General Cigars has certainly been making a concerted effort to restructure their house in order to effect a positive change for their brands. To their credit they have done an admirable job so far, and one such testament is their concept of breaking the brands into teams. One such pioneering team in this category is the hardworking team over at La Gloria Cubana (LGC), lead by the affable Michael Giannini.
La Gloria has done it again this year by continuing their dedication to creating interesting blends and concepts for their Artesanos series. For those not familiar, one of the most intriguing blends to come out in the last year or so, was the LGC Artesanos Obelisco. If you would like to read more about the Obelisco, you can read about it here. Continuing in that tradition is the Artesanos Retro Especiale.
The Retro Especiale has been a decade or so in the making and as Giannini told us, “stemmed from the discovery of an old humidor found in the El Credito factory.” Giannini knew when he found the humidor that he had to do something special with it and so his quest with master blender Yuri Gullien began. Giannini worked with Yuri in developing a flavorful blend that would be elegant and at the same time bold, just like the humidor. They achieved this chiefly with a hybrid Connecticut wrapper grown in Honduras. The blend took two years to create and can truly be said to be a world traveler with a honduran grown wrapper, a Mexican and Nicaraguan double binder, and Nicaraguan and Dominican Ligero filler.
So with the bold packaging and blend choices, how does the Retro Especiale hold up? I feel confident in saying that it holds up nicely. While I still prefer the Obelisco more, the Retro Especiale is another strong entry in the La Gloria and General line up. It is what I would classify as a robust Connecticut. This year seems to be the rise of the Connecticut, and strong ones at that. Many manufacturers are creating seemingly mild manner Connecticut’s that sucker-punch the consumer with a medium profile that has spice and complexity.
On to the preview, the Retro Especiale is a well constructed cigar that has a smooth golden wrapper with no visible oils. The pack is firm at most points with only a soft spot here and there. Clipping the cap reveals a smooth draw with slight resistance, and an inspection of the foot reveals a sweet barnyard aroma. In the first quarter of the Retro Especiale I detect notes of cedar and floral with some back notes of hickory and spice. The Retro Especiale burns well and has the typical creamy component that any good Connecticut should. The ash is solid, and colored white with grey specks. As the cigar progresses into the midpoint the hickory becomes more pronounced and is complemented by cedar and earth. The final third is a dry floral note mixed with some black licorice notes.
Overall the La Gloria Cubana Retro Especiale is a pleasant Connecticut with some bite. The ligeros create strength and complexity making this cigar not your average Connecticut. My only complaint is that both of my cigars burned hot toward the end which is a pet peeve of mine, because it tends to kill whatever flavors you had going. Other than that the Retro Especiale was enjoyable, especially for those who enjoy Connecticut’s and complexity. So if you are a fan of creamy Connecticuts, complexity, and an eye to detail, then experience the next flavorful creation in the already robust Artesanos series, the Retro Especiale.