Cigar Review: H. Upmann The Banker “Annuity”

Cigar Review: H. Upmann The Banker “Annuity”

H. Upmann / Altadis
Country: Dominican Republic
Wrapper: Ecuador (Habano)
Binder: Nicaragua
Filler: Nicaragua
Size: 6″ x 52
Strength: medium-full
Price: $8.95

Click here to buy it now.

Overall Rating: 8.9

In 1844, German bankers Carl and Herman Upmann traveled to Cuba to create a unique cigar for their most special clients. With the release of the H. Upmann The Banker, according to Altadis, they have created a cigar as close as possible to the original as possible. Unfortunately, none of those cigars have survived to see if it really is similar to that blend. Plus, a 170 year old Cuban Hupmann would be prohibitively expensive for the majority of smokers to try, even though it is legal to purchase pre-embargo Cuban cigars.

All that said, the H. Upmann The Banker is a classy cigar with a turn of the century Wall Street feel to it. Brilliantly packaged and banded, The Banker is a full flavored medium-full bodied cigar with a good deal of earthy, chocolate and spice notes to its profile. Well constructed and even burning, the cigar should age well. The Banker is the kind of cigar you expect to see being smoked by a guy in a suit reading Napoleon Hill’s Think and Grow Rich, but it is reasonably priced so that you don’t have to be a banker in order to afford it.

Pre-Light: The banding and look of the H. Upmann The Banker is really great looking. It’s “currency green” band with gold lettering has an early days of Wall Street look. The main band and foot band are separated by tissue paper with an off entered gold H. Upmann logo on it. An oily dark brown Ecuadorian Habano wrapper peeks out above the H. Upmann band. Not box pressed in the traditional sense, the Banker is instead slightly flattened on the sides, making it more comfortable to hold in the hand. For some reason this cigar has a look and feel that makes you wish you could still smoke at New York’s Bull & the Bear.

From the wrapper of the cigar and aroma of chocolate and natural tobacco is noticeable. From the unlit foot a sweet pipe tobacco and black tea scent is easily detectable. The pre-light draw is just a bit on the the tight side. Cocoa, natural tobacco and almond flavors come through on the cold draw.

Burn: Once lit the Upmann Banker offers up quite an easy draw that is near perfect. From start to finish, the burn is impressively even. The one thing that needs to be watched is that The Banker burns a bit hot, so it is important to take the cigar slowly. The H. Upmann Banker Annuity holds its dark gray ash very well.

Flavor: Right at the start of the H. Upmann The Banker there is an immediate burst strong of black pepper and spice. This quickly mellows considerably in the first quarter inch or so of the cigar. There is a meatiness early on in The Banker that compliments the pepper quite well. Other flavors that come through during the first third of the cigar include soil, nutmeg, leather, spice and mild cocoa. At the transition to the second third of the cigar the earthiness and natural tobacco begins to take over. Chocolate and mild spice are the main background note during the second third of the Upmann Banker. The spice and pepper are still fairly noticeable on the retrohale. Nutmeg, cinnamon, oak and a well done meat flavor all occur to varying degrees in the background of the second third of the cigar. A mild spice takes center stage at the start of the final third. Flavors of mild pepper, herbs, chocolate, English Breakfast black tea and nuts are all secondary in the final third of the cigar. In the last inch the spice and pepper pick up somewhat with nutmeg, earth and chocolate remaining through until the end. The flavor profile of this cigar is consistent from start to finish.

Overall: Altadis is experiencing a bit of a renaissance over the last few years, releasing several solid cigars and revitalizing some of its forgotten brands. With The Banker (and previously with the Legacy) they have really brought the H. Upmann brand back to life. With earthy flavors of chocolate, nutmeg, natural tobacco and spice the Hupmann The Banker is a very flavorful medium-full bodied cigar. The Banker is a wonderfully complex cigar. This is a good cigar at a great price, and is sure to please fans of the H. Upmann Legacy and Monte by Monte Cristo. I enjoyed this cigar and will definitely revisit it on a regular basis, even if it does make me feel compelled to watch CNBC. The cigar should age pretty well, and is certainly worth trying if you are a fan of medium-full bodied cigars. I’m really looking forward to see what else Altadis has planned in the near future.

Pairing: A good glass of Pinot Noir or a Meritage will pair quite nicely with the H. Upmann The Banker Annuity. I personally enjoyed a glass of Fess Parker 2011 Bien Nacido Pinot Noir with The Banker Annuity and found it really complimented the cigar’s flavors. A Balvenie 21 PortWood single malt, Monnet XO Cognac, Camus Extra Cognac or Lepanto PX Gran Reserva Spanish Brandy are great choices for those looking for something stronger to pair with the H. Upmann The Banker.

Reviewed by Jonathan David (@JonDavid1210)