9/22/17

H. Upmann by AJ Fernandez - Cigar Review

H. Upmann by AJ Fernandez 654 Toro
WRAPPER: Ecuadorian Sumatra
BINDER: Nicaraguan Corojo 99
FILLER: Dominican, Nicaraguan

STRENGTH: Medium-Full
ORIGIN: Nicaragua

I
A black pepper blast rides primary tandem with a chocolate cake made cake-like via a yeasty tobacco note pushing upward from high-middlings. All this is held up by a plank a' cedar over honey malt sweetened earth. A few puffs later on, and the cedar plank is being hoisted and itself braced by coffee bean, then poured espresso, then caramel latte bounding up from said earthiness. Pepper maybe not dials-back, but blends into the profile from top-down. Leather starts in the under-belly and works up through the profile. A nifty cream swirls hither and thither. Grains darkly flow into middlings with their own molasses attachment.

Medium, robustly-so outta the gate. Seems bound for Medium-full. Not much strength as of yet, keeps me to "medium." Body is medium full, flavors hit that robust medium on-the-nose. Said body is a growing cream and leathery oils. Finish is a spiced sweetness of long cedar legg'd goodness. Thus far the AJF Upmann shows a hallmark of upper echelon Fernandez blends: restraint.

Burn-line is wobbly but not so much as to require a flicked Bic redirection. A slightly dry and widely stacked bit a' dimes grows from there. Pale to medium-grey, it makes an inch of growth nicely 'nuff. Draw is a medium+ tension and evenly-so. The stick seems all-told to be rolled well, no hard/soft spots and barely any softening against light. Seams are nigh invisible. Pacing is swell. Smoke out-put is toward the oomphy side a' moderate. A nice sheen develops on shaft as the opening stanza winds down.
II
Citrus sidles up to the profile, a candied lemon thing but not so much as lemon candy. Almond butter floods in soon-after. Keeps flooding. Piquant says hello in a mulling spice manner, which is where the citrus goes to mellow-some. Two planks of cedar, now. Chocolate cake seems the anchor in a well-conducted storm. Caramel latte stays and a new Americano is poured higher-up. Grains are oats, in case you were wondering like I was wondering. Leather gets its own suede under-belly nuance.  Middle stanza winds down in a 'baccy-forward manner that exhibits just a half-tick of rawness.

Nice nuances through-out. Interesting if not startling complexities. Transitions are evolutions of notes. I'd say we're at medium-full now. There exists a vague threat of mottling or at least a muffled delivery come mid-point. Body features a slyly rising tongue-tingle. Finish sees an acidic lilt added toward its end.

Construction holds with no new news to report. Combustion seems to have cooled-some, and binder can be seen lagging-some if you roll off ash and look head-on into char. Foot-smoke mellows noticeably. Smoke out-put springs to life on the puffing, humsoever. Mascara line uglies up a bit as it widens.

III
That chocolate cake anchor ain't anchoring anymore. It's now more of a Swiss Miss packet sprinkled about. Without that yeasty quality, tobacco bites-some in the forefront. Middlings lose a plank a cedar and the remaining one suffers. Mottling. All the other notes flood the palate like a movie theater ablaze with only a single fire exit. Muffled tho, too. A slow flooding? A bingo hall ablaze in a senior assisted-living hall... with two exits. Cream is taken over by leathery oils. Leather/almond butter/mulling spice lead. I guess. Still pleasant 'nuff, but too a tick laboriously paced. Although burn-line has even'd all on its lonesome. Definitely a very Upmann oriented AJ offering. I'd say we're back to a medium profile, having ne'er been overly medium-full.

Can I break off on a completely un-related baseball (sorta) topic? The other day, a little girl got walloped by a stray ball in the damn Yankees stands. She's fine now. I hate sitting behind protective netting. Last season I did, because Snack Tray wasn't old enough to keep his head on even an A ball Eugene Emeralds caliber swivel. This year, we sat in my beloved bleachers. No netting. He's seven now. Next year, he gets to bring a glove and run 'em down. Take all that as ya'd like. I will say this: the world needs less, not more, protective netting.
FINAL GRADE: B+
A 90-100 B 80-89 C 70-79 D 60-69 F 0-59

IN ADDITION:
Buy the H. Upmann By AJ Fernandez Toro from my buds, my pals, my chums at Cigars City. I'm somewhat curious to know what ya think. Not really. Buy it anyways and keep yer thoughts to yerself.

"I Was the Cook" Kaplowitz Radio: September 20, 2017

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