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Stogie Reviews: H. Upmann Magnum 50 (Cuban)

2 Dec 2010

The H. Upmann brand got its start when, in the mid-nineteenth century, a German banker named Herman Upmann moved to Cuba to try his hand at cigar making. Today the brand is among the oldest in the industry with a dozen regular production vitolas and two limited edition releases.

The first limited edition, the Magnum 50, came out in 2005. It was a double robusto-sized smoke that received excellent ratings in the mainstream cigar media. Cigar Aficionado, for example, awarded it a 90 and named it a Top 25 cigar of the year. The magazine’s editors praised the cigar’s “powerful, almost raw smoke” and said they’d “like to see this as a regular vitola in the Cuban stable.”

In 2008 they got their wish. That’s when Habanos SA, Cuba’s state-owned tobacco monopoly, released a regular production Magnum 50 at the Habanos Festival—an annual showcase of Cuban distributors and products. Like its predecessor, the newer Magnum 50 is handmade with Vuelta Abajo tobaccos and sold in the double robusto format (6.3 x 50).

The cigar features several large veins, double bands, and a reddish, rustic wrapper with an assortment of large bumps. The pre-light aroma is of faint graham cracker.

After clipping the Magnum 50, taking note of its firm draw, and toasting the foot, I find a flavor of woodsy spice and syrup. Nice but a far cry from exceptional or unique. With a short finish of charred meat, the overall effect is dry and on the lighter side of medium-bodied.

Moving into the second third, as the draw opens, a black pepper spice emerges. Here the cigar develops much more complexity. Notes of honey, coffee, cedar, and leather add depth. Graham cracker spice is the predominant flavor in the final inches, the tastiest segment of the smoke.

While many Cubans have fallen victim to poor combustion qualities in recent years, the Magnum 50 smokes like a champ. All three of the samples I examined for this review exhibited straight, maintenance-free burns and stable ashes. I wouldn’t accept anything less from a cigar that retails for $11 to $15.

The Magnum 50 is a smart buy at the lower end of that spectrum, especially given its potential to improve with age. For now, given its enjoyable transitions and depth-building profile, this cigar is worthy of four stogies out of five.

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

Patrick A

photo credit: Stogie Guys

9 Responses to “Stogie Reviews: H. Upmann Magnum 50 (Cuban)”

  1. Todd Thursday, December 2, 2010 at 5:58 am #

    Been less impressed with these and other sticks (like the Hoyo Epicure) that started as LEs and became regular production. They were all better when they were limited runs.

    Anyone else agree?

  2. cigarguy Thursday, December 2, 2010 at 3:36 pm #

    The LE's as a whole have been mostly underwhelming to me.

  3. Patrick A Friday, December 3, 2010 at 10:20 am #

    While I was researching for this review, I had read several complaints that this regular production release was inferior to the 2005 limited edition release. I never got a chance to try the '05 LE, though, so I can't comment on how the two compare. But I will say that the regular probuction blend smokes well and that I look forward to aging it.

  4. Gary Friday, December 3, 2010 at 4:30 pm #

    It's a decent cigar, but doesn't taste cuban to me. I have smoked at least ten of them and they lack the cuban twang I love. Good cigar, but I want that certain flavor only cubans offer.

  5. CJ Monday, December 6, 2010 at 9:41 am #

    Gary-what twang do you mean? I have not had any, as mentioned by Patrick, that have a decent combustion for any flavor to come through!!!! Terrible construction from that country anymore.

  6. Lee Monday, December 6, 2010 at 10:14 am #

    I have not tried this Mag 50 but the '05 LE is an awesome smoke.

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