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As part of their ongoing 50th anniversary celebration, Up Down Cigar in Chicago recently added two more anniversary cigars to their humidor: the Jaime Garcia Reserva Especial Up Down 10/50 and the Fausto Up Down 10/50, a pair of 6 3/8 x 43 Lonsdales coming out of the My Father Cigars factory in Nicaragua.

News of the new releases came out the day of their release, as both Pete Johnson of Tatuaje/Havana Cellars, Inc. and José Garcia, vice president of sales for My Father Cigars Inc. posted pictures of the cigars. The name acknowledges a pair of anniversaries being celebrated this year: Tatuaje’s 10th Anniversary and Up Down’s 50th.

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In the description posted on their website, Up Down Cigar says the Fausto has “always been a staff favorite,” but that they have always wanted it in a smaller ring gauge so that they could “really taste the wrapper tobacco.” With the release of the Fausto Up Down 10/50 and Jaime Garcia Reserva Especial Up Down 10/50, the Chicago retailer now has four cigars that have been made for their 50th anniversary. As of now, the list includes:

The boxes of the Up Down 10/50 look like this:
Fausto Up Down 10 50 Box 1
Fausto Up Down 10 50 Box 2

The addition of this new vitola also expands Tatuaje’s already sizable Fausto line to 22 members:

Fausto T110 Avion Vitolas

  • Tatuaje T110 (4 3/8 x 52) — 2009 — 200 Boxes of 25 Cigars (5,000 Total Cigars)
  • Tatuaje T110 (4 3/8 x 52) — December 2009 — 190 Boxes of 25 Cigars (4,750 Total Cigars)
  • Tatuaje PJ40th (5 1/2 x 50) — April 2011 — N/A
  • Tatuaje M80 (4 x 50) — June 2011 — 333 Boxes of 15 Cigars (4,995 Total Cigars)
  • Fausto FT127 (5 x 54) (Prerelease Event) — June 2011 — N/A
  • Fausto FT140 (5 1/2 x 52) (Prerelease Event) — June 2011 — N/A
  • Fausto FT153 (6 x 50) (Prerelease Event) — June 2011 — N/A
  • Fausto FT166 (6 1/2 x 48) (Prerelease Event) — June 2011 — N/A
  • Fausto FT166 (6 1/2 x 48) — July 2011 — Regular Production
  • Fausto FT140 (5 1/2 x 52) — July 2011 — Regular Production
  • Fausto FT127 (5 x 54) — July 2011 — Regular Production
  • Fausto FT153 (6 x 50) — July 2011 — Regular Production
  • Avion 11 (6 3/4 x 48/52) — August 2011 — Regular Production
  • Tatuaje Exclusive Series Tobacco Plaza DD (6 x 58) — March 2012 — 1,000 Boxes of 10 Cigars (10,000 Total Cigars)
  • Tatuaje Limited Series Fausto FT114 (4 1/2 x 52) — March 2012 — 100 Boxes of 10 Cigars (10,000 Total Cigars)
  • Tatuaje Exclusive Series Tobacco Plaza DD (Wet Pack) (6 x 58) — April 2012 — 500 Boxes of 10 Cigars (5,000 Total Cigars)
  • Tatuaje Limited Series Avion 12 (5 5/8 x 48/52) — May 2012 — 1,500 Total Cigars
  • Fausto FT114 (4 1/2 x 52) — August 2012 — Regular Production
  • Avion 12 (5 5/8 x 48/52) — August 2012 — Regular Production
  • Avion Limited (7 1/4 x 52) — July 2013 — 970 Bundles of 10 Cigars (9,700 Total Cigars)
  • Avion 13 (6 7/8 x 52) — August 2013 — Regular Production
  • Fausto Up Down 10/50 (6 3/8 x 43) — October 2013 — 200 Boxes of 20 Cigars (4,000 Total Cigars)

In my review of the Tatuaje Avion Limited, I chronicled the history of the line, which traces its roots back to July 2009 and the Tatuaje T110, which was a store exclusive made for R. Field Wine Compay in Honolulu, Hawaii. That cigar was the offshoot of the fairly legendary Tatuaje Thermonuclear, a cigar Johnson made as a joke because of its unbearable strength.

While you can read the full history in that review, the Fausto line was released at the 2011 IPCPR Convention and Trade Show in the four sizes noted above, with an accompanying ad campaign that said that “this one goes to 11,” borrowing from the famous amplifier scene in the movie This is Spinal Tap.

Interestingly, when the Fausto line debuted, Pete Johnson said that he had concerned about producing the cigar in smaller ring gauges. He said that he made prototypes of a 5 5/8 x 46 vitola but was worried about the consistency of the draw. The high priming tobacco was the main source of the concern, as he said that he worried about the buncheros overbunching the cigar in a smaller ring gauge. “Now that they have been making Fausto for a few years and I’ve been playing with that blend in smaller rings, it was easy to do the 43 without any worry,” Johnson said. He said he went into production of the with no concerns. As for the future of the Fausto line in smaller ring gauges, Johnson says he’s “still on the fence but might make something next year.”

Fausto Up Down 10 50 1

  • Cigar Reviewed: Fausto Up Down 10/50
  • Country of Origin: Nicaragua
  • Factory: My Father Cigars S.A.
  • Wrapper: Ecuador Habano Maduro
  • Binder: Nicaragua
  • Filler: Nicaragua
  • Size:  6 3/8 Inches
  • Ring Gauge: 43
  • Vitola: Lonsdale
  • MSRP: $10.50 (Boxes of 20, $210.00)
  • Date Released: October 3, 2013
  • Number of Cigars Released: 200 Boxes of 20 Cigars (4,000 Total Cigars)
  • Number of Cigars Smoked For Review: 2

The dark brown wrapper is uniform in color save for a few slightly lighter spots near the larger veins. The Fausto Up Down 10/50’s capa has a formidable vein structure but a fairly smooth texture and a faint sheen. It’s well-rolled with uniform firmness from head to toe and the cap sits nicely on top with clean seams a centered application. There is a tremendous aroma coming off the foot: cool and beefy, it has a bit of pepper and a note that reminds me of beef bouillon cubes, something my grandmother often used in her cooking. Air moves without restriction in the cold draw, offering much a much drier and somewhat thinner flavor than the pre-light aroma provided that shows more notes of tree bark and wood with a trace amount of pepper.

A chili pepper spice coats the front half of the tongue as soon as the first bit of smoke hits it and the cigar wastes no time opening itself up. There is a sneaky sweetness that seems to jump out of nowhere in the first 20 puffs, coating the spice and giving it a new frame while still allowing it to do its thing. There’s also a coolness to the smoke – almost like when people talk about cool mint, except I’m not picking up the mint at the moment. The ash starts as a brilliant bright white before graying just slightly as it cools and the burn line is sharp and even in the early goings. After the first clump of ash breaks off, the pepper picks up in spades and goes right after the nose before beginning a sharp-toothed bite into the tongue. It’s intense without being overpowering – the sensation that the pepper provides, not the strength, is the majority of the story here. The meaty notes picked up in the cold draw start to enter the equation and set the stage for an interesting flavor development.

Fausto Up Down 10 50 2

Smoke billows off the Fausto Up Down 10/50 as it begins its second third, and the spice starts to increase its presence on the tongue as the meaty notes pick up a bit in the background. A chalky bite starts to emerge at the midpoint, and if I didn’t know better, I’d think this cigar was blended to go right after the middle of my tongue. The flavor and aroma shift again as the cigar starts its transition to its final third, with a fuller pepper note, a new note of earth and wood and a touch more bite on the tongue. There is no shortage of great aroma either, as the cigar offers up an incredibly rich note of marinated meat bound for the dehydrator to make jerky.

Fausto Up Down 10 50 3

The final third of the Fausto Up Down 10/50 offers a continued building of pepper as the flavor begins to dry out just a bit. I’m a bit surprised that I haven’t felt much strength from the cigar up to this point, but it has more than made up for it with an abundance of flavor. The rich jerky note stays consistent in the smoke throughout this portion of the cigar, lending a very pleasing aromatic to the experience and one that might get overlooked if you’re smoking this in a crowded cigar lounge or on a windy day. The cigar can be smoked pretty much as far as you want to take it without worry of the heat adversely impacting the flavor. If anything, the only issue you’ll likely run into is the increasingly peppery smoke getting too close to your eyes.

Fausto Up Down 10 50 4

Final Notes:

  • As Brooks Whittington mentioned in his review of the Fausto FT153, the bands bear a striking resemblance to Dunhill Exclusivo bands from the 1960-1980s.
  • One thing I’d never noticed on the Fausto bands was the cross in the middle. Johnson told me that there’s no real meaning behind it, other than that the bands they were based on had a clover in the middle, and while he was in the Dominican Republic working on the band, he kept seeing that cross outside pharmacies. He thought the clover was a bit strange for the project so the switch was made.
  • Per Google Translate, fausto is Spanish for splendor. It’s also been translated as lucky in other reviews.
  • My halfwheel colleagues and I have often said how much we’d like to try certain cigars in smaller ring gauges, and it’s something we’ve been called out on more than once.
  • This is the second cigar where producing it in smaller ring gauges had been a concern of the manufacturer before it was found to be possible. The other? The Headley Grange Drumstick Lancero from Crowned Heads.
  • I dryboxed the second cigar for about 18 hours prior to smoking it, and it seemed to help with some slight burn issues in the second half of the cigar. While it wasn’t a huge problem in the first cigar I smoked, it was noticeable.
  • The cigars were purchased from Up Down and stored at the halfwheel offices for over a week before I got them, even then, dryboxing seemed like a good idea.
  • Final smoking time is about two hours.
  • You can order these directly from Up Down Cigar via their website or by calling 800–587-3696. Up Down is currently offering a 20% discount on the box price, bringing the cost down to $168.00. Be sure to tell them halfwheel sent you.
91 Overall Score

To say that I'm glad Pete Johnson and the buncheros at My Father Cigars were able to successfully create a smaller ring gauge of the Fausto blend would be an understatement. I've always liked the Fausto line, though I don't get to smoke them often enough. The Fausto Up Down 10/50 seems to do exactly what the folks at the store hoped, and that's show off the wrapper's flavor profile better. It distills down all the core notes beautifully and offers mouthfuls of flavor and incredibly pleasing aromas, all while performing flawlessly. Assuming these hold their flavors, they should smoke well for some time, and as the flavors continue to mesh together I can only imagine that this cigar will continue to get better. If you like the Fausto line, you should love how it performs in this smaller ring gauge.

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Patrick Lagreid
About the author

I strive to capture the essence of a cigar and the people behind them in my work – every cigar you light up is the culmination of the work of countless people and often represents generations of struggle and stories. For me, it’s about so much more than the cigar – it’s about the story behind it, the experience of enjoying the work of artisans and the way that a good cigar can bring people together. In addition to my work with halfwheel, I’m the public address announcer for the Colorado Rockies and Arizona Diamondbacks during spring training, as well as for the Salt River Rafters of the Arizona Fall League, the WNBA's Phoenix Mercury and the Arizona Rattlers of the Indoor Football League. I also work in a number of roles for MLB.com, plus I'm a voice over artist. I previously covered the Phoenix and national cigar scene for Examiner.com, and was an editor for Cigar Snob magazine.

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