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Old 06-02-2005, 04:04 AM   #1
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Tang-commissioned H. Upmann No.2


H. Upmann Tang-commissioned No.2

Country of fabrication: Cuba
Packaging: Cedar slide lid box containing 25 cigars
Dimensions of cigar: 6.13 inches by 52 ring gauge
Name of vitola: Piramide
Box code: ECA NOV02
Factory: H. Upmann, Havana

Date smoked: Friday May 27th, 2005

Accompanying drinks: I chose to pair the Piramide with the Autumn 2003 issue of George T. Stagg Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey (142.7 Proof/71.35% alcohol by volume), sipping the liquor as it poured along with two tall glasses of cool, still water for palate refreshment purposes.

The Cigar:

As expected, the Tang-commissioned Piramide was a pleasure to behold visually, its superior outer leaf boasting an oily, silky smooth patina with exceptionally fine tooth and suppressed veins. The Colorado capa displayed a very uniform deep cocoa brown hue imbued with a pronounced sanguine cast, its surface discreetly embellished with widely scattered, minimally dimensioned puncatte burnt umber and oscuro markings. A single small bottle green watermark lay near the band. The colour of the capote was reddish Van Dyke brown, while the tripa ranged in tone from sandalwood through Tuscan red to dark chocolate brown.

Construction was no less noteworthy, the medium-firm to firm roll density exhibiting no soft or hard areas. Good superficial resilience reflected the hygroscopic nature of the evenly scrolled internal leaves. Two barely perceptible longitudinal ridges ran from the foot to the beginning of the beautifully rendered taper. This Upmann represented, without doubt, one of the best-appearing vitolas Ive come across.

The pre-light aroma of the No.2 offered up a subtle toffee sweetness, leather and coffee cake notions overlaying tobacco and faint earthiness. In contrast, the pre-light draw manifested tobacco swathed in layers of cedar, as well as walnut husks, fresh mint and anise.

Upon ignition, the Piramide proceeded to emit bountiful blue-grey smoke saturated with the full-throttled fragrance of heavily toasted tobacco riding above an elusive, bakery-like sweetness. The burn edge of the striated shale grey to dark charcoal ash adopted a 10 angle early on, and the wrapper simultaneously developed a bit of a tail, but both these anomalies soon rectified themselves. I enjoyed approximately 2 hours with the Cuban.

On the palate, the Upmann commenced by releasing sensations of plush, honey-drizzled tobacco with undercurrents of lavender, cedar and leather, the cedar and leather subsequently binding and acquiring greater richness. Nuances of medium-roasted Tanzanian Peaberry coffee and bell peppers enveloped in toasted tobacco then appeared. Throughout the opening portion of the session, the strength gradually increased.

By the mid point, the first traces of black pepper emerged to edge the core tobacco taste, which by this time had attained a notable fullness of body.

Entering the latter stages, a high-toned smattering of fresh spring herbs echoing in more pointillistic fashion the earlier appreciated lavender and lively spices added a tingling piquancy to the flavour profile and acted as a perfect foil to the lurking sweetness and ripeness of the Cuban leaf. I can only describe the overall effect of the No.2 as satiating.

This fine Piramide possesses enormous potential.
My whisky adventure began at the age of nine.
Good things DO take time!
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