AJ Does H. Upmann Joe Let me be frank — I haven’t been excited about an H. Upmann cigar in… well, ever, honestly. I don’t have anything against the brand, but when I go through my humidor or browsing through the shelfs, it’s not something I seek out. All that being said, I’m a sucker for AJ. Light up an AJ stick in the office, and I’ll immediately float over to your desk like a cartoon character seeking out a hot pie on a windowsill. So the other day, when my nose started sniffing out that fine Nicaraguan leaf burning somewhere in my vicinity, I immediately went investigating. And by investigating, I mostly mean begging for free cigars. And my work was rewarded! After harassing my co-workers for the umpteenth time, I was begrudgingly “gifted” two H. Upmann by AJ Fernandez Toros, and rushed back to my desk to find a cutter and a lighter. Which brings us to our review today. The 2017 release, H. Upmann by AJ Fernandez. This paragraph is for the cigar history buffs out there that like a bit of story behind their blend. If you just want to know how this thing tasted (spoiler alert: it’s pretty friggin’ good) feel free to skip to the next section. The H. Upmann brand has over 170 years of quality cigar production under their belts, originally as a Cuban-only brand, and then extending into an American-friendly Dominican made version as well. They’ve always been a “Cuban cigar brand” at heart, keeping the blends simple, the names traditional, and the packaging classic. Add AJ to the mix though, and we get the first Nicaraguan H. Upmann (that I can think of, at least), with a ton of updates — a stronger body, a more intense flavor profile, and a touch of contemporary color to the bands for those design nerds out there. Clipping the foot, the first few draws on this cigar were a little tight, but after about a half inch things evened out, and the H. Upmann by AJ delivered a razor-sharp burn and effortless draw the rest of the way through. While the body leans towards the fuller side of things, the flavor is balanced and right in the middle of the scale. The Ecuadorian Sumatra wrapper brings out those typical Sumatra flavors with a nice light sweetness and some baking spices, complementing the slight spice and earthiness of the Nicaraguan long-fillers perfectly. The finish is long, but doesn’t overstay its welcome, wearing off right when I was ready to take another puff almost every time. In short, this is certainly a cigar I’d recommend. If you’ve never tried H. Upmann before, this AJ Fernandez made blend is probably one of the best H. Upmann cigars you can get. Pick yourself up a 5-pack, and you won’t regret it. Or, if you’re hesitant, do what I did — convince your friend to buy some, and then mooch a couple off of him! Either way, I’d put the H. Upmann by AJ Fernandez chiefly in the “win” column.