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Stogie Reviews: Punch Upper Cut Robusto

1 Jun 2010

Back in 2008, General Cigar held an “election” between two cigars vying to become the newest addition to the Punch lineup. Upper Cut, revealed at the 2009 IPCPR Trade Show, crossed the finish line as the result of nationwide taste-testing, consumer feedback, and subsequent blend adjustments.

Punch Upper Cut Robusto“Upper Cut by Punch boasts a taste reminiscent of the base brand punctuated by a profound flavor that highlights the cigar’s Nicaraguan components,” said Debo Mukherjee, vice of president of marketing for General Cigar, in a pre-IPCPR press release. “Considering that this blend was test-smoked and personally selected by tenured cigar smoking consumers nationwide, we are confident that it has all the makings of a ‘knockout’ at retail.”

This presumed “knockout” includes a rustic, oily Ecuadorian Sumatra wrapper. Underneath are leaves from Ometepe, a volcanic island rising out of Lake Nicaragua with a tobacco production exclusive to General (the Macanudo 1968, La Escepción, and Hoyo de Tradición also feature Ometepe leaves). The outcome, according to General, “is a cigar that reveals an intriguing of range of flavors at the first draw and delivers a rich, balanced finish.”

Three sizes are available: Grand Corona (6 x 45), Toro (6.6 x 54), and Robusto (5.25 x 50). After removing the foot band from the sweet-smelling Robusto—General really seems to be boasting their Ometepe access—I’m struck by how different Upper Cut looks from the rest of the Punch lineup. From Deluxe and Gran Puro to Rare Corojo and Grand Cru, every other Punch blend comes dressed in a traditional and recognizable red and gold band. But General seems to be positioning Upper Cut as a distant cousin of Punch rather than a full-fledged family member.

I smoked three Robustos for this review. Once lit, each exhibited a wonderfully pleasant flavor of sweet wood, cherry, coffee creamer, and leather. Balanced and subtle with a warm, tingly spice on the finish. I would have loved the Upper Cut to maintain this profile to the nub.

But all good things must come to an end. As the trustworthy burn works toward the middle and the white, powdery ash holds beautifully off the foot, the taste begins to devolve. First the sweet wood begins to dissipate. Then a bold, meaty charcoal taste starts to overshadow the Upper Cut’s finer traits. The final third is a mere shadow of the Robusto’s promising beginning.

Only time will tell if age will improve this cigar’s second half. For now, taking into account its excellent construction and approachable price of $5-7 apiece, the Punch Upper Cut Robusto earns three stogies out of five.

[To read more cigar reviews, please click here.]

Patrick A

photo credit: Stogie Guys

2 Responses to “Stogie Reviews: Punch Upper Cut Robusto”

  1. Padronnie Tuesday, June 1, 2010 at 10:31 am #

    I prefer the original Punch band. It's such a classic look. Not sure why they felt the need to go away from it for the Upper Cut.

  2. Cameorn Wednesday, June 2, 2010 at 6:06 am #

    I like the band on the foot!