Cigar reviews: A take on Gloria Cubana

Cigar review: Staff from Cigar Advisor 

I first discovered La Gloria Cubana in the early 1990’s, during the cigar craze. manufactured in Miami by E.P. Carillo, G. C. was highly sought after and often not available.  I was living in the Boston area at that time and only a few stores carried the brand. If the word got around the B and M’s had stock available, you either dropped what you were doing or you were out of luck.
The local liquor and wine store in Lexington , Ma. had a small but very good supply of premium cigars. I made a point of visiting them often as it was on my way home.  Many wine and liquor personnel had some knowledge of cigars but just enough to make a sale.
The sales staff and myself chatted about cigars , as I was  giving them more insight of products they carried or should carry.
The relationship grew and became more solid, as they would call me if something interesting was coming in the store.  Eventually I heard from them about a Gloria Cubana shipment coming in of a limited supply of  ten pack torpedos. They would hold one for me. The price was $75.00 for the sample. This was a push for me price wise but I needed the smokes.  I visited the store on a cold winter Friday after work, picked up the sticks and made the purchase.
I savored those cigars, only smoking them once a month.  I did give my neighbor one for his use as a gift.
As we know La Gloria’s are now part of  General Cigar, not the frenzy they once were , but still a quality product.
Keep smoking
2018 CA Report: The Essential Cigar Advisor Guide to La Gloria Cubana Cigars

2018 CA Report: The Essential Cigar Advisor Guide to La Gloria Cubana Cigars

Cigar Advisor’s Essential La Gloria Cubana Cigars Tasting & Buying Guide

By the Cigar Advisor Editors

The La Gloria Cubana Cigars Back Story
Introduced in Cuba in 1885, La Gloria Cubana cigars immediately earned acceptance among Havana’s locals for their flavor, selection and reasonable price. The brand’s strong popularity continued, even after 1954 when the Cifuentes family, makers of Partagas cigars, purchased the La Gloria brand. Unfortunately, production ended after the 1959 Revolution, but La Gloria Cubana did see a brief, limited edition resurgence in the mid-1960s, and eventually, the Cifuentes sold the name rights to Ernesto Perez-Carrillo.
Fast forward to 1976: Ernesto Perez-Carrillo Jr. was learning the family trade at their El Credito factory in Miami’s “Little Havana” district. His father taught him well, but in 1980 Ernesto Sr. passed away, and Ernesto Jr. was handed the keys to the factory.
In 1982, after smoking a Cuban Davidoff cigar, Ernesto was inspired to create a cigar that, like the Davidoff, would be what he called, “a total sensuous smoke.” When Ernesto was satisfied with his new blend, he named the cigar La Gloria Cubana, and it was received as favorably among the Miami locals as the original La Glorias had been received in Havana.
10 years later, after four of Ernesto’s La Gloria cigars scored ’90’ and higher in a new magazine called Cigar Aficionado, everything changed. La Gloria was outselling the better-known premium brands and even many Cuban cigars. By the time the mid-90s Cigar Boom hit, La Gloria Cubana Cigars were a juggernaut, and to meet production demand, Ernesto opened a new factory in the Dominican Republic.
In 1999, Swedish Match purchased El Credito from the Perez-Carrillo family and it joined General Cigar’s stable of premium brands. As the years passed, more La Gloria brands were created to offer an ever-growing demand for bigger, bolder cigars. Marketed as “the ultimate in bold flavor,” the La Gloria Serie R came first. The “Serie R” was followed by the Serie R Black, then the Serie N. The Serie R Estelí was their first puro, followed by the R Estelí Maduro. The most recent addition to the brand is the La Gloria Colección Reserva, on which Ernesto Perez-Carrillo collaborated with Jhonys Diaz of General Cigar, and is produced at Perez-Carrillo’s La Alianza factory.

Following are 10 cigar reviews representing all of the aforementioned line extensions. Few premium cigar brands offer such a wide array of blend options, and we hope you’ll want to discover and enjoy many of them.

LA GLORIA COLECCIÓN RESERVA ROBUSTO CIGAR REVIEW

Country of Origin: Dominican Republic
Size: 5½” x 54
Strength: Medium – Full
Wrapper: Ecuador Sumatra-seed (grown in Los Rios province, Quevedo)
Filler & Binder: Nicaragua

La Gloria Colección Reserva Robusto Cigar Review

Construction/Appearance: Excellent. Wrapper color is homogenous. The cigar is firm and rolled seamlessly with a textbook triple-seam cap. Has a nice weight in the hand.
Draw: Just right.
Pre-light: Raisins (more like dried plums) right out of the gate on the pre-light.
First few puffs: A hearty and spicy start with a large volume of smoke.
Burn: Excellent from top to bottom with an impressively white ash.
Aroma: Sweet with a light woody accent.
Base Flavors: Cedar, roasted almonds, nutmeg, light pepper.
Balance: Excellent.

La Gloria Coleccion Robusto Cigar

Summary: At about 1/2-inch in, the smoke offers a cedary baseline with a suggestion of roasted almonds and light sweetness. In the second act, the smoke takes on another dimension and a distinctive note of nutmeg comes to the dance. The base flavors are still predominant, but they have more definition at this point, and the body has increased substantially. There is a certain tanginess to this cigar; even a subtle note of dark chocolate enters, but overall it’s rock-steady in the woody, spicy department with a modicum of pepper that’s more prevalent in the final act.

– Gary Korb

La Gloria Colección Reserva Robusto Cigar Cap

 

LA GLORIA CUBANA WAVELL CIGAR REVIEW

Country of Origin: Dominican Republic
Size: 5″ x 50
Strength: Medium
Wrapper: Ecuador Sumatra
Filler: Dominican, Nicaraguan
Binder: Nicaraguan

La Gloria Cubana Wavell Cigar Review

Construction/Appearance: Triple seam cap.
Draw: Just right.
Pre-light: Sweet hay and a suggestion of raisin.
First few puffs: Earthy, woody with some peppery spice and a large volume of smoke.
Burn: Excellent.
Aroma: Sweet.
Base Flavors: Earth, cedar, sweet spice, light pepper.
Balance: Excellent.

La Gloria Cubana Wavell Sumatra Cigar

Summary: After a bold start, the cigar settles-down fairly quickly to a more medium-bodied smoke with mostly woody character. The smoke is smooth and creamy with a sweet aroma. It also has this wonderful, what I call “malty” flavor, which I find very appealing. Truth be told, the Wavell has always been a regular favorite of mine for its rich, woody character, notes of sweetness and terrific consistency from cigar to cigar. Great for every day, and reasonably-priced, currently, at under $5 a smoke. Moreover, I think it’s the best La Gloria shape to start with for anyone who wants to get into this classic brand. – Gary Korb

LA GLORIA CUBANA WAVELL MADURO CIGAR REVIEW

Country of Origin: Dominican Republic
Size: 5″ x 50
Strength: Medium
Wrapper: Connecticut Broadleaf
Filler: Dominican, Nicaraguan
Binder: Nicaraguan

La Gloria Cubana Wavell Maduro Cigar Review
Construction/Appearance: Triple seam cap. Maduro wrapper is toothy, even in color and so dark, it could almost past for an oscuro.
Draw: Very good.
Pre-light: Wood, light grass, and raisin.
First few puffs: Smooth and earthy with a light sweetness.
Burn: Ash is somewhat firm and almost white with some black stippling.
Aroma: Earthy.
Base Flavors: Earthy with dominant notes of cedar and sweet tobacco.
Balance: Perfect.

La Gloria Cubana Wavell Maduro Cigar

Summary: Actually, this was my first La Gloria Cubana Wavell in the Connecticut Broadleaf Maduro wrapper, and I was pleasantly surprised. I think I liked it even more than the Sumatra, but to be fair, they both have their unique qualities. I was most impressed by the sweetness the Maduro put out, and I tend to prefer sweeter cigars. What may account for this is the color of the wrapper. It’s darker than many typical maduros, which tells me the leaf has a higher sugar content due to longer exposure to the sun, and may even come from a higher priming on the plant. I also think the Nicaraguan tobacco plays a bigger role in this cigar than the Wavell natural. But those particulars aside, the smoke was smooth and sweet and never varied right down to the last puff. I would even suggest that newer cigar smokers start with the Wavell Maduro if only for the smoother-sweeter properties it has over the natural Sumatra version. And for the more experienced reading this, what a nice departure from the full-bodied fare. The Wavell Maduro issues plenty of rich, balanced tobacco flavor in a more understated smoke, yet still manages to find an extra gear in the final third. – Gary Korb

LA GLORIA CUBANA GILDED AGE CIGAR REVIEW

Country of Origin: Honduras
Size: Churchill (7″ x 52)
Strength: Medium
Wrapper: Ecuador Sumatra Oscuro
Filler: Nicaragua Viso & Ligero
Binder: Honduras

La Gloria Cubana Gilded Age Cigar Review

Construction and Overall Appearance: A few broad veins; leaf shows very fine tooth. Very substantial in the hand…feels huge for a Churchill, even though it’s in the ballpark.
Draw: Moderate resistance.
Pre-light flavor: A bit of almond, sweet earth and wood.
Toasting & Light: Smoke starts a bit thin…but coffee and pepper pop right out front.
Base flavors: Tangy citrus, earth, toasty – think wood and nuts – plus hints of spice.
Aroma: Pleasant; room notes of cream, coffee, and wood.
Burn / Ash Quality: Nice whitish-grey ash, some of the tooth shows in it; burn line is sharp and mostly straight.
Balance of flavors: Didn’t swing wildly, transitioned from flavor to flavor nicely.

Summary: This La Gloria delivers as promised in the pre-light – toasty flavors mix with wood and earth until a smack of citrus jumps in and makes itself known. The finish is long and tangy, with a dry, peppery bite on the inside of my cheeks…And then I realized…
The La Gloria Cubana Gilded Age is the cigar equivalent of a glass of good red wine.
Seriously. The effects on the taste buds are the same as drinking a Cabernet Sauvignon or a mellow Rioja. It’s the tannins – the components of the grape that cause a drying sensation in your mouth – and they are everywhere. A dry red wine will cause a “tingling sensation on the tip of your tongue, with a slightly oily sensation in the middle of your tongue that lingers.” Those EXACT same savory characteristics are there…it’s unreal how close the experience is.
It’s a slow smoke – almost two hours, actually. Part of this is the resistance in the draw. Decent smoke output (but not a ton), and the retrohale has a bit of bite, too. The flavor transitions are very slow as well; but slow and steady wins the race, no?
The La Gloria Cubana Gilded Age is a very balanced cigar: doesn’t overpower the taste buds, and pours a very consistent set of flavors from start to finish. This smoke also removes all doubt as to why cigars are so often compared to wine. And like your choice vino, things get better with age…today’s is even smoother than I remember. Not going to mug you like some of the other more powerful La Gloria Cubana cigars you see here. Top shelf? Eh, I’d say it smokes more on par with a $15 bottle of wine – and you should totally give these LGC’s a shot if that’s your sweet spot.
– John Pullo

 

LA GLORIA CUBANA SERIE N CIGAR REVIEW

Country of Origin: Dominican Republic
Size: Glorioso (6½” x 58)
Strength: Full
Wrapper: Ecuadorian
Filler: Nicaraguan
Binder: Nicaraguan
Paired with: Nada-cola

La Gloria Cubana Serie N Cigar Review

Construction and Overall Appearance: As always, the Ecuadorian wrapper is beautiful and the ‘N’ looks sharp, the feel is very heavy and solid- if I can’t smoke it I can always use it as a paperweight.
Draw: Nice ‘n easy.
Pre-light flavor: Foot: very earthy with hints of raisins and dried fruit, oak, leather and a slight spice. Cold draw: sweet raisins, oak, earth, toast, and nuts.
Toasting & Light: A marshmallow-like sweetness, earth, cedar, a wood smoke/charred wood component and toasted bread. There’s also an herbal component reminiscent of jasmine.
Base flavors: Oak, jasmine tea, black pepper, toast, caramel, earth, nuts.
Retrohale: Very smooth. There’s a fruity sweetness with a lemon tang and a hearty spice but not overwhelming, with the same great smoked oak flavor.
Aroma: Almost raisin-like sweet and oak/campfire or wood smoke and earth.
Burn / Ash Quality: Sharp burn line and the ash is phosphoric white and solid.
Balance of flavors: Mostly a very sweet cigar but well-rounded and full of woody, earthy and peppery flavors.

La Gloria Cubana Serie N Cigar

General Observations:
• 1/3 – Summary- very sweet and herbal, lots of oak wood and a burnt sugar flavor.
• 2/3 – The jasmine flavor is still at the forefront but the sweetness increases; more of a caramel-like flavor. The sweetness has shifted to dark cherries. There’s a slight increase in pepper and the oak is very prominent and pleasant. There’s also a slight nuttiness returning.
• 3/3 – The sweetness is getting very strong with dark cherries and a smokiness – it’s fantastic, the rich oak is backing up with earth and nuts in the background. In nub territory that sweetness is killer, and the spicy/savory combo keeps it nicely balanced- oak is very rich and flavorful.
Summary: The Serie N is the twisted-sister of the Serie R Black, a big and full-bodied cigar with a slightly less intense blend. Right out of the gate I’m greeted with a marshmallow-like sweetness and notes of earth, cedar, charred wood and toasted bread. I also picked up something completely new: an herbal component that reminds me of jasmine tea leaves. After a few puffs, the sweet and woody flavors remain but a slight peppery fire is starting to slowly build.
After some time, the sweetness shifts to a bit of a burnt sugar flavor with some raisins and a hearty oak and aged wood profile- slight earth and leather on the aftertaste while the herbal note persists. By the second third, the jasmine flavor is at the forefront while the sweetness has increased and resembles a caramel-like flavor. Notes of oak, toast, and earth have increased intensity.
The sweetness has shifted to dark cherries. There’s a slight increase in pepper and the oak is very prominent and pleasant, and there’s also a slight nuttiness returning. By the end, I had one heck of a nub on a cigar that wouldn’t quit: herbal, sweet, and hearty- you’ve gotta try this cigar!
– Fred Lunt

 

LA GLORIA CUBANA SERIE R BLACK CIGAR REVIEW

Country of Origin: Nicaragua

Size: No. 64 (6¼” x 64)
Strength: Full
Wrapper: Nicaraguan ligero
Filler: Nicaraguan
Binder: Nicaraguan
Paired with: Nada-cola

La Gloria Cubana Serie R Black Cigar Review

Construction and Overall Appearance: Very solid construction on this big boy and a handsome wrapper to boot.
Draw: Perfect.
Pre-light flavor: Foot: a sweet floral-like note with a woody and earthy texture. Cold draw: pepper, earth, wood and cedar, and a slight saltiness and sunflower seed.
Toasting & Light: Starts with a fruity and woody sweetness. There are a slight oak and floral taste, as well as a general vegetal profile.
Base flavors: Dark fruits, coffee, leather, black pepper, and oak.
Retrohale: First retrohale: Sort of toasty, very sweet and peppery- a mixture of green and black pepper with a slight lemon tang, and woody.
Final retrohale: Very earthy with black pepper following closely behind; a gritty earth sensation and a nice smoked/oaky aftertaste.
Aroma: Faintly woody and earthy.
Burn / Ash Quality: The burn is a little off but the ash quality is fantastic- snow white and solid.
Balance of flavors: A nice balance of pepper and sweetness- favors strength over flavor.

La Gloria Cubana Serie R Black Cigar

General Observations
• 2/3 – Still very sweet with a dark fruitiness, notes of coffee, cedar, leather, and earth dominate.
• The profile switches to a more oak and leather dominated smoke with slight coffee and semi-sweetness in the background.
• After a while, a honey-like sweetness makes a return and is paired with oak and earth. Around here I also get a very pleasant note of cloves.
• 3/3 – There’s a smooth-bourbon like sweetness present as well as a slight spice followed by oak, earth, and black coffee. The clove spice makes a return.
Summary: I’ve been given the task of smoking the BIGGEST cigars LGC makes. In fact, I think these were the first 60 gauge cigars to ever be introduced to the market. While toasting, I had the distinct sensation of welding a dinosaur bone, it’s that big. The Serie R got off to a nice start with a fruity sweetness and notes of oak and vegetation. After about an inch there are some changes with an added earthy component with coffee and leather.

A quick retrohale at the second third brought deep complexity with a toasty and sweet combo and a spicy mixture of green and black pepper and a lemon-like tang. Midway through this third, I’m getting a feel for the body- this is a strong cigar, even for me. The final third was my favorite- an oak and clove spice with black coffee and a bourbon sweetness to cap it all off. For full-bodied smokers only- try this cigar, it might put a few hairs on your chest.
– Fred Lunt

 

LA GLORIA CUBANA SERIE R. BLACK MADURO CIGAR REVIEW

Country of Origin: Nicaragua

Size: No. 64 (6¼” x 64)
Strength: Full
Wrapper: Connecticut Broadleaf
Filler: Nicaraguan
Binder: Nicaraguan
Paired with: Nada-cola

La Gloria Cubana Serie R. Black Maduro Cigar Review

Construction and Overall Appearance: Big, heavy, and solid—near-black wrapper.
Draw: A little tight but workable.
Pre-light flavor: Foot- slightly peppery, earthy and leather.
Toasting & Light: Very sweet and toasty, hints of coffee and leather and just a dash of pepper.
Base flavors: Dark cherries, earth, pepper, wood, coffee, chocolate.
Retrohale: First retrohale: Semi-fruity sweetness with coffee and a nice rip of black pepper hitting the back of my tongue.
Final retrohale: Very strong, rich with oak, dark chocolate, earth, leather, and a wave of black pepper.
Aroma: A very sweet and toasty campfire-like aroma.
Burn / Ash Quality: Solid white, perfect.
Balance of flavors: Very strong but balanced- a well-rounded smoke.

La Gloria Cubana Serie R. Black Maduro Cigar

General Observations
• Once the cigar settles a bit I’m getting a lot of Maduro sweetness- dark cherries, earth.
• 2/3- Very woody and sweet with an earthy undertone. A slight spice and some pepper with leather and black coffee.
• As a whole, the R is rounding out as a heavy hitting, sweet and peppery smoke.
• As the 2/3 progresses the sweetness shifts towards a milk-chocolate. There’s still plenty of pepper and wood to keep things interesting and coffee is a nice aftertaste.
• This cigar is changing drastically in the last third; the flavors are turning up a lot- very intense and rich.
Summary: I’m a big fan of Maduro so needless to say I enjoyed the Serie R Black Maduro. It had a lot of the general dark and sweet flavors you would expect but with the added complexity of an all-Nicaraguan blend, which LGC is known for. After toasting, the Serie R settled on that Maduro sweetness: dark cherries, earth, cedar, and leather with only a hint of pepper. After one inch the traditional pepper, cedar, leather and earth came about – nothing unusual and this goes on for the entirety of the first third.

And then… bam! The second third comes in with heavy hitting notes of wood, earth, dark cherry sweetness and pepper. Loads of cedar, earth, and coffee are present as well as a coffee aftertaste. Over time a distinct nuttiness takes over and the cherry-sweetness is replaced by chocolate. It’s rich, it’s full, and it’s strong and I think I’m in love. There are no subtleties here- by the end I’m getting smacked in the mouth with more chocolate, earth, leather, nuts, oak, and coffee while the cherries even come back. If you were to compare the Natural and Maduro, it would be like setting up a punching match between Mike Tyson and the evil Russian from Rocky IV- I’m not sure who would win but there’s going to be some heavy hits.
– Fred Lunt

 

LA GLORIA SERIE R NATURAL CIGAR REVIEW

Country of Origin: Dominican Republic

Size: No. 6 (5 7/8″ x 60)
Strength: Full
Wrapper: Ecuadorian Sumatra
Filler: Nicaragua, Dominican, Mexican, Brazilian
Binder: Nicaraguan

La Gloria Serie R Natural Cigar Review

Draw: Perfect.
Pre-Light: Very woody.
First Few Puffs: Coffee bean.
Aroma: Cedary.
Burn-Ash Quality: Solid, white and gray.
Balance of Flavors: Slightly complex with some straightforward flavors.

La Gloria Serie R Natural Cigar

Summary: This cigar has been a favorite of mine and a go-to for a very long time; I think mainly because of its consistency. Every time I reach for one of these it’s always the same excellent smoking experience. This is a much richer and somewhat spicier cigar than the regular La Gloria line – I might even say more luxurious. The first thing you can’t miss is that oily, chocolate-brown Ecuadorian Sumatra wrapper, as it makes you want to just cut that beast and smoke it. And this virtual 6 x 60 size is packed with dense tobacco that brings a lot of flavor to the palate like a coffee bean, cedar, and spice. Even though I don’t normally reach for fuller bodied smokes in the morning, I paired it with a dark roast coffee after breakfast and I was one very content dude.
– Tommy Zman Zarzecki

 

LA GLORIA SERIE R MADURO CIGAR REVIEW

Country of Origin: Dominican Republic
Size: No. 6 (5 7/8″ x 60)
Strength: Full
Wrapper: Connecticut Broadleaf Maduro
Filler: Nicaragua, Dominican, Mexican, Brazilian
Binder: Nicaraguan

La Gloria Serie R Maduro Cigar Review

Draw: Perfect.
Pre-Light: Earthy.
First Few Puffs: Very nutty and naturally sweet upfront.
Aroma: Woody.
Burn-Ash Quality: Solid white.
Balance of Flavors: Great balance of different flavors.

La Gloria Serie R Maduro Cigar

Summary: A few years back I had the great fortune of visiting the General Cigar factory in the Dominican Republic and visited the room where they roll these ebony goliaths. I was blown away by the deep, dark, and incredibly oily wrapper leaf that the torcedor was stretching on his table and blanketing the inner leaf with. And while it’s the same filler and binder blend as the Serie R natural, it is amazing how different it tastes with that shimmering Connecticut Broadleaf Maduro wrapper. This big boy has a wonderful sweetness with notes of black cherry, dark coffee, and even a slight hint of raisins, which I’ve experienced in some La Flor Dominicana cigars. It’s terrific after dinner smoke that pairs so well with hearty red wine and any good belt of whiskey.
– Tommy Zman Zarzecki

 

LA GLORIA SERIE RF CIGAR REVIEW

Country of Origin: Dominican Republic
Size: No. 13 (5½” x 54)
Strength: Medium – Full
Wrapper: Ecuadorian Habano
Filler: Nicaraguan & Dominican
Binder: Connecticut Havano

La Gloria Serie RF Cigar Review

Draw: Smooth.
Pre-Light: Very earthy.
First Few Puffs: Slightly peppery and dark coffee.
Aroma: Slightly charry.
Burn-Ash Quality: Gray and white, held up nice for a while at the start.
Balance of Flavors: Several core flavors balance nicely throughout.

La Gloria Serie RF Cigar

Summary: This Famous Smoke Shop exclusive is an absolute gem created by the good people at General. I think the difference between this and the other two Serie R’s is that it’s straight up spicier, but not overly spicy by any means – just really flavorful. You’ll get a hint of black pepper at the start, that about a quarter of an inch in gives way to distinct notes of espresso and wood. But give it just a little more time and a delicious hint of black licorice crosses the palate creating an almost dessert-like experience – which is simply perfect for firing up after dinner. The Connecticut Havano outer leaf is somewhat toothy, which gives it an attractive, earthy feel. These sticks are priced nicer than the Serie R and very worth giving a try.
– Tommy Zman Zarzecki

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