If you are a smoker, it is very difficult that you have not ever heard of the well-known H. Upman cigars. This is one of the most famous and appreciated brands in the world, an obligatory reference in the world of tobacco for almost two centuries. Even if you've never smoked one, the long history of this brand, dating back to 1844, can be interesting. Therefore, we will tell you about it here.
The beginnings. Its creator, Heinrich Dietrich Upmann, arrived in Cuba in 1839 from Bremen, Germany, with the intention of settling on the island. Soon after, aware of the boom that the tobacco trade with Europe was acquiring by then, he decided to venture into the business, manufacturing his own cigars.
Thus was born the name H. Upman (H for his name and Upman for his surname), a signature that he placed in a yellow band on each of the cigars, to guarantee the authenticity of those he exported. Its date of appearance goes back to 1844, coinciding with the time when some of the most famous cigar brands in the world were created. By the way, the bands that he used to identify the cigars are the precursors of the rings, which began to be used some years later, and to this day they identify the brand of the cigar.
Later successes. From its appearance on the market and until the beginning of the 20th century, H. Upman obtained important recognitions that boosted his prestige worldwide: between 1862 and 1907 he received a dozen gold medals in different international exhibitions. These medals became the identity of the brand because they began to use them in the cedar boxes in which they sold their products.
It is precisely to H. Upman that the innovation of storing cigars in cedar boxes is owed as a way of preserving the quality, freshness and humidity suitable for the transfer of tobacco to Europe and the United States, a custom that later spread to other manufacturers.
The prestige of the brand grew so much that it obtained the title of "Provider of his Majesty Don Alfonso XII, King of Spain, with privilege of the use of Royal Arms". In 1922, H. Upman was sold to the British firm J. Frankau and in 1935 to Menéndez, García & Cía.
There are two versions: one Cuban and one non-Cuban. Like almost all tobacco producers, after the arrival of Fidel Castro to power in Cuba, their manufacturers left the island and began to produce their cigars without being able to use their brands, while on the island, the regime that had confiscated the companies, continued to produce and use the original brands. However, after several years of litigation, which took place in the United States against an importer of Cuban Habanos (Menéndez vs. Faber, Coe and Gregg), they obtained the right to commercialize the brands that they used to manufacture in Cuba.
The Cuban version of H. Upman is currently manufactured in what was one of the largest factories of the late nineteenth century, known at the time as La Madama, and renamed in 1960 as José Martí.
Altadis USA produces the non-Cuban version in its factory in Honduras and markets it in the United States, which, of course, maintains its excellence and quality as always.