Origin : Cuba
Format : Robusto
Size : 124 x 20 mm
Ring : 50
Price : $18.85 (Canada), $8.50 Cuban pesos (Cuba)
The Ediciones Limitadas are released every year and are manufactured with carefully selected wrapper, filler and binder tobaccos which have been aged for a period of at least 2 years. The wrapper for these cigars comes from the top leaves of the Tapado – shade-grown black Cuban tobacco plant, and is a relevant characteristic that identifies these special productions. This wrapper is usually darker than the wrappers of regular range sizes of the brand and this is immediately noticeable to anyone who smokes H. Upmann cigars like I do.
The Ediciones Limitadas are made with the finest tobacco leaves coming from Vuelta Abajo and also feature long filler from that region. Since my favorite vitola is the Robusto, I was intrigued by the H. Upmann 2012 Edicion Limitada Robusto. This is a size that does not exist in the regular production run of H. Upmann Cigars. For cost purposes, I don’t set out to try all of the Limitadas, instead I focus on the ones that interest me.
Appearance : Rating: (3.75)
As can be seen in the attached images the Upmann Robusto is very veined and rustic-looking. It had a very dark almost chocolaty wrapper. The seams were raised and clearly visible and the triple cap was crookedly applied. For a Limited release, enthusiasts like myself expect a little better. Granted, I have seen nicer samples so it hopefully does not appear to be an across the board flaw but my review is based on the sample I smoked.
Construction : Rating:
Notwithstanding the observations made in the appearance, it was comforting that none of these issues affected the smoking experience of this cigar. The draw and burn were perfect. The dark grey ash was firm, compact and never flaked. It held on firm for a good two inches. The cigar felt a little spongy to the touch but seemed well packed with just the right amount of resistance on the draw. The smoke output was excellent and the cigar felt exceptionally balanced in my hand.
Flavor : Rating: (4.25)
My sample came from a box with an April 2012 manufacture date. I’ve given them slightly over a year to stabilize and rest a little in my humidor.
The pre-light aroma of the cigar was sublime. It offered up a very pleasing bouquet of sweet cedar, earthy tobacco and that unmistakable tobacco aroma one gets from a fine Cuban cigar. The pre-light draw was perfect and offered more sweet wood notes with some nice salt on the lips. Just a hint of pepper was noticed and I was able to pick up earthy notes, tea, dried fruit and cocoa.
Lighting the cigar greets you with tremendous smoke output and an unmistakable Cuban salty twang on the lips. The front of the palate is hit with sweet oak notes with some caramel and leather with a kick of cracked black pepper spice at the back end. Definitely enough spice to let you know it’s there but not enough to get in the way of the flavors.
The first third offered a rich smoke, a little drier than the usual velvety smoke of regular production Upmanns but there was still some sweet honey-like residue on the palate. Primary flavors were of oak with sweet earthy notes and hints of caramel and leather. Hints of toasted nuts and roasted coffee beans were present on the occasional puff. A perfect amount of black pepper on the back of the palate with a pleasing salty residue on the lips helped balance all the flavors.
By the end of the first third the smoke took on a more familiar creamy, velvety texture that the Upmanns are known for. Flavor-wise, the second third offered much of the same flavors but they became bolder and more definable. There were a little more woodsy notes and bolder bursts of cocoa and coffee. Every puff revealed something new. There was still some pepper on the medium finish. As I passed the halfway mark the cigar took on more earthy notes but still had some cocoa and coffee.
The final third offered yet another transition as the cigar got sweeter again with more hints of chocolate, espresso and leather. It continued to offer up notes of sweet oak and the smoke, while not as velvety, still had sweet residue to it. There was still some black pepper spice in the finish and some pleasing saltiness on the front of the palate. Each puff, so it seemed, hit you with a salty tingle on the lips with a variety of flavors. It was the first cigar in a while that I truly smoked down to the nub.
Value : Rating:
At $18.00 a cigar these aren’t cheap BUT this is what to expect when purchasing Cuban cigars outside of the Island these days. Tobacco taxes are really putting a bite on the value of these cigars. Mind you, this is what I paid through my duty free supplier in Canada where we have some of the highest tobacco taxes in the world. I have seen them retail for as much as $27.00 but if you are fortunate to have friends that often travel to Cuba, they can be had for roughly $8.50 (Cuban Pesos). Value has a lot to do with the enjoyment one gets out of a cigar. The H. Upmann Robusto is not intended to be a daily smoke and it certainly isn’t priced as one. This is clearly that special occasion cigar or that cigar you desire when you have an hour and fifteen minutes of undisturbed time.
Overall Rating : Rating: (4.25)
This limited edition is a winner and is definitely worth trying to pick one or two up for that special smoking day when you have time to cuddle with a book or a cocktail. It is a very flavourful cigar that offers many interesting transitions. It is complex and full bodied. Upmann smokers will recognize that typical H. Upmann flavour but multiplied by 3. It is not as sweet as the Royal Robusto instead, it is a bit more earthy and woodsy but in a nice way with the familiar creamy and velvety flavors always shining through.