I recently sat down to smoke what some are calling an homage to cigars of old: "The Banker" from H. Upmann. In robusto "Currency" form, this Ecuadorian Habano wrapped stogie sports a fun throwback vibe, with the dark green cigar band motif making me feel wealthy beyond compare with the stogie in my possession.
Here's what I thought about this fun little nod to the days when cash was still called "greenbacks," and the Upmann brothers were still dabbling in the world of banking.
Altadis wasn't lying when it called the Habano leaf hailing from Ecuador that's wrapped around this H. Upmann cigar as "an attractive dark-brown, oily wrapper." Veiny and shiny, with a fantastic foot that does not burn the nostrils in any way when whiffed, the cocoa and mild spice smells of this cigar are accompanied by a distinct dry sweetness. Unlit pulls are equally pleasant, as are the duo of retro banking inspired bands on both ends of the cigar.
Milder than expected, with a mellow touch of tannin and roasted toffee, the start to The Banker is surprisingly subtle and very approachable. The cigar's Nicaraguan binder is as subdued as it comes, as is the Nicaraguan and Dominican long-fillers within.
Coupled with that Habano Ecuador wrapper and you've got a premium cigar blend that smokes clean and mellow from the moment you set its foot afire. I might need to put a deposit down on a few more of these if the remainder of the cigar is this deliciously smooth.
Approaching the center of The Banker's barrel (or the vault, as I liked to call it), and all of the mild introductory mellowness and strength of the cigar flavor profile have only grown in modest amounts. A dash of earth and a touch of pepper spice are highlighted by hints of unsweetened coffee, and a dry cedar undertone that is very balanced. The Banker is definitely proving to be a wise investment!
Cigar band removed and parting puffs but minutes away, I reflect upon what has transpired up unto this point. The Banker has proven to be both brilliantly balanced and benevolent upon my palate. Bold enough to not be boring, but mellow enough to be approachable by fans of milder premium cigar blends, there's absolute brilliance at every stage of this cigar. Even toward the very end when your money-hungry digits begin to feel singed, you feel the greed for more.
Ash / Burn / Smoke / Draw
Although the ash did flake outward here and there, it tended to hold firm to the remainder of its recently combusted remnants. Physically knocking the ash off the cigar took some strength too, which was surprising, considering how easy of a draw this cigar has once lit. Combustion rate was even, and save for one tiny spot at the halfway mark, construction was spot on. All told, the smoke was cool all the way up to the end, with The Banker providing a short-medium finish upon the palate.
"Currency" by H. Upmann has to be one of the best robusto sized cigars I have ever smoked. Will some people consider this cigar to be a tad one-sided due to its subtleness and continuity in flavor throughout? Most definitely.
But the blend that makes The Banker what it is offers such an elegant approach that it's impossible to not like it. Definitely a must-smoke stogie if you are into medium-strength cigars, or are thinking about jumping from mild to slightly more bold in your next Klaro Cigars 5-pack.
Without question the crushed velvet magenta-colored smoking jacket of the cigar world. I get the feeling that old Hugh Hefner would surely approve...
|Cigar||H. Upmann The Banker "Currency"|
|Tobacco Binder/Filler||Nicaragua/Nicaragua and Dominican Republic|
|Pairing Drink||Japanese Iced Café Latte|