Cigar Details: H. Upmann by AJ Fernandez Toro
- Vitola: Toro
- Length: 6″
- Ring Gauge: 54
- Country of Origin: Nicaragua
- Wrapper: Ecuadorian Sumatra
- Binder: Nicaraguan Corojo ’99
- Filler: Criollo ’98 and Piloto Cubano
- Factory: Tabacalera Fernandez
- Blender: AJ Fernandez
- Price: $7.50
- Release Date: May 2017
- Source: Altadis
The wrapper is a dull, milk chocolate brown with a few veins present that carry a lighter color. The seams are nearly invisible even with the different colored veins. The head appears to be finished off with a double cap. There are two bands, the primary being turquoise, gold and white and carrying the brand name. The secondary band is a strip band just below the primary that is mostly white with some gold and turquoise which identifies the cigar as being made by AJ Fernandez. The aroma from the wrapper is a mix of bakers chocolate and leather while the foot brings slightly damp wood and cayenne pepper. The pre-light draw brings the cayenne pepper to my tongue while some very creamy leather is also present.
The H. Upmann by AJ Fernandez Toro has a dark chocolate wrapper shade. Veins are neatly pressed and seams tight and nearly invisible. Bunch and roll feels well executed as I feel no soft spots and a uniformed give is present throughout. The head is finished off with a well applied, thick triple cap. Nosing the wrapper gives flowery perfume and cedar. Smelling the foot tells intense white pepper and mixed nuts. Cold draw tells mixed nuts, dry cardboard and lip tingling white pepper spice.
Initial draws bring a fairly intense cayenne pepper with some wood in the background. At a half inch in, the cayenne pepper eases up slightly to let a little more wood shine through. The retrohale is the reverse profile, primarily wood with a cayenne kick in the background. At the inch mark, the wood overtakes the cayenne note, but there is still that pepper finish long after the draw. At an inch and a quarter, a little nuttiness can be detected in the primarily wood profile with slight cayenne kick. At an inch and a half, the profile is quite drying with primarily wood and slight hints of cayenne, nuttiness and some cream. The strength in this third was slightly above medium.
First third shows an abundance of earthy minerality, providing a fairly gritty dry dirt character. This is accompanied by notes of cedar, faint under-ripe stone fruits and black pepper. Retrohaling gives spicy cedar, bread and roasted dry nuts. The finish is dominantly filled with dirty like grit and sharper cedar. Strength and body is at a consistent medium.
As the second third begins, the dry wood note continues along with some faint nuttiness in the background. There is also a lingering cayenne pepper still present. The retrohale carries a mesquite wood note. At an inch in, the wood gains a slight char and all of the other background notes have left. At an inch and a half, still no change as it’s a very dry, slightly charred oak. As the third comes to a close, some mustiness joins with the slightly charred oak. The strength in this third was slightly above medium.
The second third shows the same dry dirt grit but the once faintly sweetened cream intensifies. Further, the profile shows less pepper and the stone fruit leaves the profile in its entirety. The retrohale is still centered around spicy cedar, bread and roasted dry nuts. The finish also has no changes, still being full of dirt like grit and sharper cedar. Strength nears medium-full while body stays medium.
As the final third begins, a heavy bitterness joins the charred oak. After a purge, the bitterness is greatly reduced and at a half inch in, the charred oak is back up front with some bitterness in the background. At an inch in, the oak loses most of the char while some bitterness remains in the background. This is how the cigar finishes. The strength in this third was right at medium.
The last third mimics the second third in every way aside from one difference. The finish picks up a charred and bitter note, but the gritty dirt and sharper cedar can still be tasted. Still, mouth draws present the same dirt-like grit, sweeter creaminess and tapered black pepper. Body and strength remains unchanged at medium and near medium-full, respectively.
The draw perfect with just the right amount of resistance that I prefer.
I had high hopes with the cigar from the pre-light and how the cigar initially started as it was pretty high in strength and spice, but unfortunately, it couldn’t maintain the flavor and strength levels and settled into a pretty standard woody profile which I find with most cigars from AJ Fernandez. The cigar exhibited the typical AJ Fernandez construction which was great, but flavor is what I’m focused on and the cigar couldn’t provide much more than an average one. I would smoke another if handed to me, but it’s probably not something I’m going to seek out.
Just the ideal amount of resistance to take in all the flavors without a hitch.
Overall, I enjoyed the cigar. At the core of it, the H. Upmann has the distinct AJ blending style, being centered around gritty dirt, cedar and spice. But the addition of a sweetened cream pulls the profile together by quite a bit. For fans of AJ, this is a no brainier to try. For others, still worth a try to taste the new spin on an old traditional Cuban brand.
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