Review: H. Upmann Magnum 48 (EL 2009)
H. Upmann’s Magnum series is one of the more noted Cuban cigars and by most accounts is probably the most popular of the legendary brand’s current offerings. Currently, H. Upmann has two regular production Magnum vitolas, the Magnum 46, a 5 5/8 x 46 Corona Gorda, and the Magnum 50, a 6 3/10 Double Robusto.
In 2009, as part of Habanos Edición Limitada series, the Cuban cigar conglomerate introduced its normal trio of limited cigars:
- Bolívar Petit Belicosos
- H. Upmann Magnum 48
- Romeo y Julieta Dukes
Unlike the Edición Regional series, the Edición Limitada series features cigars that are not only not normal vitolas for each respective marca, but also since 2007 featuring tobacco aged for at least two years.
The H. Upmann Magnum 48 is a previously unreleased size, this time a 4 1/3 x 48 Corona Extra featuring wrappers only slightly darker than H. Upmann’s typical color.
And the particulars.
Cigar Reviewed: H. Upmann Magnum 48 Edición Limitada 2009
- Country of Origin: Cuba
- Factory: José Martí
- Wrapper: Cuba
- Binder: Cuba
- Filler: Cuba
- Size: 4 1/3 Inches
- Ring Gauge: 48
- Vitola: Corona Extra
- Est. Price: $10.50 (Boxes of 25, $262.50)
- Release Date: 2009
- Number of Cigars Released: n/a
Number of Cigars Smoked for Review: 2
As is mentioned above, this is not a cigar incredibly darker than what you’d expect, although there is difference. I’d describe the wrapper as a medium earth with far less sheen than the photographs would you lead to believe. Aroma off the wrapper of the H. Upmann Magnum 48 is pretty dull, a bit of earth and a touch of the twang. From the foot, aroma is a bit sweeter, although there’s also some bitter coffee and cedar notes. Cold draw of the Mag 48 is like Cuban candy: twang, sugarcane, coffee, touch of fruit and an underlying cedar.
The first third of the Magnum 48 starts off with a great cedar note followed, by the dominant twang and then an incredible vanilla sweetness. Eventually, the H. Upmann settles with a bit more pepper particularly at the top of the mouth, the Cuban cedar, earth and twang. Flavor isn’t breaking records for complexity, but the depth is enough. Draw is a bit more open than I’d prefer, but it appears to be closing. Strength of the H. Upmann seems medium at the start, but by the end of the first third seems non-existent.
I’d like to say the second third was an entire change, but it wasn’t. There’s a bit less sweetness from the Mag 48, but the twang is still there, even if the great creaminess is gone. While I don’t have much to say about the draw, the burn, which was pretty bad in the first third is far worse in the second third and is requiring constant attention. Smoke production stays below average, not the end of the world, but it could be better, a lot better.
The final third continues to present a struggle on the burn front. It’s taking away from the Mag 48 experience, but it’s hardly making it impossible to enjoy. Once again, the classic twang dominates the flavor profile with a solid cedar, earth and black pepper. The creaminess seems to make brief appearance, which is welcomed and enjoyed. Towards the last inch of the relatively small cigar, the temperature picks up, although it doesn’t end the cigar any earlier than I would have liked.
- This is not the first time a H. Upmann Magnum has made an appearance as a limited edition:
- In 2005, the Magnum 50 was introduced as an EL, it would become a production cigar in 2008.
- In 2007, the Magnum Especial was part of the Colleción Habanos 2007.
- In 2011, the Magnum Especial was part of the Colleción Habanos 2011.
- Unlike ERs, which seem to sell out pretty quickly, most of the ELs stay around for a few years. Plenty of the internet’s most popular Cuban cigar retailers have the H. Upmann Magnum 48 in stock with prices at around $250.00 per box.
- The burn of the Mag 48 was bad, even for Cuban standards. Unevenness, tunneling and inconsistent burn rates. Just keep your lighter handy and it won’t cause too many problems.
- For those looking for a smaller version of a Magnum 50 for when time is limited, there are two glowing issues with the Magnum 48. First, the price point makes it a bit uneconomical. Secondly, the small size really discourages quick smoking.
- The Magnum 48 is beloved and there’s definitely something there, but it’s not Cuba’s greatest cigar of the past three years. Even judging solely on flavor, it’s not close in my mind.
- The flavor profile wasn’t utterly complex, but it was quite enjoyable, particularly the sweet creaminess.
- On one example, there was a piece of tobacco that seemed to have fell below the cap and lay horizontally on the top of the cigar. I removed it and it left an indent at the top of the cigar, although the draw was nearly identical to the other one I smoked.
- Final smoking time was one hour.
The Bottom Line: Short cigar, (relatively) short review. I’ve had mixed results with the Mag 46 and Mag 50. With a bit of age and a good draw, they are some of the most enjoyable Cuban cigars on the market. However, it seems two out of every three Magnum 50s I smoke is plugged. The Magnum 48 delivers flavor far better than any other H. Upmann Magnum I’ve had, but the burn and price point are the current things steering me away from a box purchase — something I surely will regret in a few years when they are inevitably sold out and traded on the secondary markets at significantly higher prices. It’s a good cigar, classic at some points, but far from legendary at this point in time.
Final Score: 89