Cigar Review – H Upmann Sun Grown #2 Torpedo

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Its a cold and wintery afternoon here in Melbourne and the missus is gone for a few hours so what better way than to spend some quality time alone… with a cigar. The Sun Grown is my first H Upmann so I was keen to see what they’re like.

Background

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The Sun Grown line was first introduced at the 2010 IPCPR. Handmade at the La Flor de Copan factory in Honduras, Altadis states:

The new cigar is highlighted by sun-grown wrapper leaves cultivated in Ecuador, which is known for some of the sweetest, most flavorful wrapper leaves grown anywhere in the world. This superior wrapper surrounds a hand-selected Broadleaf binder and a blend of fine Nicaraguan and Honduran fillers.

Connoisseurs of sun-grown cigars will “savor the fuller body and deep, complex flavor sensations of this intoxicating cigar,” said a company spokesperson, who added, “this new cigar exemplifies H. Upmann’s 166 year tradition of excellence.

H. Upmann Sun Grown is available in six sizes: Corona, Short Churchill, Lancero, Magnum, No. 2 and Churchill.

Vital stats

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  • Release : Sun Grown #2
  • Vitola : Torpedo (6.25 x 52)
  • Wrapper : Ecuadorian habano
  • Binder : Broadleaf
  • Filler : Nicaragua, Honduras
  • Strength : Medium
  • Release date : 2010
  • MSRP : USD$7 from Famous
  • Pairing : None
  • Number of cigars smoked for review : 1

Prelight

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Appearance: I quite like the look of this torpedo, it looks robust and the dark broadleaf wrapper is quite fetching. The wrapper itself feels average, neither rough nor smooth. No tooth evident. Veins are promounced but wispy and delicate in appearance. No spots or blemishes. The band is quite fetching with its bold gold/red/yellow colour scheme…ornate trimmings but the overall design is fairly simple.

 

Construction: The wrapper seams are noticeable. Feels a bit crunchy on the press. It’s been sitting inside cellophane for the past few months and I did dry box this stick over 11hrs. The head of the stick feels concrete solid, with a bit of a crack in the pointy end. Hmmm. I cut the head, and the wrapper proceeds to unravel. Uh oh… Draw seems tight so I cut it twice more.

Cold draw: Faint smell of sweet tobacco and leather, but not much else.

Time to get lit.

First third

 

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2:23pm

  • Greeted with primary aromas of chocolate and leather. A bit of earthiness.
  • A moderate amount of sweetness in the mouth and pepper on the retrohale.
  • The finish is fairly smooth and oily. Medium-full body. Slight bitterness on the lips.
  • Wood noticeable in the back.

 

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5 mins in

  • Roasted coffee coming in. Chocolate and leather still the primary flavours.
  • Smoke production is modest, thin wispy trails. Wonky burn line needs a touchup.
  • Dry grass also making an appearance.
  • Wood and pepper is more distinct on the retrohale, but the aftertaste is chocolate sweetness.
  • Quality of the ash ins’t great, quite flakey and easy to shake off. This characteristic will persist for the entire experience.

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23 mins in

  • 2nd touchup to fix burn line and canoeing.
  • Tiny hint of nuts, but otherwise nuts, fruits, minerals largely absent so far.
  • Dry woody bitterness is increasingly part of the aftertaste.

Second third

2:59pm  34 mins in

  • Not much of a change in the main flavour profile. Dominant flavours are chocolate, leather and increasingly wood.
  • Still smooth and oily, but less than before
  • Secondary flavours of grass and bitterness, not “harsh” yet but its a distraction
  • Power is medium, body is medium full.
  • 3rd touchup required. The binder on this thing is burning too slow. The chocolate flavours immediately spring back to life but the shitty burn is limiting this cigar’s potential.

42 mins in

  • A nice rich bread-like doughy taste starts to come in, adding depth to the flavour profile.
  • The little bit of dry grassy harshness underneath all of this is definately a distraction.

 

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49 mins in

  • In trying to roll out a potental plug located underneath the wrapper, a second wrapper crack appears down the shaft
  • The chocolate is slowly evolving into a rum & raisin ice cream type of flavour. Nicely complimenting each other. Unfortunately this is undercut by the notes of grassy bitterness in the background.
  • Leather and wood still here, but in retreat.

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1hr in

  • 4th touch up to correct the binder, and the chocolate / rum&raisin flavours become more robust again.

 

1 hr 12 mins in

  • 5th touch up as we approach the end of the second third. I’m rapidly losing interest here as the grassy flavours take control.
  • There’s an edge of harsh bitterness, together with the fading of the sweet chocolate, is not appealing.
  • The burn seems to be mitigated by herfing, but that brings out more grass than chocolate.
  • Overall, the flavours at this point feels flat, without the depth or complexity of the first half, even in the retrohale.

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1 hr 21 mins in

  • Wrapper falls away completely after I take off the band.

Final Third

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1 hr 26 mins

  • 6th touch up, not getting any flavour improvements.
  • Had enough of this, I pull the pin near the start of the final third.

Verdict

Well… I’m less than impressed. To its credit the Sun Grown #2 made a flying start. Had a lot of promise. In the first third, oily smooth and tasty flavours of sweet chocolate, leather and earth supported by wood underneath. A flavour transition with rum & raisin partnering the sweet chocolate was noticeable in the second third, and towards the final third a reduction in the complexity and depth of the finish with a flat grassy bitterness taking hold.

Unfortunately, like a marriage gone sour, this cigar started off well and turned a dog rocket due to poor burn about 80% of the way. The filler was burning fine but the binder was having shit time staying lit throughout the majority of this experience and several touchups were required to bring the flavours back to life. Dry boxed this for around 11 hours beforehand too. The wrapper cracked in multiple locations, and by the end simply fell off.

To be fair, it was only a single sample. Construction and burn issues with one lone sample is not enough for me to write off the entire Sun Grown #2 line, but its not something I’d actively seek out again.

The Lobster

 

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