H Upmann

H Upmann


With over 170 years of a rich legacy, H. Upmann stands among the most venerable and illustrious cigarmakers within the tradition of premium cigars. The founder, Herman Dietrich Upmann, was a German banker that arrived to Cuba in 1843 to conduct business affairs on behalf of an importing/exporting firm.
What Herman was left with, however, was the overwhelming sight of the vivid mark of promise
and potential written on the bustling Havana cobble streets, the lush green tobacco fields, and the proud hands of the Torcedores that were perfumed with the scent of finely aged leaves and generations of ancestral cigarmaking wisdom.
Herman was so beguiled with Cuba, the very next year, in 1844, he bought a local cigar factory and began production of his newly founded H. Upmann cigar company, and started a bank that only catered to tobacco dealers and farmers.  Under Herman’s exacting standards and skilled leadership, both businesses flourished, H. Upmann cigars being propelled to global renown.
Throughout the late 1800s H. Upmann was a celebrated favorite at international exhibitions, winning seven gold medals for excellence. In fact, the quality and prestige of the cigars elevated the H. Upmann Factory, now the José Martí Factory, to a near mythical post, respected in its own right.
Herman retired from the business in 1890, and eventually, in 1914, H. Upmann cigars, and the banking firm, found their way into the hands of his distant nephews Hermann and Alberto Upmann.
H. Upmann cigars grew to become a beloved staple within the American premium cigar market, and continued to grow in popularity globally. However, during World War I, Hermann and Alberto gained notoriety for using their businesses and property in Cuba and the U.S. to conduct a covert German intelligence network. The Upmann network is also believed to be responsible for inciting revolts and attempted military takeovers throughout the Caribbean.
By 1917 the Cuban government closed the H. Upmann bank for over two years during the war, H. Upmann was banned from trade with any U.S. banks or companies, Hermann and Alberto were specifically named as banned in the U.S. Enemy Trading List, and the U.S. Alien Property Custodian seized Hermann and Alberto’s U.S. assets and transferred them to U.S. owners. By 1918 both were held under house arrest by the Cuban government.
Upon their release in 1920, Hermann and Alberto, and the H. Upmann company, were near bankruptcy. The two were arrested again in 1922 for fraud after they converted $2,000,000 in depositor assets to pursue foreign investments.
This final arrest was too much for the H. Upmann company to bear. The bank went defunct. H. Upmann cigars, however, was saved by J. Frankau & Co. of the U.K. who bought the brand and factory for 30,000 Cuban pesos at auction.
H. Upmann continued to thrive, eventually being sold in 1937 to Menendez, Garcia y Cia company who had founded the eminent Montecristo cigar brand.
In the 1960s, however, with the rise of Fidel Castro, companies became nationalized by the government, one such company being Menendez, Garcia y Cia and all its holdings and assets. As a result, H. Upmann became property of the Cuban government.
In 1962, President John F. Kennedy signed into force the infamous trade embargo against Cuba. However, JFK was known to be an avid fan of H. Upmann cigars. His smoke of choice was the H. Upmann Petit Upmann/Demi Tasse. He enjoyed the smoke so much that the night before signing the embargo into place he had his aide go through every tobacco shop in D.C. and buy up as many boxes of the H. Upmann cigars as possible, ending up with the a Presidential stash of 1,200 cigars.
Around this time, the founding partners of Menendez, Garcia y Cia, Alonso Menendez and Jose “Pepe” Garcia, moved production of their brands, including H. Upmann, to the Canary Islands in Spain, and eventually, to the U.S. area of La Romana in the Dominican Republic, where Jose founded the Tabacalera de Garcia Factory.
Today, H. Upmann cigars continue to be made both out of the original factory in Cuba by the state-owned Habanos S.A., and at the Tabacalera de Garcia in the Dominican Republic. Both enterprises are within the Imperial Brands family, making H. Upmann once again into a global delight.
In particular, the U.S. offerings use exquisite blends from the finest tobacco from around the world, creating varied and compelling flavor profiles to suit every palate. One notable smoke is The Banker by H. Upmann, a rich, robust recreation of an original secret blend created together by Herman Upmann and his relative Carl Upmann.
H. Upmann cigars continue to be a decadent, dignified smoke that is just at home with a fine brandy as it is with a brilliant cup of coffee with associates. H. Upmann is a tradition within the world of premium cigars, with a history that is only matched in richness by its wide array of compelling flavors, and its cemented status of prestige.

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