Last November, Altadis U.S.A. teased cigar enthusiasts with a proprietary, new tobacco variety, dubbed Yargüera. At the time, it was unclear how this new tobacco would be used in their lineup, but news came early this year of their first Yargüera-inspired offering, known as Yargüera H. Upmann.
The tobacco is rooted back to the 1960’s, where the Arias family looked to Cuba for a unique seed the could cultivate at their farms in Honduras.
In the 1960’s, the Arias family traveled to Cuba in search of an exquisite tobacco seed. Brought back to their homeland, Honduras, the Arias family cultivated the sweet-tasting and aromatic tobacco for decades, though it was a delicate and challenging crop.
This is where Altadis comes in. Using their skilled collection of agronomists, known as Grupo de Maestros, the finicky seeds were combined with the more hearty Criollo ’98 (a hybrid seed as well). In 2013 the new varietal was ready, featuring the sweet and aromatic qualities of the Arias tobacco with the more robust and mold-resilient Criollo. It is from this ’13 crop that Altadis showcases the new tobacco hybrid for the first time.
The new Yargüera tobacco is used in conjunction with the very tobacco it was hybridized with (Criollo ’98) to create a puro blend from nearly a single seed—all estate-grown on the Yargüera farm. Both shade and sun-grown versions of Yargüera are used in the blend.
Yargüera H. Upmann Breakdown
- Wrapper: Yargüera ’13 Tapado (shade-grown)
- Binder: Criollo ’98
- Filler: Yargüera ’13 (sun-grown) | Criollo ’98
- Factory: Flor de Copan S.A. (Honduras)
- Production: Regular Production
- Vitola: 6″ × 54 Toro
- Price: $8.75
Rather than falling under the H. Upmann brand, Yargüera is positioned as its own brand, “Brought together by H. Upmann.” With this line of reasoning, we could potentially see more Yargüera cigars, in conjunction with other Altadis brands (e.g. Yargüera Montecristo, Yargüera RyJ, etc.). The name may can be slightly tricky to sort out, sharing the name of the farm and tobacco variety—all three going by Yargüera.
With the actual product in hand, my eyes are quickly drawn to the band. It is very clean, with a matte white base and line-art-styled gold embossings. It’s slick, clean, and works well—reminding me of the style of many of today’s “flat” smartphone app designs. But on the cigar, each of my samples were very messily doused in tobacco glue (hopefully I’m alone here).The seams were somewhat loose but the cigar felt otherwise well-rolled. Interesting, the cap is adorned with a large pigtail, which is squished to the point it almost looks recessed—looking from the side, you may not even see it.
The wrapper has a very unique aroma, it’s so tangy I’d have to classify it as raw tomatoes, or better yet, ketchup! The pre-draw feels pretty firm, though it has a tasty (and very specific) cola flavor, with some darker undertones of burnt caramel.
After lighting, the smoke output is better than anticipated (medium), though I’d still classify the draw on the tight side (even after a second cut). The profile begins with lots of minerals/wet rocks on the palate. Th intro had little-to-no spice, though it quickly ramps up in the retrohale—bringing various spices, having the vibe of BBQ rub and light notes of black pepper.
The construction is good, with a wavy burn line and sturdy (yet flakey) ash—no signs of touchups to be needed. A thin and airy smoke is accompanied by increasingly tangy qualities, showcasing a very noticeable tomato soup character. The only real downside to the construction is that draw, which occasionally needs a double puff to stay lit—this heats the smoke and brings in much spicier pepper notes.
The body started on the mild side but moves up to around medium, with the strength following closely behind. There is a light sweetness in the background, though I did expect it to be more prevalent. Moving further into the cigar, mild chocolate flavors become pronounced for close to an inch, then transforming into floral notes, smoked cedar, leather and earth. And at the very tail end, as the darker qualities emerge, the flavors are predominantly earth, floral, mineral, and salt.
Would I smoke this cigar again?
That’s a tough one. I can’t say I was the biggest fan of this one—sure, there were no real unwanted flavors, but I could never really find that “it factor” I was looking for. With a dry texture, mild strength, subdued flavor, medium/light smoke output, and no blatant sweetness or dynamic complexities, it’s hard to imagine myself going out of my way to find more.
That being said, I’d like to try the smaller Robusto size, this Toro felt dominated by a bland filler and I’d like to see the wrapper shine a little more (something like a Corona Gorda would be even more desirable). Also, there’s no bad qualities here, so I could certainly see a lot of smokers enjoying this as a good mindless smoke, something to you can tune out to while enjoying other activities (watching the game, etc.).
- Long ash (3"+)
- Long smoke time (about 2 hours)
- Draw is a little tight
- Thin, dry smoke output
- Not dynamic or complex