Like the Por Larrañaga “Cuban Grade,” the H. Upmann Signature is an extension brand created by Cuban Imports in conjuction with Altadis USA. It was introduced earlier this year and looks completely different from the other Upmann lines. As with the PL Cuban Grade, a lot of effort has been expended on the packaging — a striking black box emblazoned with the famous banker’s signature (of course) and a newly designed black and silver band.
Setting this line even further apart is the fact that it is made in Honduras, not the Dominican Republic. The Signature line is blended by Jesus Antonio Pineda Henriquez (about whom I can find nothing on the internets except that he is allegedly a “master blender”) in the Flor de Copan factory.
Available in four sizes, including this lovely 5 x 50 perfecto, the Signature features a Nicaraguan binder, filler from Nicaragua, Honduras and Peru, and a choice of wrappers: either Nicaraguan grown Connecticut Shade, or a San Andres maduro.
The Connecticut Shade Double Eagle is an attractive cigar with a soft roll and a perfectly shaped nipple foot. Easily lit with a single match, the draw opens up almost immediately after the tip is torched. The draw seems a little too easy, but the burn is slow and even. After a couple of inches this stick gets extremely soft, almost mushy between the fingers, so I had to be careful not to crack the smooth golden wrapper.
Like the PL Cuban Grade, the Signature has aroma in spades. A creamy sweet honey-like aroma rises from the foot of this cigar. It’s mild to medium in body, maybe a little more on the mild side, but the flavor grows to a solid medium at the finale. The primary flavor through the first two thirds is toasty, then bready, and it’s nicely accented by the sweet honey and floral hints on the nose. Some gentle pepper makes an entrance at the mid-point and gracefully increases in intensity but never really takes charge.
This is a fine mild cigar with a good amount of complexity. The only detraction is a somewhat dirty aftertaste that is especially noticeable in the first third. Strong coffee might take care of this, since this is really a morning or mid-day smoke anyway.
The H. Upmann Signature line retails in the 5 to 7 dollar range. If you really enjoy mild cigars, this might be worth the asking price. Like the PL Cuban Grade, this is a high quality cigar with a level of complexity unusual for mild bodied smokes. I’m more of a medium to full bodied kind of smoker though, so I’ll probably give this one a pass unless I’m really in the mood for a mild one.