January 3, 2019

Cigar Review: H. Upmann No. 2 (Cuban)

H. Upmann
A true piramides is a beautiful cigar. You see the slightly decreasing ring gauge from the foot to the head and I believe that is how all piramides should be. In the United States we see a lot of torpedos, that look nothing like original torpedos by the way, made in a way which looks like your standard parejo with a figured head. I don't know why this is the case, but it is and it is something I do not care for. I don't smoke many non-Cuban piramides because of that reason, and that is why I was thrilled when Altadis released the Montecrsito Epic No. 2 in the true piramide shape. This is how the cigar was meant to be made, and call me old school but I do not think we should meander from that path. Oh, and they decrease the ring gauge for their belicosos finos as well.

The No. 2 is an H. Upmann vitola that has been in production since before the Revolution and that is the case for most H. Upmann Cigars. It really wasn't until 2008 that they increased the portfolio, and that began with the Magnum 50. The biggest change in the H. Upmann brand has been the banding in which the cigars came, and that is also the case for some of the packaging as well. The No. 2 has always been available in boxes of 25, but I think it would be an exceptional candidate for a three pack or even a tubo offering. The H. Upmann brand is a brand that has been in production since it was establish in 1844, and is now classified as a global brand for Habanos S.A.The name comes from Hermann Upmann who was a banker who settled in Cuba prior to his establishment of the company, and eventually left banking to focus on cigars in the 1920's. 
Gorgeous, and I mean gorgeous wrapper.
As all Cuban cigars the cigar is composed of entirely Cuban tobacco and is made from tobacco out from the Vuelta Abajo region in the southwest area of Cuba.  The cigar is rolled in the José Martí Factory which was just refurbished and is simply gorgeous. The cigar measures 6 1/8" and has a 52 ring gauge at the foot. It has a wrapper that is oily to touch, and the cigar shows some pressing along the sides. It has a dark marbled coloring, and while I have had some with a lighter wrapper, this one is just as gorgeous. There is some tooth to the wrapper as well, with some minor veins throughout, and it is almost an oilier version of some Sumatra wrappers I see. Maybe that is why manufacturers use Ecuadorian Sumatra and Cameroon wrappers when trying to replicate Cuban cigars. At the foot of the cigar I am picking up wonderful aromas of coffee, spices, wood, leather and hay, and on the wrapper I am getting some lovely wood and leather notes.
The cigar opens up by showing some lovely light spice notes and also some tea and wood notes. I am picking up some oak notes with that, along with some coffee notes and it is also showing this creamy flavor profile that tops it all off. In terms of construction the cigar performed wonderfully, and it is a classic example that Cuba produces cigars with great construction. The draw was fantastic offering for a wonderful smoking experience, and I got a nice amount of flavorful smoke that was great for rings. The ash held on to the cigar firmly and produced a lovely dark gray ash. I felt that the strength of the cigar was right at a solid medium body level, and it is a cigar I could smoke anytime of day but would save for the afternoon.
The flavors in the second third really pick up, and it is here that I pick up a little more chocolate and pepper notes. I am still getting some great tea, leather and oak notes to the cigar, and it has  great finish of coffee and cream which are oh so enjoyable. In the second third I found the construction only to get better, and the burn line was really razor sharp in this third. The ash kept that dark gray coloring, and it remained firmly on the cigar. It was still smoking wonderfully on all counts in this third and I loved the draw on the smoke. As you can see I went with the V-Cut, and that is the greatest of cuts. The strength of the cigar has remained at the medium level in which it was in the beginning and I do not want this cigar to end.
Final bit
In the final third of the cigar the flavors  are all over the place and I would say it is showing a balance of flavors from the second third. There are some cocoa notes here and there, along with some tea notes to the same pattern, and it is showing that leather, oak and spice flavor profile that is wonderful. The finish is that of cream and coffee like the second third and a great way to finish a cigar. The construction in the final third was phenomenal  and it was a cigar that smoked better with each third. It produced tons of great smoke with each draw, and the ash was still wonderful. I would say the ash was still the same coloring in which it was throughout. The draw produced a nice amount of smoke on my palate, and I smoked the cigar down to the nub. The cigar was cool all the way to the end and on the last puff the cigar was still as flavorful as it had been and was still medium in body.
Just looks tasty!
I feel safe in saying that this is best piramides in production right now in Cuba. I feel that these cigars are made in much smaller quantities than the Montecristo or Partagas No. 2 counterparts and because of that they really can focus on quality. To be honest Habanos S.A. always shows high quality control to their piramides, but this ones seems to get a little bit more. Every one I have smokes for the past three years has been incredible, and to this day I do not know why I am just getting around to reviewing this cigar. It captures a little bit of a more complex and unique flavor profile than some H. Upmann vitolas, but has that quality still present. If you have the opportunity to pick some of these up please do not wait. Make the purchase because I know you will not be disappointed. I would say it is along the same lines of the Montecristo No. 2 in terms of strength, but a completely different flavor profile. I give this cigar a solid 96 and from box to box I have never had anything below a 92 I would say.
No. 2
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