March 28, 2015
Origin : Cuba
Format : Corona (Cosacos)
Size : 5.3 x 42 (135 x 17 mm)
Ring : 42
Price : ~$20 CAD
Now that the warmer weather is melting away the snow, I have had the chance to smoke the last of three sticks I wanted to have before writing this review. Without risking frostbite of course. The H. Upmann Noellas were discontinued some time in the 1980s, but at one point were regular production cigars. They were sold in beautifully presented glass jars of 25. In 2009 they were re-released as a LCDH Exclusivo. I have read they were not actually available until 2010 and some places didn’t see them until 2013. I am not sure when they were released in Canada, I just know I purchased mine at the LCDH Toronto in May of 2014.
I am a big fan of the H. Upmann marca. I can’t say I have smoked every stick in the line-up, but I have yet to have one that was not to my liking. One of the first Cubans I ever smoked was an H. Upmann Corona Junior. Although it is a bit pedestrian as far as Cubans go, it was with this that I realized what all the fuss was about with cigars. So let’s see how the Noellas stacked up for me.
Appearance : [rating:4.5/5]
These sticks all had beautiful milk chocolate wrappers with a slight sheen to them. All appeared to be very well rolled and with the exception of one of the sticks, the caps were well applied. There were some thin veins running through the wrappers, but this really doesn’t bother me as it is a leaf after all. The aromas coming off the wrapper and foot are reminiscent of a dense honey cake, the kind my grandmother makes. If you have never had a honey cake, believe me, it is a very good thing. The cold draw brings out a creamy note that complements the honey cake nicely.
Construction : [rating:4.5/5]
I deducted half a point because I found that for the most part the draw on these all started out a little tight for my liking. However once things got rolling the draw opened and with a little work they did end up producing a good amount of smoke. As mentioned earlier, one of the caps was a little off, but this really is irrelevant because they all held up just fine to a double guillotine cut. The burn on these was spot on and in general these are beautifully constructed. Exactly what you should expect to get from a LCDH Exclusivo.
Flavor : [rating:4/5]
The initial impressions were that this is a mild strength cigar with a medium body. There is that familiar saltiness when I taste my lips post draw. The front end flavor is cream and as it progresses I detect a pleasant sweet note that blends well with the initial creaminess. The sweetness is faint and leaves me wanting more. There is also a slight pepper note on the finish. Near the end of this third is when the draw opens up and the stick really starts producing a good amount of smoke.
In the second third the cream is still present and the sweet note from earlier is now accompanied by some baking spices and a little cedar. When all combined I swore it tasted like gingerbread sometimes on the retrohale, but maybe I am reaching. The finish remained peppery and it seemed to build as I neared closer to the final third. In one of the smokes I detected a weird herbal note in this third that was kind of like rosemary. It caught me off guard, but was not consistent with the other sticks I smoked. Worth a mention though.
In the final third the strength settles in at about medium. I had to take it easy on the retrohale as it became a little strong for my experience. The creamy sweetness seemed almost nonexistent here, while the cedar and pepper competed for dominance. These flavors continue to where the smoke threatens to get hot, which is when I usually leave a cigar to self extinguish.
Value : [rating:2.5/5]
I bought the sticks for this review as singles for around $20 each. So that being said these are far from a good value. With the outrageously high taxes in Canada on tobacco, not much is anymore. On the other hand, if you can still find these in Cuba they are a very reasonable 120 CUC for a jar of 25. To go along with the great cigars you will get one really neat conversation piece in the jar. It is old school cool.
Overall Rating : [rating:4/5]
I really enjoyed these cigars and would have added half a point if they were not so bloody expensive. The total smoking time was about an hour for each, so it is not a long smoke by any means. I found them to be rather engaging because I enjoyed the flavors and their progression throughout the experience. If you can get your hands on a few for a good price give them a try. I still have 2 left, but I couldn’t rationalize buying them again once they are gone.
February 23, 2016
tomAficionado, I smoked my first from a December 2014 jar last night and thought it was very, very good. I totally agree with you regarding long term potential (if I can keep from smoking them all right now). I think the 5000 jar production run only applied to 2009, but I don’t have any documentation as to that.
April 29, 2015
Somehow I missed this review earlier… Great review!
From what I recall, they were released in 2009 as a limited run of 5000 jars. I could be wrong, but I don’t think they’ve been continuously released each year. I was surprised when I saw another batch of jars several years later. I’ve only seen the 2009s and the 2013s. I’d be curious if people here have seen other box codes (box code is on the underside of the cedar round just inside the jar).
February 23, 2016
Hey Matthew, having just acquired a jar of the H.Upmann noellas, I can say I got a May 2015 jar, so it seems the production of 5000 may have slowly been released, but I must say these have long term potential.
March 29, 2015
As a US citizen, I haven’t had the opportunity to try these …. yet. Hopefully that may change soon. Nice review that I can live vicariously through you.
March 28, 2015
You review are excellent!!!!
March 28, 2015
I agree these are wonderful cigars! I have purchased 2 jars of 25 from LCDH Knokke for about $330 each US loved them and the jars are a wonderful keepsake and great for pipe tobacco and as an extra humidor.
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