Cigar Review: La Gloria Cubana Colección Reserva

  • LGC_CR_straightVitola: Torpedo
  • 6” x 54 ring gauge 
  • MSRP $8.29
  • Purchased at Burns Tobacconist

Background

The version of La Gloria Cubana most of you know was created in Miami in 1972 and grew throughout the 80s and 90s with Ernesto Perez-Carrillo, Jr., at the helm of the company. The brand was purchased in 1999 by General Cigar and Perez-Carrillo remained to guide the company for another decade before starting up his own company, EPC Cigars, with his son and daughter. He worked with General once since then, on the Re+United blend, made in conjunction with Michael Giannini and produced in the General factory. This year his journey has really gone full circle, though.

At this summer’s trade show, General showed off a new La Gloria Cubana blend—Colección Reserva—that is blended and produced in EPC’s Tabacalera La Alianza factory. Colección Reserva is based on a blend Perez-Carrillo created in the 1980s, using Nicaraguan filler and binder leaves, along with an Ecuadorian Sumatra wrapper grown in the Los Rios province. Perez-Carrillo had this to say about the leaf chosen:

“The Nicaraguan visos and ligeros that we use for this project are La Gloria all the way…Sumatra has a certain texture…(a) certain silkiness and a particular smell. I think it’s a tangy wrapper, peppery and medium to full bodied.”

I don’t usually opt to review a Torpedo vitola…anyone who knows me well knows that I very purposely stay away from Torpedo-tipped cigars, as a matter of fact…but, when we ordered all 3 sizes, apparently they only had these to ship…and I’m finding it hard to find a lot of new review material at the moment. So Torpedo is what we get for now! I’ve smoked at least a couple of this blend prior to this review stick, which I purchased at Burns Tobacconist. I got background facts from the Cigar Aficionado news story.

LGC_CR_tipPrelight

The box and packaging for this LGC release are definitely on the understated and “classic” side of things. If someone said, “We found this box of cigars from the early 1980s!” it would be totally believable…except that the cellophane isn’t yellow and there is a barcode on the underside of it. The band is the classic La Gloria look with a secondary band declaring it to be “Ernesto Perez-Carrillo Colección Reserva.”

The wrapper was shiny and oily in the light with a very smooth feel to it. It was slightly lighter than milk chocolate brown in color with a little bit of lighter coloration surrounding the veins…basically a look that should be quite familiar to those who smoke a lot of La Flor Dominicana Double Ligeros…this cigar’s wrapper looks like it’s pretty much the same thing. It smells similar, too, with a rich hay, earth, and mineral note to it, while the notes of barnyardy earth dominate the aroma from the foot.

One of the issues I have with Torpedo-tipped cigars is knowing how much to cut off for an optimal experience. Yes, even after 17 years of smoking cigars, I haven’t mastered this particular issue. Someone recently suggested a v-cut, though, so I hunted down my Xikar VX (it took about 30 minutes to find it…that’s how long it had been since I had used it) and took it to the LGC Colección Reserva. The draw seemed more than adequate and the flavor was a mix of earth and hay with overtones of copper and sweetness.

LGC_CR_cutFlavor

Initials puffs on this La Gloria revealed notes of earth, honey and pepper spice up front, with supporting flavors of hay and leather, along with a slight coppery note. The retrohale was nutty and very spicy. The pepper died down a bit as the first third burned on and by the end of the third, it was just a dull heat on the palate and a short spike on the nose. The rest of the flavor profile became more sweet and leathery with the coppery mineral note coming through mostly on the finish.

In the second third, the LGC Colección Reserva saw an increase in earthy notes with the sweetness slipping a little and the pepper becoming virtually non-existent on the palate and the nose.

As I got into the last third, the body bumped up slightly from the medium level where it had been from the beginning to a more medium-plus range. It maintained notes of hay and honey, earth and copper, in varying amounts as I got toward the end of the cigar, but the pepper notes stayed subdued until the end.

Construction

The v-cut definite helped ensure a good draw throughout. The cigar burned evenly and the ash was solid.

LGC_CR_angleValue

Good price and very nice experience, all adds up to very good value.

Conclusions

I’ve often said that La Gloria Cubana cigars have a “family resemblance” throughout the lines…that there are familiar flavors present in just about all of them. That definitely rings true for this heralded return of Ernesto Perez-Carrillo to the brand he built, as this smokes like a mix of the classic LGC blend and the Serie R that brought about the start of the big ring gauge trend. The Sumatra wrapper is what I think ties them all together and it definitely is a standout on this cigar, providing sweet and spicy and mineral notes from beginning to end.

By-The-Numbers

Prelight: 2/2
Construction: 2/2
Flavor: 4/5
Value: 1/1
Total: 9/10

David Jones

David has been smoking premium cigars since 2001. He is co-founder and editor-in-chief of Leaf Enthusiast. He is a full-time retail tobacconist, working for Burns Tobacconist in Chattanooga, where he has also organized the Chattanooga Tweet-Up for the last four years. He is also an independent graphic designer and typesetter. Twitter: @dmjones1009

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