In 1962 JFK imposed the famous Cuban cigar ban, but not before making sure he had his press secretary secure more than 1,000 Petit Corona cigars of JFK’s favorite cigar brand— H. Upmann. Fifty-six later, The Cuban H. Upmann cigars are still prized by cigar smokers around the world for their pristine construction, great taste, and distinctively sweet aroma.
Available in a host of popular shapes and sizes, the Cuban H. Upmann cigar is a blend composed exclusively of premium tobaccos grown in the Vuelta Abajo region— an area north of Havana highly regarded for its rich fertile soil and the perfect climate for growing cigar tobacco. The Cuban H. Upmann cigar is best described as a medium-bodied smoke that delivers creamy textured notes of cocoa, toasted almonds, subtle spices, and leather, to provide an unforgettable smoking experience. So much so that cigar smokers here in the states often pose the question… What Brands Are Just as Good as Cuban H. Upmann Cigars?
The bottom line is that Cuban tobacco is truly unique and nothing else tastes quite like it, but there are a few Nicaraguan, Dominican, and Honduran brands that come pretty darn close, so let’s have a look at a few of them.
H. Upmann Vintage Cameroon
The H. Upmann Vintage Cameroon cigar from the Dominican Republic is a very smooth smoke and extremely well-balanced. The cigar features Dominican, Nicaraguan and Peruvian tobaccos, covered by an authentic Cameroon wrapper. It boasts a medium-bodied profile and the flavors of wood, coffee, cedar, and sweet spice, makes it a great alternative to its Cuban counterpart.
H.Upmann by AJ Fernandez
A Nicaraguan line extension to the Dominican brand, H.Upmann by AJ Fernandez cigars display the finest aged Dominican and Nicaraguan filler tobaccos surrounded by a seamless Ecuador Sumatra wrapper. Although slightly more powerful than the Cuban H. Upmann cigars, these medium to full-bodied gems from AJ are so creamy smooth that you’ll hardly know the difference. A rich tobacco sweetness highlighted by hearty notes of dark roast coffee, hazelnut, cedar, and subtle hints of spice, will have you savoring every puff.
H. Upmann Legacy cigar
The H. Upmann Legacy cigar, handmade in Honduras, features vintage 2008 Honduran filler tobaccos grown from heirloom seeds, and this rare tobacco is accompanied by a stunning Ecuadorian wrapper and a Nicaraguan binder. It provides a full, rich, medium bodied smoke that displays lush nuances of cream, cocoa, spices and leather.
Also from Honduras, the surprisingly affordable Gispert cigars compare very favorably with the Cuban H.Upmann. A fan favorite among premium smokers for many years, Gispert cigars feature a golden-brown Ecuadorian Connecticut shade wrapper over Honduran and Nicaraguan tobaccos. What sets Gispert apart from many other Honduran brands is its smooth, medium bodied mix of cocoa, sweet spice, toasted almond, and cedar flavors. Gispert is a great choice for budget conscious smokers looking for a delicious Cuban-style cigar.
Romeo 505 Nicaragua
The Romeo 505 Nicaragua cigar is another top contender in this category. Beautifully box-pressed, these dark and oily gems will coat the palate with a tapestry of mouthwatering medium-bodied flavors that are nutty, spicy, and naturally sweet. If you can’t get your hands on some genuine Cuban H. Upmann cigars these beauties from Romeo will surely suffice.
So, there are our picks. However, with so many top-quality “Cubanesque” brands in our massive inventory here at JR, we probably could have included a few more, but this is a great starting point for you to find out the million-dollar question— What Brands Are Just as Good as Cuban H. Upmann Cigars.