Cigar Review: H. Upmann Nicaragua by AJ Fernandez

Cigar Review: H. Upmann Nicaragua by AJ Fernandez

Country: Nicaragua
Wrapper: Ecuador (Sumtra)
Binder: Nicaragua (Corojo ’99)
Filler: Nicaragua & Dominican Republic
Size: 6” x 54
Strength: medium-full to full
Price: $7.50

Overall Rating: 8.7

Over the last few years Altadis has teamed up with outside cigar makers, like with Pete Johnson on the Henry Clay Tattoo, but perhaps the most sought after cigar blender of late is AJ Fernandez. Altadis has partnered with AJ on the new H. Upmann Nicaragua, which is a departure from standard Altadis fare. The new H. Upmann Nicaragua is one of those cigars regular production cigars that’ll make a good everyday smoke for the avid cigar enthusiast.

Pre-Light: The H. Upmann Nicaragua has a look that is an updated version of a classic Altadis Upmann, and is definitely a classy looking cigar. The blue color of the main band evokes the blue of the Nicaraguan flag. A secondary cream colored band clearly stats this is an AJ Fernandez blend. Both bands stand out nicely against the dark chocolatey brown wrapper.

There is barnyard aroma to the cigar’s wrapper, with some notes of coffee grounds and earthy soil also present. From the foot of the cigar there is a sweet dark chocolate scent along with dark coffee grounds and earth. A very easy cold draw allows through a good deal of cocoa sweetness and just a little pepper.

Burn: The H. Upmann Nicaragua by AJ Fernandez is a very even burning cigar, with only one of the four cigars for this review having any burn issues, and that quickly correcting itself. A very easy draw lets through a ton of smoke. This is definitely a cigar for a well ventilated room or outside (if you don’t live someplace with 100º heat). The ash clings nicely to the foot of the Upmann Nicaragua.

Flavor: Right away, there is a nice mix of sweet cocoa and coffee. There is an earthiness to the cigar’s flavor profile as the cigar begins to get going. There is a small amount of pepper on the palate and on the retrohale. As the cigar burns into the second third the flavor remain quite consistent. Though not very complex, the flavors that are present in the H. Upmann Nicaragua blend together for a pleasing effect. By the halfway point of the Upmann Nicaragua, the previously subtle pepper becomes a bit more noticeable. Towards the start of the final third of the cigar, nuts and generic wood mix with cocoa and pepper. As the cigar nears the end there is a bitter coffee flavor that occurs, but it is never off-putting in the H. Upmann Nicaragua Toro.

Overall: If one person is in a demand nowadays as a cigar blender for what seems like nearly everyone it is AJ Fernandez. This year he’s paired with the two giants of the cigar world; General on the Hoyo Amistad by AJ Fernandez, and now the H. Upmann Nicaragua by AJ Fernandez for Altadis. The new H. Upmann is unlike anything else in the Altadis portfolio, with a fuller profile that is bound to please dedicated cigar enthusiasts. While flavor-wise, the AJ Fernandez H. Upmann is not the most complex cigar, the existing flavors are pleasant. I have noticed in the smaller robusto size there can be a bitterness to the last third, but in the larger Toro and Robusto sizes this doesn’t occur. Though we don’t take price into account in our Overall Rating, at under $8 the new H. Upmann is a really good cigar for the price, and makes a good everyday cigar.

Pairing: The H. Upmann Nicaragua is one of those cigars that pairs well with a wide variety of beverages. Personally, I enjoy the H. Upmann with a glass of Lagavulin 16 or Bruichladdich Scottish Barley single malts.

Reviewed by Jonathan David (@JonDavid1210)