Review: La Gloria Cubana, Artesanos Retro Especiale “Taino”

Review: La Gloria Cubana, Artesanos Retro Especiale “Taino”
  • Construction
  • Burn
  • Flavor
  • Price
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If you’ve been reading our reviews for a while, you might be asking yourself,”Didn’t these guys already review this cigar?”. Well, that was a “preview” and it wasn’t me. That was seven months ago for Pete’s sake. Cigars change over time and sometimes prerelease cigars get tweaked. I’m not saying this was, but I observed different notes than Anthony so, who knows?

This is an attempt to bring back the “boutique cigar” heritage that brought the La Gloria Cubana brand to prominence in the early 1990’s. By developing a special wrapper leaf and changing the binder(s) and filler blend as well as developing unique retro packaging for each front-mark, they have certainly, as they say on their website, broken the mold that was used up to this point. The prior incarnations of the Artesanos series  had some merit, particularly the Obeslisco which was a refreshing departure, and has become a regular in my rotation.

A first glance, the LGCARET is kind of sexy with its revamped box and band which say, “I’m still a La Gloria, but I’m here to party!”.  Upon closer inspection, the wrapper lacks any sheen and has prominent veins with some slightly red undertones giving it a more Colorado-claro look. The symetry is a little off, a few bumps here and there and a cap that is merely adequate but nothing to brag about.

Now to the smoke. There was a just a gentle nose of tobacco flower on the wrapper, not much else, while the foot had more tobacco blossom and ammonia. The prelight draw had flavors of hay,white pepper and a little barnyard. The head responded well to the guillotine resulting in a draw that had a little less resistance than I prefer, but wasn’t annoying.  After a slow toasting of the foot, I was greeted by a cool smoke with a  nice saccharine sweetness and dry woody notes while the smoke gave off more ammonia. The first third saw the white pepper weaving it’s way in with more dry wood and dust. At this point the cigar was at the milder end of medium leaving a dry feeling in the back of my throat. The burn stared off slightly uneven, quickly correcting on it’s own.

During the second third, the draw remained unchanged, the wood notes became more oaky the saccharine changed to more of an orange peel, while the pepper morphed into a clove sensation. The body grew to a solid medium, still a bit dry in the throat, still with the ammonia, burning a bit less evenly but not a problem, still producing a decent volume of nice cool smoke.

For the final third, the body did not increase, not much build or change in the flavors, although an increase in the heat made them more difficult to distinguish. The sweetnes had all but disappeared by the time I reached the band, which incidently came off clean and didn’t interfere with comlpeting the smoke. The finish was short and very clean. The most surprising thing was the underlying strength. I had that nice, warm, tingly thing going on that I didn’t expect at all!

They certainly accomplished their goal of breaking the mold. This is a very un La Gloria-like cigar. Don’t pick one of these up expecting an earthy, leathery, medium-full experience. This is a more elegant cigar with subtler flavors that will gently carry you to your happy place. At around $7.50 a stick, I think it is worth a try, if medium body and less heavy flavors appeal to you.

Size: 7 x 52

Wrapper: Honduran, Connecticut seed

Binder: Mexican and Nicaraguan (yes, two binders)

Filler: Nicaraguan and Dominican ligero and a peppering of other Dom. and Nic. leaf

Price: $7.50 in the AZ market

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