When Lisa at Czar’s told me that she had found me a box of premium quality H Upmann Magnum 48s, i simply couldn’t resist. The fact that they were on sale made it an easier decision, $199 for the box. I’ve heard some great things about this cigar on various forums, so the chance to get my hands on some was really welcome.

The cigar is a bit smaller than i thought it would be: just over 4 inches long, with a 48RG, its even smaller than the petit robustos. But they make up for their small size with their aroma and scent — lifting the wheel out of the cabinet, and burying my nose deep into the foot of the cigars, i was rewarded with a very sharp sea salt and red soil aroma. No traces of ammonia, but probably only recently disappeared, as the sea salt aroma tends to suggest. These cigars, OSB AGO 09, are just out of their sick period. A perfect time to try the first stick to see how they have come along.

The cold draw was pleasing, a bit looser than i normally prefer but not an issue at all. The dry flavour had a grainy blandness about it that i found quite unique. It was like having a bit of grit in the mouth, and gnashing on it with your teeth. Without much ado i took the flame to the foot and gave it a good toasting.

The first inch was a real eye opener: thick espresso bitter sweetness, it was very pleasant on the palate, and quite fulfilling. I detected some hint of the typical Upmann flavour profile; that tangy herbal-grassy flavour, but it was quite muted and completely overshadowed by the thick coffee flavours. Large plumes of smoke came with each draw, and the aroma from the smoke was absolutely delightful, a common trait i find from cigars which are made from top class, aged tobacco.

The bitter-sweet profile retreats quite quickly, and by the second inch, it was replaced by a mild, dark spice and chocolate approach. The distinct sweetness i detected earlier is still quite prominent, but instead of the bitter coffee from before, the sweetness is now more spicy and quite creamy. A superb change of pace. It’s a shame that the cigar burned quite quickly under my characteristically fast drawing, and the first half was gone with barely 25 minutes on the clock.

The first third showed that the Upmann Magnum 48 has a second gear to move into — quite a robust peppery sensation on the lips and palate, some very sharp mint and needles. The smoke volume really takes off here, and its quite delightful that the aroma complements the flavour of the cigar fantastically well — a wet, grassy aroma, that reminds me of a freshly mowed lawn on a damp Sunday morning. Beautiful combination of imagery, aroma and flavour. The finish is medium-long, and super peppery. It felt like my lips were on fire when i finally gave in and let this cigar rest.

Towards the end, there were some tannic bites at the back of the throat, which indicates that this cigar does have massive aging potential. The congeners are still active and fresh, and there is a lot of settling for this cigar to go through before it truly becomes the finished article. Another 3 years or so will do this cigar a lot of good.

Verdict: 89/100. Outstanding cigar, that tastes pretty good now, and has some amazing potential in the years to come. If you can find boxes for under $200, they are an absolute gem to buy and age. Has the potential to be a 92-93 point cigar in just a few years.

Pick these up from Cigar-czar.com — they regularly have great sales and discounts that will allow you pick them up for a bargain. Tell Lisa i sent you, and she’ll treat you right!