Comparison: H. Upmann Half Corona vs. No. 2
In the comparison section of our H. Upmann guides for new smokers, we’re going to be observing the differences between the H. Upmann Half Corona versus the H. Upmann No. 2. Though these cigars are radically different beasts there is an interesting comparison to be made between the “David and Goliath” nature of these vitolas, their delivery of flavour and the circumstances by which they are best enjoyed.
H. Upmann Half Corona
Though it was only released in 2011, it feels like the H. Upmann Half Corona has been with us for at least a lifetime and has proven immensely popular with smokers at all levels of experience in the world of cigars; owing to its reasonable level of strength, succinct smoking time, ubiquitous availability and thoroughly accessible price point. Whilst the Half Corona had long been a tremendously successful vitola size at the end of the 19th century and beginning of the 20th, there had long been a dearth of examples of the vitola available in the decades since, with the H. Upmann Half Corona being the first of the vitola to be added to the Habanos portfolio since the Second World War (though it would be followed soon after by the Montecristo Media Corona in 2015).
We have long found the H. Upmann Half Corona to be an excellent vehicle to engender interest in cigar smoking for newcomers to the world of cigars in part thanks to its aforementioned level of strength, weighing in as the brand does at the light-to-medium end of the scale, alongside its 3 ½” (90mm) length providing a tremendous 20-30 minutes of smoking time, which is an excellent sweet-spot for new smokers to take their first steps with enjoying cigars without potentially overwhelming themselves with a longer or stronger stick and subsequently finding themselves put off of what could be a pastime which they may very well could have enjoyed otherwise.
That said, though we preach the virtues of the H. Upmann Half Corona as an excellent stick for newcomers, that’s not to say that there isn’t an appeal to be found in this particular stick for more experienced smokers also; as the Half Corona delivers an excellent array of flavours and aromas that are sure to satisfy even the most veteran cigar smokers out there, presenting initial light earthy tones alongside tangy cedar wood, a hint of creamy coffee and cocoa and a tantalising touch of spice which develops about halfway though the smoking experience.
Though it may be small, the H. Upmann Half Corona stands atop the shoulders of giants and makes its presence known, giants such as the stick we’ll be comparing it with:
H. Upmann No. 2
A stalwart vitola which has been a mainstay of H. Upmann’s roster of tremendous sticks since before the Cuban revolution, the H. Upmann No. 2 is practically cigar royalty! A position which has been solidified in recent months with it finally being lauded with the critical acclaim owed to it after being crowned Cigar Aficionado’s Cigar of the Year for 2022!
Despite being overshadowed by Piramides vitolas with stronger blends of tobacco such as the legendary Montecristo No. 2 and Cohiba Piramides Extra, the H. Upmann No. 2 is certainly no slouch in its own right, delivering up to an hour’s worth of sensational smoking time and enveloping the imbiber with a thoroughly complex and varied flavour profile bringing rich and refined notes throughout; beginning with luscious light notes of cedar, honey, chestnut, almond and a sprinkling of white pepper; these notes slowly but surely graduate into earthier tones with a more pronounced woody influence, wafts of coffee and a distinct barnyardy quality permeating throughout the second third; moving into the final third the H. Upmann No. 2 hits the apex of its intensity of flavour and veers almost into Medium strength territory, bringing all of the flavours from the second third with it yet more pronounced and developed, with a hint of leather rounding out the proceedings.
One particular caveat that springs to mind with the H. Upmann No. 2 however is that it falls prey to a time honoured quirk of Cuban cigars and requires several years of ageing in order to reach its full potential, which with the last couple of years of stock issues of certain product lines coming out of Cuba combined with steadily depleting reserves of aged stock available from retailers globally can lead to long waiting period for those who’d ideally like to sample a H. Upmann No. 2 in its optimal condition. As the cliche goes though, good things come to those who wait!
Ultimately the only true comparison we can draw between these vitolas boils down to the amount of time they require of you to fully enjoy, due to their very similar flavour profiles and levels of strength. Where the Half Corona is a sensational stick for herfing when your time is limited (i.e. a quick coffee break or taking the dog for a walk) or perhaps when you’re only in the mood for something brief/with less complexity than its considerably larger compatriot in the No. 2, which demands a much greater investment of time to fully enjoy and embrace the full depths of its complexity.
What we can say however, is that in picking a H. Upmann vitola you’ll always be rewarded with an enthralling herf no matter how long it takes you to get through!