peeve of mine. If this thing comes off entirely, we might have some problems.

Final Third:
Some slight spice on the finish as we get to the last third, pairing with the vanilla; but it's the vanilla that really sticks around on the aftertaste.

Closing Thoughts:
So... it's not bad. But it's not great, either. This is a good smoke at a good price. It certainly won't compete with many of the industry giants, but it's not going to let you down, either. I could see this as a nice breakfast cigar. I don't want to say it would go well with a nice coffee, but that's only because I don't drink coffee. If you do, by all means. Pair them. See what you think. In any case, it's a good middle-of-the-road cigar that's not going to set you back a whole lot.

Side note: the cap didn't give me any more trouble after I made note of it in the second third. Thumbs up on that.