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H Upmann Hispaniola by Jose Mendez Belicoso
W: Ecuadorian Sumatra
B: Dominican (Olor)
F: Dominican Pilotico + Andullo
Origin: Tabacalera de Garcia, La Romana
Named for the island where the Dominican Republic and Haiti are located, Hispaniola showcases a trio of dynamite Dominican tobaccos – aromatic Olor, rich Pilotico, and strong Andullo – under a silky Sumatra wrapper. The result of a collaboration with famed tobacco producer Jose Mendez, the Hispaniola is intended to pay tribute to old-school Dominican cigar-making and its blend recipe had me drooling. After I had cleaned myself up from the drool, I got down to business.
Pre-light draws gave off some pungent cedar, nutmeg-like baking spices, a trickle of caramel sweetness, and just a hint of pepper. If I were basing my review off of cold draws only, I would say this was a masterpiece of complexity. But I’m not. And so out came the flame.
The Hispaniola opened up with bold cedar, zesty baking spices, and a pinch of red pepper flake. There was a pleasant chalkiness to the texture of the smoke, the draw was ample, and smoke production was great. I need to point out that though this cigar is billed as a Belicoso, it’s not like most Belicosos I have witnessed in that it has a longer, gradual taper at the head more akin to a traditional Cuban Piramide vitola. This was not only visually appealing but seemed to nurture the ease of smoking I was experiencing. Pretty cool.
In the second third, the spice shifted to the background allowing the creamy cedar to really shine through. I was now rocking a thick grey ash and the smoke was buttery-smooth with little malty notes popping up every so often.
As I burned into the final third the creaminess subsided a bit and the richness of the cedar from the intro made a triumphant return, this time without the spiciness. Instead I finally got some of the sweet caramel suggested in the cold draw, which rounded things off nicely. All throughout this cigar, but in this last portion particularly, the balance of flavors was impeccable. All the tasting notes present came together and countered each other beautifully like a perfectly-mastered audio track.
Yes, folks, the Hispaniola Belicoso is a solid gold hit, and it’s high on the charts for me. This thing had awesome, easily recognizable flavors, smooth transitions, and a flawless burn and draw performance – what more can you ask for? If you said “inviting appearance”, well, this cigar had that too, although it’s quickly overshadowed by its awesome taste once you light up. Best H. Upmann ever? It’s certainly a contender, find out for yourself right here.