Friday, May 14, 2010

Cigar Review – Punch Upper Cut Grand Corona

Another in our ongoing series of reviews of cigars given to us by the good folks at General Cigar. Featured this time is the Punch Upper Cut Grand Corona.

Vitola: Corona Gorda
Origin: Honduras
Length: 6”
Ring Gauge: 45
Filler: Nicaragua
Binder: Nicaragua
Wrapper: Ecuadorian Sumatra
Strength: Medium
Price: $6.49

Produced by Honduras American Tobacco, it features a dark, rich looking Ecuadorian Sumatra wrapper and the much-anticipated Ometepe filler. The current Cigar Aficionado rating for it is 88 (Oct, 2009). We had previously reviewed another cigar containing Ometepe leaf from General Cigar, the La Escepción, check it out here.

From the manufacturer’s website:

An offspring of the Punch “Election” promotion, the blend created for Upper Cut by Punch is the direct result of a national taste test. Using this feedback, General Cigar’s elite new product development team in Honduras married the classic, rich taste of Punch with Nicaraguan spice to produce this alluring, medium-bodied smoke that peppers the palate with an array of complex flavors.

Dressed in a silky Ecuadoran Sumatra wrapper and framed with a Nicaraguan binder, Upper Cut’s Nicaraguan blend commands attention, for it features the unique flavor of Ometepe tobacco cultivated exclusively for General Cigar in limited quantity.

Our club’s three co-founders (John, Robert, Fernand) comprised this scoring panel, and as usual, followed CA's 4-part rating system (Appearance & Construction, Flavor, Smoking Characteristics, and Overall Impression).

A rich, earthy aroma prior lighting had us eager to start things off without delay. Also, the Ecuadorian Sumatra wrapper displayed a beautiful sheen and texture, despite some moderate veins and a few minor bumps. The roll quality of this slender parejo appeared true and uniform.

This cigar turned out to be a great performer. Our three samples all offered clean draws that delivered ample mouthfuls of delicious smoke which our tasters described as creamy and silky. These burned great too; touch-ups were a rarity and we were able to enjoy the sticks free of any effort to keep them going. Not much to report regarding the ash; it held on for a bit and had a compact, uniform appearance.

Robert thought it came across smoother than the La Escepción we reviewed previously. Fernand found the mid-portion very easy-going with an herbal sweetness. There were a couple brief periods of sharpness in the final third, but never enough to spoil it. John summarized his experience as, “Rich vanilla latte flavor, finishing with a hint of sandalwood.”

Our averaged rating for the Punch Upper Cut Grand Corona is 90.
Here's the points breakdown:
I. Appearance & Construction: 13 pts (87% of the points possible)
II. Flavor: 22 pts (88% of the points possible)
III. Smoking Characteristics: 24 pts (96% of the points possible)
IV. Overall Impression: 31 pts (89% of the points possible)

An intriguing cigar to say the least. There’s something about that Ometepe leaf, perhaps. One apiece simply wasn’t enough, we’ll have to try more and we suggest you do the same.

Thanks to General Cigar for allowing us to sample this new blend.

© 2010 The Cohiba Club – All rights reserved.

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