H. Upmann the Banker Currency
H. Upmann is a brand that has been around for a long time. It started as a Cuban company, developed by a German banker named Herman Upmann in 1844. That company went bankrupt in 1922. The name was acquired by Menendez y Garcia and continued in Cuba until the revolution. When the industry was nationalized, the brand name continued to be produced in Cuba. The owners, however, ended up in the Dominican Republic, where the brand is now under the Altadis USA flagship.
This brings us to today, where Upmann has tried to recreate a special blend the Upmann brothers, Herman and Carl, developed for their most important banking clientele. According to the company, the Banker is as close as you’re going to get to the original blend (without using Cuban tobacco!). The Banker comes in three vitolas: Annuity (8×52), Arbitage (7×56), and Currency (5.5×48).
The Upmann Banker has a classic brown wrapper with a little bit of dark marbling. There are a few veins but smooth seams. I notice some wrinkles in the wrapper near the foot as well as a gap in the seam near the cap. The gap is very small but noticeable.
The Banker has two bands with a translucent sleeve in between them. Both bands are green with gold designs and white and gold print. The sleeve looks like tissue paper and has a gold Upmann logo that runs diagonally across it. I think it actually looks a bit odd the way they placed it on there.
The Banker seems like a pretty solid cigar but does have some give to it. I also find a couple of soft spots. Overall, it feels pretty smooth with no lumps.
The foot has nice aromas of earth and molasses. The barrel smells like earth and cocoa. Very pleasant.
I clip the cap and test the draw. The airflow is very good. I pick up some earth and wood notes.
The Upmann Banker was a little tough to get lit evenly. Once I do, the burn line stays mostly even until I get to the final third. I end up giving two touch-ups and a purge at the end. Also, the seam gap starts to widen, resulting in some of the wrapper coming unraveled near the end. Even so, I am able to finish the cigar.
The draw is great throughout the cigar. The smoke is thick, chewy, and plentiful. It is a strong point for this cigar.
The ash is mostly gray with some white and black mixed in. It is a little flaky. Still, it holds on for one inch. After the first drop, the ash actually becomes more solid.
The H. Upmann the Banker Currency is supposed to be based on a blend that was reserved for high-end banking clients. So far, the construction has been pretty good, not top tier, but pretty good. I hope that the flavor matches the sales pitch!
The first third starts out with earth, black pepper, wood and, of course, leather. To be honest, I haven’t picked up on any leather in a cigar in a while. It was nice for a change! Near the end of this section, the pepper gets spicier and a nut flavor develops.
The second third keeps with the spicy and leathery theme. There is still nuts and wood too. A slight tang develops on the finish as well. The retrohale is definitely spicy!
The final third is more of the same. The finish leaves the feeling of cinnamon on the palate without the actual taste, if that makes sense. The pepper becomes almost a cayenne spice. At the very end, it starts to taste dirty, so I let it go out.
The H. Upmann the Banker Currency is medium-full flavored and medium in strength. Though it was not the most complex cigar, it definitely had some enjoyable flavors. Smoke time was right at 1 hour 30 minutes.
Would I Buy It Again?
Is It An Everyday Smoke?
Not for me.
Would I Buy a Box?
No. I could see getting a 5 or 10 pack.
The H. Upmann the Banker Currency is an enjoyable cigar that is reasonably priced. It provided ample flavor and smoke while being lower or the strength scale. I used to smoke a lot of H. Upmann in the 90’s and early 2000s until consistent construction issues drove me away from the brand. While this one did not have any of those issues and it was nice to smoke what I consider a more “classic” cigar, it is not something I would go for on a regular basis. However, I will say that it is worth a try.