Wrapper: Ecuadorian Sumatra
Filler: Nicaraguan, Dominican (Andullo and Pilotico)
Size: 5 x 50 Robusto
Price: $8.50 (A buck less online)
Today we take a look at the H. Upmann Hispaniola By Jose Mendez.
I bought a fiver.
Manufacturer: Tabacalera Garcia
According to Tobacco Business:
“This brand is inspired by the island of Hispaniola. In 1492, Christopher Columbus came ashore to the island of Hispaniola, which is known today as the Dominican Republic and Haiti. While unknown to Columbus at the time, this island would become important to the tobacco industry. H. Upmann is paying tribute to this island with its latest offering which features exclusive varieties from the Dominican Republic such as Olor, Pilotico and Andullo tobacco–the last two which were developed exclusively for Altadis by the Mendez family, the largest tobacco grower on the island.
“Andullo tobacco is indigenous to the island of Hispaniola and is rarely used for handmade premium cigars. It undergoes a specialized fermentation process that helps accentuate the qualities of the leaf. This tobacco is then used in the filler, which provides the cigar with strength, a rich aroma and a deep flavor that’s rarely seen in any other tobaccos.
“Jose Mendez & Co. has an amazing library of rare and special Dominican tobacco,” says Rafael Nodal, the head of product capability for Tabacalera USA. “Together with Siegfried Maruschke, grandson of Jose Mendez and president of the company, we have created a cigar which highlights the spirit of Hispaniola and takes us on a journey through the most representative tobacco varieties of the island.”
“H. Upmann’s brand manager Candela Diaz added: “We are very excited to expand the H. Upmann brand with the help of collaborators, such as Jose Mendez. It was quite the experience to see this ancient Andullo tobacco brought back to life; our partners in Jose Mendez have done an outstanding job. We look forward to showcasing this one of a kind cigar in Las Vegas at the 2019 IPCPR.”
“The H. Upmann Hispaniola is a full-flavored, medium- to full-bodied cigar that features Dominican fillers and binder within an Ecuadorian Sumatra wrapper. The Andullo tobacco is mixed within the filler to create a richly complex smoking experience. The cigar will be presented in 20-count boxes in three different vitolas: Robusto (5 x 50), Toro (6 1/8 x 52), and Belicoso (6 x 50). MSRP ranges between $8.50 and $8.95.”
The cigar glistens with oils. The wrapper is a beautiful mocha java color. Seams are invisible. But plenty of veinage. The triple cap is placed perfectly atop the stick. The red and gold main and secondary bands are a perfect complement to the hue of the stick. Plus, the stick is solid without soft or hard spots.
SMELL THE GLOVE:
Big notes of caramel, floral, spicy cinnamon, milk chocolate, malt, cedar, lovely baking spices of nutmeg, vanilla bean, and allspice. Plus additional aromas of mild black pepper, real gingerbread, barnyard, a very mild citrusy element, and dried fruit.
The cold draw presents flavors of black pepper, chocolate, espresso, malt, cedar, vanilla, caramel, barnyard, and ginger.
The cigar is packed like a love sausage and as a result there seems to be a small plug at cigar band level. I grab for my PerfecDraw draw adjustment tool and with two swipes, clear the offending buildup of tobacco and the resistance issue is gone.
The blend starts off with sweet factors such as vanilla ice cream with caramel topping. Black pepper jumps in. The milk chocolate hangs back with a touch of influence along with a creamy coffee experience looming and waiting for its turn.
The richness of the blend kicks in immediately. There is complexity chomping at the bit now. Transitions are on the cusp of joining the Conga line. The finish is made of spiciness and a nice balance of savory and sweet. A good start.
I’ve had these sticks for a couple months. I tried one a couple weeks in. I wasted a cigar. A little patience goes a long way.
The cigar is so packed that its burn is moving at a glacial pace. I’m glad I chose the Robusto size.
I’ve reviewed the H. Upmann Connoisseur A in 2018 and it received a solid 90 rating. I reviewed the H. Upmann by AJ Fernandez in 2017 and it too received a solid 91.
This blend may do better if the trajectory remains on point.
Another very heavy blend. The aging and choices of tobacco make for an intense experience. It lays heavy on the palate with a serious start of complexity.
I couldn’t find a single written review of this cigar which scared the bejeezus out of me. I found a few video reviews but I don’t do video reviews. I prefer to read them.
There is a nice smoky meatiness going on. Along with hints of steak sauce giving the stick a slightly tart and vinegar tang. Surprisingly, it tastes better than it sounds. A balsamic quality that I rarely taste in a cigar.
The ash is quite dark.
This Robusto is going to be a 90-minute smoke.
Creaminess appears. A nice addition to counterbalance the sweet and savory aspects.
Strength pretty much hits medium/full from the get go.
And as if a light switch was flipped, the rich complexity kicks in big time. My mouth is covered in exotic flavors exposed by the rich tobaccos. It is a fancy ice cream sundae and a perfectly grilled steak at the same time. In the background, I can taste elements of melon…cantaloupe to be exact. It’s one of those passing notes in the cigar experience.
For only $7.50 online, this H. Upmann Hispaniola By Jose Mendez is becoming very impressive. I just reviewed the Camacho Corojo Distillery Edition that goes for $9.50 and its night and day. The H. Upmann smashes the Camacho with a smack to the Adam’s apple.
Always a good sign when a stick wastes no time in showing off its wares. None of this finger crossing that the last third will pick up the pace. In this case, the cigar struts its stuff like a champ.
I don’t know about you, but an excellent blend always relaxes the shit out of me. My shoulders lay at parade rest. My mind floats downstream. And I just want to kick back and enjoy and turn off the world’s intrusions.
35 minutes to get to this point. Nice.
I will stick my neck out and say this is a much better blend than the one AJ put together for H. Upmann. Menendez pries open the doors of what excellent boutique blends are capable of. This is no ordinary catalog blend.
Strength is full tilt now and I detect Vitamin N. My cat is waiting nearby with a defibrillator.
I love that the spiciness is not overwhelming. No pepper bomb at play here. It is smooth as gelato with a kick in the arse for good luck.
“Keep Your Hands to Yourself” by The Georgia Satellites. Great song.
So far, no construction or burn issues.
I’ve told this one before but it’s been awhile. I’m listening to The Doors and an old acid flashback arrives. I saw them in 1969 at the L.A. Forum. You’ve heard the crazy stories about how promoters would pick the absolutely wrong bands to open for big bands. Jimi opened for The Monkees. At this concert, some dumb ass thought having Jerry Lee Lewis open would be a good idea. And it would have been if not for the fact that Lewis was going through his “country” phase. He had a 6 or 7 piece band all wearing the same countrified brightly colored three-piece suits. I don’t even remember if he played his classics…just new country stuff. The entire stoned audience hated it and when Lewis was done, he spoke to the audience and said this would be his last tune for the evening. Would they like another? And in unison, 25,000 kids all yelled “NO!!” He told us to all go to hell and stomped off stage.
Where was I?
The H. Upmann Hispaniola By Jose Mendez.
This is a very potent blend. Not for the faint of heart and certainly not a good idea to smoke on an empty stomach as I am doing now. Newbies might want to pass on this stick. I don’t want their agonizing deaths on my head.
As with all very complex blends, flavors morph into one. Tidbits of previously described flavors are emitted in small doses while the ‘whole’ of the encounter takes precedent.
I don’t know if extended humidor time will tame this beast.
When least expecting it, the complexity makes quantum leaps. The intensity grows deeper with each puff. While this is turning out to be a great cigar, it makes me wonder how some manufacturers manage to turn out excellent blends at reasonable prices while other manufacturers beef up their PR and price point and turn out drek.
The char line is exemplary. You go, girl.
While every online store selling the H. Upmann Hispaniola By Jose Mendez seems to be allowed to sell it at the same price below MSRP, I don’t find it on your favorite discount sites. Therefore, your discount codes won’t apply but shipping costs will.
I get made fun of for giving good cigars high ratings. Do I care? Ha. If a blend blows me away, why should I use the outdated method that Cigar Aficionado uses? Oh baby, CA gave a cigar a 90!! Wow. Of course, the stingy reviewers often get to smoke only the best out there on the market while the rest of us dream of having $90 for a fiver. I imagine the guys that get to smoke every great cigar on the planet become jaded. And many good cigars are not given their due. Arrogance always finds its way into cigar reviewing.
More needless explanation: Since I only write 2 or 3 reviews per week, I choose my victims carefully so as not to waste anyone’s time. I either get to write about fantastic blends or dog turds. No gray area here.
At the halfway point, I’ve been working on this cigar for an hour…talk about an all-day sucker.
Super complex. A grand balance that drips with benediction. The transitions are moving at the speed of sound. The finish coats my teeth like saltwater taffy.
And the hallucinations begin. Ever take acid in the early 70’s and go to Disneyland? Me neither. OK. I’m lying. What we didn’t take into account were the long lines. Try holding it together standing next to Joe Normal and his family while you are watching them melt.
Godamm I’m having a great time. Now, if I could only get my vision back in my right eye.
I’ve now invested an hour and 20 minutes.
This is one of the strongest sticks I’ve smoked in a while. Personally, I’d be afraid to drink a cocktail along with it. I don’t think I’d make it back. I’m not a big fan of projectile vomiting.
In 1965, my gramps took me to Israel and Europe for the summer. I remember feeling ill as we departed the tour bus in front of the Louvre. It was pouring rain and while everyone made a dash for the entrance, I stood next to the bus trying to contain my innards. My grandfather came back for me and took me back to the hotel. As we climbed the massive staircase and passed the huge stately white columns, my stomach exited my mouth all over the entrance to the hotel. I left a snail trail all the way up to our room. I now try to avoid Paris altogether.
Speaking of Casdagli Cigars…I have a Dahman ready for this week. Now this man knows how to blend cigars even if you have to fill out a financial report to buy them. Worth every shekel. And of course, they have provided a 10% discount (Katman) at Small Batch Cigar.
The other two sizes of Belicoso (6 x 50) and the Toro (6.1 x 52) will be 2-1/2 hour cigars…A marathon test of your ability to survive under extreme conditions.
The cigar goes out while the cat performs CPR on me.
The bright tunnel of light shows my dead relatives motioning me to get the fuck out of there.
I’m afraid If I lay down afterwards, Charlotte will come in and mummify me. Any excuse to get that $42 life insurance payout.
OK. Flavors. I have nothing to add. Go back and read everything I’ve described. Nothing has changed other than the exponential leaps in complexity.
Holy shit. I’m delirious. (I heard that).
The H. Upmann Hispaniola By Jose Mendez is a must have.
Total smoke time is one hour and 45 minutes.
I’m going to run over the nearby hospital and get a blood transfusion.
Categories: CIGAR REVIEWS