H. Upmann Royal Robusto

H. Upmann Royal Robusto

H. UpmannOrigin : Cuba
Format : Edmundo
Size : 135 (5.3 in) x 22 mm
Ring : 52
Price : ~10 EUR each

Many thanks to Frédéric from La Casa del Habano Knokke (Belgium) for sending me these cigars for review! Check out the shop for a nice selection of Cubans.

Released in the beginning of October 2011, H. Upmann Royal Robusto is a special edition cigar limited to La Casa del Habano stores worldwide. Only 5,000 boxes, each one containing 10 stogies, were created. I can now proudly say that I consumed 1/50000th of the total production, which means that this review is based on one sample only. However, I think that the probability of me smoking at least 10 of these in the coming years is pretty high, if you know what I mean.

Appearance : Rating: ★★★★½
This cigar is far from flawless. Its wrapper doesn’t have a regular shade of brown and features a lot of small darker spots. The Royal Robusto is rather bumpy and the veining is prominent. However, its slightly rustic appearance combined with the perfect triple cap and a top notch roll result in a damn attractive cigar.

Construction : Rating: ★★★★½
After I clipped the triple cap, I discovered a comfortable draw with as much resistance that I am looking for in a cigar. It doesn’t feel like a regular robusto in the mouth and I remind myself that this is a royal one, i.e. it has an extra 2 ring gauge. The Royal Robusto has a VERY slow burn – indeed, the cigar is very tightly packed and the wrapper is super thick. Sometimes, this combination means that there’s a high chance of the cigar going out, but this was not the case here. I knocked off half a star because the white aromatic smoke was not as thick as I’d want it to be. Oh, forgot to tell you everything about the ash – it’s spectacular. White, rock-solid and holds for well over 2 inches.

Flavor : Rating: ★★★★½
The beginning is one of the best ones I ever experienced in a Cuban cigar. Instead of a simple spice kick, I get toasted notes which do contain spice but all the flavors are perfectly balanced. Surprisingly, the cigar doesn’t taste young at this point (I’m fairly sure it was boxed in 2011). The spice, in fact, is simply perfect – entertaining and far from overwhelming. The flavors are so… meaty. The first third is also characterized by other spicy flavors like gingerbread and cinnamon.

As I slowly (very slowly, see my remark about the burn above) transition into the second third, something changes. I need a minute to understand what’s going on as I don’t really expect this cigar to develop any sweetness. But here it is, raisins, dried apricots, honey… amazing. These flavors do not last very long though. Progressively, woody notes begin to dominate the flavor profile. From medium-bodied until this point, the Royal Robusto gets rather full-bodied in the beginning of the last third. This is where I feel the freshness of its tobacco – the flavor profile is rough around the edges with strong notes of leather. It stays this way until the very end.

Value : Rating: ★★★★☆
LCDH Knokke has them at 105 EUR/box of 10, which is a solid value in my book (they are out of stock as of now and available at pre-order).

Overall Rating : Rating: ★★★★½
You might notice that I liked this cigar a lot. In fact, the first half is so good that I’m willing to try ageing it for 6-12 months to see what it does to the last third. From my experience with other young Cubans, the results can be truly rewarding. I know some of you have already received your boxes of H. Upmann Royal Robustos – I’d be curious to hear your opinions about this release!