H. Upmann is an ancient Cuban brand, but if you’re hoping to find bona fide Cubanos here, you’re in the wrong place. The H. Upmanns you’ll find at...
H. Upmann is an ancient Cuban brand, but if you’re hoping to find bona fide Cubanos here, you’re in the wrong place. The H. Upmanns you’ll find at Cigars Direct, or any U.S. retailer for that matter, are made in the Dominican Republic by Imperial Tobacco (who purchased Altadis some years back). The good news is that there are some killer blends here that routinely chart at the top of Cigar Aficionado’s annual Top 25 lists.
Let’s first go back to 1844. Banker Hermann Dietrich Upmann had recently arrived in Cuba and quickly set about starting a cigar business. He bought a factory, got to work, and made a name for himself as a cigar maker. After his death, his nephews would continue using that name to carry on H.D’s legacy, which they did successfully. The brand still sports some of the late 1800s gold medal wins on its packaging (and you thought Cowboys fans were living in the past)!
After the turn of the century, there were troubles in connection with World War I. The Upmanns had a relationship, it seems, with the German intelligence apparatus. The company was put on “U.S. Enemy Trading List” of foreign companies with whom U.S. banks and companies were forbidden to trade. Eventually, these legal troubles and bankruptcy would push the company to the brink of collapse.
H. Upmann cigars then came into the hands of Menéndez, García y Cía Co., the makers of Montecristos. The Cuban revolution and embargo caused further issues for the brand, however, and it became impossible to get any H. Upmanns stateside. This problem was especially pronounced in the Washington, D.C. area, because all Petit Upmann (aka “Demi Tasse”) sticks were snatched up and hoarded by JFK the night before he signed the embargo into law.
The company ultimately branched out into two operations: one in Cuba, and another that put down new roots in the Dominican Republic. The 1844 Reserve, Banker, Vintage Cameroon, and Legacy cigars, just to name a few, all are produced there. If you’re looking for Dominican blends from some of the best cigar makers in the world with an incredibly rich history, you’ve come to the right place. H. Upmann is the real deal.
From the 4.50 X 33 Demitasse Petit Corona, just right for a quick smoke with a cup of espresso, to the elegant 5.60 X 46 Churchill which pairs nicely with a more leisurely afterdinner brandy, aficionados will find an H. Upmann to suit the occasion. These are so reasonably priced that you can enjoy them often without emptying your wallet.