H. Upmann The Banker | Cigar Review

Wrapper: Ecuadorian Habano
Binder: Nicaraguan-Jalapa
Filler: Nicaraguan, Dominican
Size: 5.5 x 48 “Currency”
Body: Medium
Price: $6.33




Today we are taking a look at the H. Upmann “The Banker.” A brand new blend from Altadis USA. The Banker represents the founder of the brand, Herman Upmann, a German banker who left Germany and moved to Cuba. This blend is presented as an homage to the first cigar Upmann created in Cuba and is supposed to taste like that Cuban blend.

From Cbid.com:

“Legend has it that Carl and Herman Upmann, a pair of ambitious German bankers, traveled to Cuba in 1844 with the intention of creating the perfect cigar. This top-secret blend was reserved solely for their most important (read: wealthiest) clients, and was locked in a vault to keep it away from prying eyes. Unfortunately, the bank burned down in the 20s, but luckily enough for you and me, attempts have been made to reintroduce this special concoction. That’s where H. Upmann The Banker comes into play.”

Currency: 5.5 x 48
Annuity: 6 x 52
Arbitrage: 7 x 56

Because it is a new cigar, the idiots that bid on Cbid are paying more than the retail price ruining it for everyone.

The first impression is that a lot of dough was spent on the presentation. A money green cigar band. A money green foot band. And white parchment paper that covers the area between both bands. But surprise, surprise….underneath the main cigar band, that must be removed to smoke the cigar and allow the parchment paper to disappear, is another cigar band. It’s a nice look, if not a little ostentatious.

Construction is so so. Seams are invisible. There are a lot of veins. It appears to have a double cap. But it is lumpy. The stick is slightly mottled and the color of milk chocolate with a bit of sheen and smooth to the touch. There are a lot of soft spots.

I fear that an ordinary cigar is all dressed up to go to the prom and her date fails to show up.

I clip the cap and find aromas of dark chocolate, spice, nuts, cedar, and a very nice coffee element.
Time to light up.

The first puffs of the H. Upmann The Banker are a mish mosh of black pepper and earthiness. The draw is good. Not a lot of smoke. And a bit of cocoa arrives.

There is a slight toastiness. The char line is a bit wavy.

The start of the cigar is nothing special so it is going to really show off to give me a hint of the Upmann Cuban version. The char line evens out without my help.

The strength is mild/medium by the first half inch.

The cigar is getting a big push from the PR machine of the CI Conglomerate. Taking up full pages in its catalogs. The next best thing to sliced bread. So, of course, it makes me wary of its quality. The cigar was a gift by a reader who wants to remain anonymous.

The first telltale sign that this is just an ordinary cigar is the construction. It’s never good to have soft spots. That’s just plain lazy and the manufacturer has given the task of rolling the cigars to mid-level rollers.

I’ve had the cigar marinating in my humidor for 6 weeks.

The pepper becomes a fiery red pepper…totally wiping out any other flavor.
And then a touch of creaminess enters. A nutty nougat flavor shows up next.

The heat from the cigar is causing the stick to become a bit spongy. Another bad sign. They just failed to put enough tobacco in the cigar.

The ad campaign is aimed at newbies and people susceptible to loud PR. Thus, disguising the true nature of the cigar.

An inch away from the second third, the stick becomes a little bitter and harsh.

The smoke output improves.

The second third is upon me quickly after only 15 minutes of smoke time. And out of nowhere, a huge run occurs requiring quick action on my part. Another bad sign.

The flavor profile, as I approach the halfway point, is blah. The pepper is strong and thee is very little else.

Another junk cigar put out by H. Upmann under the guise of something wonderful and innovative.

The cigar is losing its shape due to the lack of enough tobacco.

The only redeeming factor to this review is that I am alone in the house and I put a CD in of Led Zep. It is a double CD called “Early Days & Latter Days.” A remixed version of 23 songs personally produced by Jimmy Page back in 2000. The dog is grooving to it. Smart dog.

The last third begins. It seems as though this will be roughly a 30 minute smoke. And since it is basically a robusto, it is shy an hour of smoke time.

Cbid has a few up for auction and I am guessing they will go for no more than $3 each.

The price point is ridiculous. It tastes like a second. Oh. Now I get it. It’s a joke cigar. Maybe it will explode in my mouth when I get down to the last inch. Pretty good.

Flavors of substance finally arrive: Spice, creaminess, cocoa, sweetness, and earthiness.

If I wanted to, I could easily squeeze this cigar flat with no trouble at all. It’s not humidity as I left it out all night and we are having very low humidity here in Milwaukee.

Under normal circumstances, I would have put this cigar down by now. But I must tread on dear readers. It is in the Cigar Reviewer Bylaws.

The last third must be where the tobacco is because the smoking time has slowed down considerably.

H. Upmann is following Davidoff’s lead by using PR to lure smokers to dog turds. I just read that Camacho is introducing a third Ditka blend. The first two were crap. So, clearly, Ditka’s name is selling cigars to the brain dead.

I don’t think I saw more than three reviews of this cigar. One was polite but agreed with me. The other two, big reviewers, loved it. And the polite one was so disingenuous about describing it, you really aren’t sure if he liked it or not. A real disservice to his readers. But this guy is most probably in the pocket of H. Upmann and doesn’t want to rock the boat.

Thank God you have your Uncle Katman to tell you the truth.

Finally, it’s over.
If you buy H. Upmann The Banker, I will come to your house and make you lick my face.

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7 replies

  1. For me, the name alone was a red flag. Pass.

  2. Perhaps this dog rocket is an homage to the banksters responsible for the financial meltdown?

  3. For the benefit of those who have never spent time in London’s East End, “merchant banker” is Cockney rhyming slang for “wanker”.

  4. Well… I guess I’m going to have to lick your face :\ Being a newbie I bought a box of these, for my own salvation at a low price anyway.
    If only I had known about your reviews sooner I would’ve of passed instead of relying on the Autoweek magazine listing of fine cigars to make my first purchases of something other than Swisher Sweets.
    Oh well, I will use them to try and develop a small if nearly impossible palate of tastes due to reasons I presented before (sinus surgeries).
    At this point about the only 2 ratings I have are… Dammm!! That was great! Give me 30 minutes and we’ll smoke another or Crapp!! Should’ve just rolled up the dollars I spent on this turd and smoked them, probably would’ve tasted better. Thanks Katman

  5. I couldn’t agree with you more! I received a free “Banker” with a purchase of two other Altadis sticks. I knew it was gimmicky when I read the story of how they “recreated” something from the 1800s, as if some corporate hack was alive and remembered the blend. Immediately upon lighting, the thing tasted foam rubber furniture fire. The burn and draw wasn’t incredibly bad, but unlike your experience, there were really never any hints of redeeming flavor notes. In all honesty though, I lit it up on the heels of a genuine Montecristo no. 2 whose construction was so bad that I actually threw it into an outdoor fire pit.