Thursday, May 22, 2014

Cigar Review: H. Upmann Connoisseur No. 1 (2008)

Being one of the residing Presidents of the Upmann Slim with the Tilted Brim Fan Club, I am always on the lookout for Upmann smokes that deliver the love. I had always collected the No 2 vitola, the Magnum 46, and several smaller sizes including the Majestic. For some reason, I never got around to trying the Connoisseur 1, even though it had a reputation that was impeccable amongst the Upmann faithful and forum nuts. When I finally grabbed a box from 2011, I was hooked instantly. Specifically, the 2008 run seemed to have a cult following, so I scored one from a good buddy on a trade, and figured I would review it first, then the 2011 another time. This Hermoso No 4 size, or classic robusto if you will, has been around pre-1960, and has a reputation amongst Upmann fans as always containing the vintage Upmann flavors you might find in more expensive vitolas, for a more affordable price.

Dry Draw: tons of musk, heavy spice

First Third: Honey and vanilla immediately hit the nose, with both having their own unique distinction settling on my palate post retro. The musk notes I detected on the dry draw settled on the tongue, with hints of spice as well on the finish and the retro tail. The honey moved to the tongue as the third progressed, and the overall profile was somewhat mellow. The balance between the notes was perfect, and set up the classic Upmann profile which hit next. I describe it as a honey musk vanilla flavor that combine forces like Voltron and pimp slap my palate like an 80’s cartoon should.

Second Third: The profile backed down even more, maybe into the mild range at times. The Upmann note is rocking like Dokken, and at this point I am in Upmann Heaven. The vanilla was so strong at times, I craved a milk shake. Hints of sugar began to settle on my lips, with a creamy sweetness at times that reminded me of Lindt milk chocolate.

Final Third: Liqueur begins to blossom, when the combination of spice, nuts, and vanilla all meet with a bit more body on the retrohale to give me the liqueur burn and sensation. The vanilla notes were still rocking on the draw, along with the milk chocolate finish. Slight spices on the retro tail were present, but not enough to overpower at all. Perfect harmony is a good descriptor really, and a nice woody flavor presented itself as well. The finale reminded me of an almond latte, along with the sensation of dipping biscotti really. You know when that cookie flavor, combines with coffee and nuts, and provides a melt in your mouth experience. Yeah, that’s what the Connoisseur one gave me at the end.

Construction: excellent

Final Thoughts: I see why folks rave about the 2008 release, as this was an unreal cigar. When you consider the price point, this is a no brainer, and I wish I would have stocked up on these sooner. Current production is excellent as well, and the 2011 release is smoking extremely well. I would smoke this daily if I could, and would have no problem collecting boxes of these by the dozen if funds permitted.