Upmann’s Monarcas (Year 2000)

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H. Upmann (Est. 1844) is one of the oldest and most coveted brands of Cuban cigars. Its Monarcas 2000 has a rich, medium-to-full-bodied taste that is well balanced with earth, nuts and herbal flavours. If you crave a more robust smoking experience, this is definitely the cigar for you. As I smoked it, there were hints of mocha and espresso. Just before finishing, I noticed a long earthy finish with hints of leather and wood. The musty flavour and scent is so enticing.

It also keeps its oily texture when properly aged and preserved – even after 14 years! In fact, its square-pressed shape is a telltale sign of this meticulous aging. Its wrappers are quite dark, the perfect signature. When I smoke one of these and its aroma permeates a room, the reaction of people close by is always predictable. Their eyebrows are raised, their heads turn and they inevitably ask me what I am smoking.

If you can find any from the vintage selection of early 2000, I would strongly suggest you buy all you can. A few years ago I located a box of 25 from SLA JAN 00. The cigars had the brand’s trademark wet and musty taste and aroma. During my photo shoot with Preferred Magazine, I finished one right down to the nub. So far I’ve smoked only 15 – but my will power fades with each experience. I compare Monarcas to great Bordeaux wines – good when young, and absolute heaven on earth after a few decades.

Vintage Rating: 96 out of 100