As I have said before, one of the most interesting brands in cigar history has always been Dunhill, and the Dunhill Estupendos is one of the rarest vitolas that they produced. It is also one of the two vitolas that came in a tubo.
The Estupendos came packaged in aluminum tubes, and were sold in boxes of 10.
(Photo via Wikipedia)
For the history of the Dunhill brand, Wikipedia has a concise one.
Beginning in 1977, Dunhill and Cubatabaco began discussing the possibility of producing a cigar brand bearing the name of Dunhill. An agreement was finally reached in 1982 and Dunhill cigars hit stores in 1984, starting with the Dunhill stores of ten countries and eventually expanding to thirty. The ultimate downfall of the Dunhill brand was that it was out to compete with the other high-end private label, Davidoff. Seeing as how both brands were being produced by Cubatabaco, the Cuban tobacco monopoly wanted to make profits from both and had no wish to participate in the market competition between the two tobacconists. Unhappy with Cubatabaco’s unwillingness, when the original contract expired in 1991 Dunhill chose not to renew, having already begun scoping possible new locations in the Canary Islands, Dominican Republic, and Honduras for cigar production. Eventually, Dunhill would give up making cigars altogether and sold the rights to put its name on tobacco products to British American Tobacco.
Charlie Minato has this to say about the cigars origins.
These were rolled at the old Real Fábrica de Tabacos Romeo y Julieta (852 Belascoain Street.) The factory is now known as Briones Montoto or more commonly “new H. Upmann” as it is currently the home for the production that used to take place at Upmann. Old H. Upmann, offically known as Heroes of Moncada, is undergoing renovations. Dunhills were made at a few factories over the course of history, and tax stamps weren’t used. The most recent Cuban Dunhills, those from the 1980s, were made at Real Fábrica de Tabacos Romeo y Julieta. Much thanks to Christoph Wolters of La Casa del Habano Hamburg for assistance on that. Another interesting tidbit, the old Romeo y Julieta factory (Briones Montoto) is the homeshop to the roller Jaime Parede, better known as “Hamlet.”
Dunhill produced eight different vitolas in the short time they were in existence, although interestingly, there were seven different vitolas that were proposed other then these, but were never produced.
- Dunhill Atados (6 7/8 x 28)
- Dunhill Cabinetta (4 7/8 x 50)
- Dunhill Estupendos (7 x 47)
- Dunhill Havana Club (9 1/3 x 47)
- Dunhill Malecon (6 1/2 x 42)
- Dunhill Mojito (5 5/8 x 42)
- Dunhill Tubos (6 1/8 x 42)
- Dunhill Varadero (5 1/8 x 42)
- Cigar Reviewed: Dunhill Estupendos
- Country of Origin: Cuba
- Factory: Real Fábrica de Tabacos Romeo y Julieta
- Wrapper: Cuba
- Binder: Cuba
- Filler: Cuba
- Size: 7 Inches
- Ring Gauge: 47
- Vitola: Churchill
- Est. Price: $500
- Date Released: 1985
- Number of Cigars to be Released: Regular Production
The cigar itself is fairly large, although not the longest in the line, that would be the Havana Club. The wrapper is a dark brown, has quite a few veins, and is pretty bumpy up and down the length. It is firm when squeezed, but not overly so. The wrapper smells slightly of cedar, which is not surprising, considering there is a sheet of cedar in the tube it was stored in, spice and what I swear is apples. In fact, when smelling the wrapper, I instantly thought of spiced apple cider, and that is what I am sticking with. The cold draw is the same spicy cedar with a bit of hay.
The first third starts out with huge flavors right off the bat. I taste leather, cedar, licorice and sweet earth for most of the third, but it calms down as the second third nears.There is not that much spice or pepper, a bit, but not much, and it was a fairly mild start strength-wise.
Around the start of the second third, the profile shifted abruptly and the cigar turned extremely sweet and creamy with notes of nuts, leather and wood. There is more spice present, especially on the retrohale and it is the ideal amount to compliment the flavors without overwhelming them.
The final third features yet another profile shift, this time with quite a bit of espresso, dark chocolate, and less sweetness. There is an interesting floral note that creeps in towards the end as well. The spice that is present continues to ramp up as the cigar ends and was actually quite strong at the very end, but never strong enough to take away from the flavors. A very dry finish as well.
- Every time I smoke a Dunhill, I think of the interesting fact that out of all of the vitolas they produced, only one ever reached 50 ring gauge.
- I have heard it mentioned that the Estupendos are richer in flavors, mostly because of the fact it was stored in a tube. I don’t know if that is the reason, but I can tell you that it is quite a bit richer and a better cigar than the Mojito I reviewed.
- Whenever I smoke an aged cigar, I am always conscious of the idea that there are certain cigars that might be past their prime. Thankfully, this cigar was definitely not one of them.
- The smoke smelled quite sweet, almost like cotton candy, much like the La Flor Dominicana Small Batch No. 2.
- The strength of the cigar increased near the end, but never went further than a medium. However, it was stronger than the Mojito I reviewed.
- The burn and draw were excellent.
- The final smoking time was one hour and 55 minutes.
I was absolutely astounded by the multitude of flavors that were present during the smoking of this cigar. There have been very few cigars I have smoked that had the complexity, finesse, smoothness and refinement that I tasted, with each flavor distinctly noticeable. It changed profiles so many times, it was like I was smoking three different cigars, each excellent in its own way. I have smoked quite a few cigars, from fresh off the rolling table to sticks that are almost 100-years-old, and this was one of the best cigars I have ever, bar none.