H. Upmann – The Banker – Annuity

The H. Upmann – The Banker is the newest line of Altadis USA’s H. Upmann brand.  A couple of weeks ago, we previewed this upcoming release. The Banker pays homage to the original brand founder Herman Upmann.  Upmann was a German banker who in 1844 went to Havana Cuba and invested in a cigar factory – which became the H. Upmann brand. Around the time the company was founded, Upmann created a Cuban tobacco blend for his best customers, friends, and family.  This H. Upmann Banker blend is meant to try to replicate a similar styled smoke to that personal blend of Upmann’s.  While we don’t have a baseline to compare The Banker to that original blend, today we take a look at this cigar. Atladis USA has been delivering some solid cigars over the past couple of years, and The Banker appears to be another one.

Back when we assessed 2011’s H. Upmann 1844 Reserve, we provided some background into the Cuban roots of the H. Upmann line and how it came to Altadis:

The name H. Upmann is one of the classic names in the cigar industry.   This cigar has its origins back in Cuba where founder Herman Upmann opened his first cigar factory in 1844 (thus the name of the cigar here).  The company went bankrupt in 1922 and the name (and production) was eventually acquired by Menendez y Garcia co. – the company that made Montecristo.  The Cuban Revolution led to the nationalization of Cuban cigar companies – including H. Upmann.  As a result of this, Menendez and Garcia would move the brand to the Canary Islands, then to the Dominican Republic.  The brand would eventually come under the ownership of Altadis.  The end result is that this is why there is a Cuban H.Upmann and a Dominican H.Upmann.   

Now let’s dive deeper into H. Upmann – The Banker and see what this cigar brings to the table:

Blend Profile

The Banker is being made in the Dominican Republic featuring a three country multinational blend.

Wrapper: Ecuadorian Habano
Binder: Nicaraguan (Jalapa)
Filler: Nicaraguan, Dominican

Another H. Upmann cigar that pays homage to Upmann’s roots in the banking industry – the H. Upmann Bank Note was recently announced as a limited production exclusive to the Tobacconists Association of America (TAA).

Vitolas Available

The H. Upmann Banker will be launched in three vitolas.  Each name has a reference to the banking industry.  We have learned that the cigars are packaged in 15 count boxes.

Currency: 5 1/2 x 48
Annuity: 6 x 52
Arbitage: 7 x 56


For this cigar experience I smoked the Annuity – which is the toro-sized offering of The Banker. The Ecuadorian Habano wrapper has almost a dark caramel color to it. There is some oil on the surface of this wrapper. While there are visible wrapper seams and visible veins, the surface to this wrapper is primarily smooth.

H. Upmann – The Banker – Annuity (Sleeve Removed)

The banding is most interesting on this cigar.  The main band is a “currency green” color with some gold adornments on it – including a gold colored H. Upmann sun-wheel logo.  On the center of the band is the text “THE BANKER” in white font.  Just below that text is the text “H. UPMANN” in a smaller gold font.  On the left and right side of the band is the text “H. UPMANN” in smaller gold font with the text “1844” in gold font just below it.  There is also some gold trim close to the edges of the band.

The cigar itself has a tissue paper sleeve on it with the gold H. UPMANN sun-wheel logo on it. Resting at the top of the tissue paper sleeve is an identical band to the main one that is on the cigar itself.  On the lower end of the tissue paper is a footer band.  This band is similar to the main band but does not contain a sun-wheel nor does it contain the “1844” text.

H. Upmann – The Banker: Sleeve Removed

Preparation for the Cigar Experience

After removing the sleeve of the H. Upmann – The Banker Annuity, I then proceeded to make a straight cut into the cigar.  Once the cap was clipped, I then moved on to the pre-light draw.  The dry draw provided some notes of natural tobacco, chocolate, and a mild spice.  Overall I considered the pre-light draw to The Banker to be satisfactory.  At this point I was ready to light up this cigar and see what the smoking stage would have in store.

Flavor Profile

The start to the H. Upmann – The Banker provided some white pepper out of the gate.  The pepper could also be detected on the after-draw.  In the early stages some notes of earth, natural tobacco, and chocolate also surfaced.

Midway through the first third, the earth/natural tobacco combination was primary.  The chocolate and pepper notes were close secondary notes.  For the most part, this was the flavor profile throughout the first half.

The second half saw the earth / natural tobacco notes emerge as the main primary flavor.  The spice notes kicked up a bit, but never quite make it to being a primary flavor.  The chocolate notes were now secondary – and remained further in the background.  This is the way the flavor profile of The Banker held until the end.  The resulting nub was soft to the touch and cool in temperature.

Burn and Draw

From a burn standpoint, I found the H. Upmann – The Banker to perform good.  While there was some jaggedness along the burn line, the burn line still did not stray and was not prone to any canoeing or tunneling.  The resulting ash was not overly tight, but still firm enough where it did not have any unexpected chunks fall off.  The ash had a charcoal gray color throughout the smoking experience. The burn rate and burn temperature were both ideal.  The burn rate and burn temperature were both ideal.

Burn of the H. Upmann – The Banker

The draw performed very well – it was not too tight and not too loose.  This was a low maintenance cigar to derive flavors from.

Strength and Body

The Banker is not going to be a nicotine bomb.  It has just enough strength to satisfy a wide range of cigar enthusiasts.  I assessed this to be a medium strength cigar from start to finish.  As for the body, the Banker starts off with medium-bodied notes.  By the second third, the flavors got a little heavier on the pallet and crossed into the medium to full-bodied range – where they remained for the remainder of the cigar experience.  In terms of strength versus body, I gave a slight edge to the body.

Final Thoughts

Overall, the H. Upmann – The Banker provided what I call a solid cigar experience. This isn’t going to be a cigar that’s going to deliver anything revolutionary, but it does have some nice flavors.  At the same time, you aren’t going to get a lot in the way of radical flavor transitions with this cigar – namely, once the flavor notes surface, there only are some slight changes along the way.  At the same time, the flavors still kept me interested.  I can’t say it had a Cubanesque feel, nor can I compare it to what was in Herman Upmann’s original blend, but I still liked it.  This is a cigar that I could recommend to either a novice or experienced cigar enthusiast.  As for myself, it’s a cigar still worth smoking again – and it did just enough for me to make it worthy of a fiver in my book.


Burn: Good
Draw: Excellent
Complexity: Low
Strength: Medium
Body: Medium (1st third), Medium to Full (2nd Third)
Finish: Good
Assessment: 3.0 – The Fiver
Score: 88


News: H. Upmann – The Banker to be Launched by Altadis USA (Cigar Preview)
Price: $7.75
Source: Purchased
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