Diving into H. Upmann – Swiss Cuban Cigars reviews the brand and the Corona Major

Swiss Cuban Cigars is the biggest online retailer of authentic Cuban cigars. And this means that our team is well versed in the history and development of every major brand.

In order to provide customers with a smooth and trustworthy buying experience, we like to review different brands. In this blog, we’re looking at the history of H. Upmann Cigars before diving more deeply into a review of the Upmann Coronas Major in particular.

History of the H. Upmann cigar brand

H. Upmann cigars date all the way back to 1844, making the brand one of the oldest. The eponymous Upmann was a German banker who was living in Havana, Cuba. Herman Dietrich Upmann decided to take advantage of the burgeoning craze for cigars by creating his very own brand that he intended to use to promote his bank.

If he was around today, Upmann would be considered a disruptive innovator with a strong entrepreneurial bent! His decision to fuse the worlds of financial services and cigar manufacturing proved to be brilliantly successful for him.

Initially, Upmann catered specifically for tobacco manufacturers and dealers. Before he knew it, his brand of cigars was becoming more and more popular. Between 1862 and 1893, H. Upmann won seven gold medals across international exhibitions.

Buyers of H.Upmann cigars will see these gold medals immortalised in the inside of the boxes the cigars are sold in today.

Intrigue during the Great War

Upmann himself retired in 1890 and the business was passed on to his nephew Heinrich. The nephew ran the brand along with his business partners Theodore Garbade and Heinrich Runken up until 1914.

At the outbreak of the Great War, the brand was run by Alberto and Hermann Upmann. The brothers used the business and their links in the US and Cuba to cover up their work for German Intelligence.

Historians say that the Upmanns were responsible for kicking off the 1916 revolt in Haiti and the Dominican Republic. It’s documented that the bank was a regular stopover for German agents travelling between Europe and Mexico.

In May 1922, the brothers were charged with financial fraud by the Cuban AG. Alberto used the tobacco business as a cover for any work he may have done for the family’s bank. The charges were eventually dropped. However, this meant that tobacco outlet was bankrupt.

The Revolution and beyond

Luckily for cigar lovers, the brand was bought by J Frankau & Co and soon picked up production under the H. Upmann brand. In 1935, it changed hands again and was bought by JR Freeman & Son, who tried unsuccessfully to manage a Cuban business from London.

A couple of years later it was again sold to the manufacturers of the Montecristo brand – Menendez, Garcia y Cia Co. They kept the licence for manufacturing H.Upmann right up until the Cuban Revolution in 1969, after which the industry was nationalised.

Just before US President John F Kennedy signed the embargo against Cuba, he sent his aide to buy as many boxes of his favourite Cuban cigar from tobacconists. This favourite cigar was the H.Upmann Petit Upmann and the president ended up with 1,200 of them.

H.Upmann cigars in 2022

Today, H.Upmann is owned by Imperial Brands and manufactured by Cuba’s Habanos SA. The cigars are hand rolled in the original factory, which is now called Jose Marti. The tobacco in H.Upmann coes from the Vuelta Abajo – the premium tobacco region in Cuba.

The brand remains very popular with cigar lovers today and has a relatively wide range of vitolas, including (but not limited to) the following which were all first released prior to the Cuban Revolution:

  • Epicure.
  • Corona Junior.
  • Corona Minor.
  • Connoisseur No. 1.
  • Petit Corona.
  • Regalias
  • Corona Major.
  • Majestic.
  • Magnum 46.
  • Upmann No. 2.
  • Monarcas
  • Sir Winston.

Special releases and limited editions include:

  • Magnum 50 released in 2005.
  • Magnum 48 released in 2009.
  • Robusto released in 2012.
  • Magnum 56 released in 2015.

Reviewing the Upmann Corona Major

The H.Upmann Coronas Major is just over five inches long and has a ring gauge of 42. Reviews often mention the wonderful aroma given out by the cigar as soon as it’s unboxed.

There is a distinct sweet scent of tobacco and the first third of the smoke leaves a velvety sensation, with creamy and thick smoke. Flavours for the first third revolve around the richness of coffee, leather and cedar with a very slight spicy feel left on the tongue.

The second third is where the cedar flavour kicks in harder with yet more very rich, creamy smoke. The final third evolves even further with floral hints as well as notes of honey and sweetness.

Overall, the Upmann Coronas Major is well reviewed for its affordability. It’s a great choice for regular smokers and is an accessible choice for newbies to the world of cigars.

It takes about an hour to smoke start to finish, with lots of complex flavours packed into the smoking experience. Rich and creamy smoke goes alongside an earthy spiciness throughout every third.

The final word

The Corona Major has been in constant production since 1937, and it’s safe to say that it’s stood the test of time for cigar aficionados. It’s become one of the most popular of the line for newcomers to Cuban cigar collecting, thanks to its dependable lightness.

Gentle but complex flavours along with a smooth draw make this a great choice for pretty much everyone who is interested in trying a Cuban cigar. It’s also great for celebrations, such as a wedding, as it’s likely to be enjoyed by most smokers.

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