Ring Gauge: 47
Diameter: 18.65 mm
Length: 178 mm
Duration: 75 - 120 mins
This is a truly unique and highly coveted cigar as it's the first H.Upmann Cigar that has been chosen for a Gran Reserva release. It's Churchill vitola is one of the most famous vitolas available - which takes its name after Winston Churchill is an icon in the Cuban cigar world. Every Gran Reserva cigar contains tobacco which has been aged for a minimum of five years and is then released only when there has been enough tobacco produced. The process of crafting these cigars is given extra TLC - ensuring that they're nothing but the best quality. Only 5,000 boxes have been produced.
The wrapper is a wonderfully hued reddish-brown color, with a noticeable amount of tooth as well as a noticeable lack of oil. Aroma from the wrapper and foot is a combination of sweet orange peel, creamy milk chocolate, cinnamon, leather, earth, cedar, hay and pungent manure, while the cold draw brings flavors of the same sweet orange peel citrus, creamy leather, cocoa nibs, barnyard, hay, ground coffee and slight generic fruit sweetness.
tarting out, the main flavor in the Gran Reserva’s profile follows both the aroma and the cold draw almost exactly, with distinct orange peel easily taking the top spot followed by lesser notes of leather, creamy almonds, celery, sweet hay, earth and milk chocolate. Thick and dense smoke coats my mouth with every puff, and the retrohale is full of both white pepper and a massive caramel candy sweetness, both of which seem to be getting stronger as the first third burns down. Construction-wise, the burn is excellent so far with no hint of needing attention, while the draw is excellent after a simple straight cut, and there is more than enough thick, white smoke emanating from the foot. The strength is virtually nonexistent so far and barely hits a point between mild and medium by the end of the first third.
Creamy and sweet flavors dominate the second third of the Sir Winston Gran Reserva Cosecha 2011, with a strong peanut butter flavor pushing the orange peel note off the mountain, while the latter flavor has been totally replaced by a cranberry tartness that is evident almost exclusively on the finish. Other flavors of nutmeg, baker’s spices, leather, milk chocolate, espresso beans, sweet hay and earth flit in and out while the retrohale is full of the same white pepper and creamy caramel candy sweetness. In terms of construction, the draw continues to give me the optimum amount of resistance, but the burn gets out of hand early on in the third, meaning I am forced to touch it up a couple of times to get it back on track. In addition, there is not much change in the overall strength levels, with the cigar again failing to hit the medium mark, although it does seem to be noticeably increasing just as the second third ends.
While the final third seems to combine most of the aforementioned flavors into its profile, it sadly comes at a cost: the peanut butter, orange peel and cranberry notes are all quite a bit less distant and none occupy the dominant spot. That is also the case with the secondary notes—a list that includes leather, cocoa nibs, fresh espresso beans, sweet hay and gritty earth—although the lack of distinctness with those flavors as well as a reduction in the white pepper makes the still obvious caramel candy sweetness on the retrohale that much more of a player in the overall profile. Thankfully, the burn does not need any attention at all. Finally, the overall strength does make a push upward right at the end of the cigar, enough so that I peg it at a point just over the medium mark by the time I put the nub down with less than an inch remaining.