In 2013, General Cigar Co. introduced its first Nicaraguan blends under the La Gloria Cubana brand. Named the Serie R Black and the Serie R Estelí, the two blends were introduced in three vitolas packaged in 18-count boxes, with the Serie R Black sold only at catalog and internet retailers and the Serie R Estelí available only at brick-and-mortar retailers.
On July 1, General Cigar Co. shipped maduro versions of the two cigars, both of which replace the original wrapper with a Connecticut broadleaf leaf. As with the original releases, the Serie R Estelí Maduro is designated exclusively for brick-and-mortar retailers while the Serie R Black Maduro is being sold exclusively at catalog and internet retailers. The La Gloria Cubana Serie R Estelí Maduro incorporates the aforementioned Connecticut broadleaf wrapper along with Nicaraguan tobacco in both the binder and filler.
The La Gloria Cubana Serie R Estelí Maduro launched in three vitolas:
- La Gloria Cubana Serie R Estelí Maduro No. 54 (6 x 54) — $6.99 (Boxes of 18, $125,82)
- La Gloria Cubana Serie R Estelí Maduro No. 60 (6 x 60) — $7.49 (Boxes of 18, $134.82)
- La Gloria Cubana Serie R Estelí Maduro No. 64 (6 1/4 x 54) — $7.99 (Boxes of 18, $143.82)
- Cigar Reviewed: La Gloria Cubana Serie R Estelí Maduro No. 54
- Country of Origin: Nicaragua
- Factory: STG Estelí
- Wrapper: Connecticut Broadleaf
- Binder: Nicaragua
- Filler: Nicaragua
- Length: 6 Inches
- Ring Gauge: 54
- Vitola: Toro Extra
- MSRP: $6.99 (Boxes of 18, $125,82)
- Release Date: July 1, 2016
- Number of Cigars Released: Regular Production
- Number of Cigars Smoked For Review: 3
Visually, the La Gloria Cubana Serie R Estelí Maduro is covered in a deep brown wrapper that is close to black and features an abundance of both oil and tooth. While there is an abundance of oil, but almost no sign of veins to be seen, and the cigar is a bit more spongy when squeezed than I like. Aroma from the wrapper is a combination of strong earth, leather, dark chocolate, hay and ash, while the cold draw brings flavors of hay, yeast, earth, dark cocoa and a distinct raisin sweetness.
The La Gloria Cubana Serie R Estelí Maduro starts off with a strong combination of both gritty earth and dark chocolate, with lessor flavors of grass, barnyard, leather, powdery cocoa and roasted espresso beans. The raisin sweetness from the cold draw is present on the retrohale, but not nearly as distinct, and I am also picking up a slight black pepper as well. Construction-wise, the draw is a bit tight—albeit well within normal limits—while the burn is just short of razor sharp so far and the smoke production is massive coming off of the foot. The overall strength begins quite mild, but does begin picking up by the time the first third comes to an end.
Coming into the second third of the Serie R Estelí Maduro, and the dominant flavor has shifted to more of a campfire note that is interesting, albeit not very enticing. However, there is a very nice sweet floral flavor that is showing up on the retrohale, joining other notes of dark chocolate, earth, espresso beans, hay and yeast. The draw remains a bit tight, but the burn has evened up nicely, and the smoke production continues to flow off of the foot showing no signs of letting up anytime soon. Strength-wise, the cigar has been building up a bit, but still fails to hit medium by the time the second third ends.
The final third of the La Gloria Cubana Serie R Estelí Maduro seems to be a continuation of the second third for the most part, with the same campfire note easily strong enough to be the dominant flavor, followed by flavors of leather, gritty earth, grass, coffee and slight nuts. The floral sweetness from the second third is long gone, replaced by a slight but noticeable hazelnut note that is just strong enough to be noticed before disappearing for good. The draw continues to be a bit tighter than I prefer, and the burn remains problem free, while the smoke production is as heavy as ever. Although the over strength does increase in the final third, it is still not enough to reach a solid medium by the time I put the nub down with about an inch left.
- Every one of the three samples I smoked had a tighter draw than I prefer. Not bad enough to really affect the profile in any negative way, but annoying nonetheless.
- The smoke production was massive off of the foot, dense and white, and never let up from the first puff
- There are many misconceptions about cigars that keep getting passed around and one of them is that the darker a cigar’s wrapper is, the stronger the profile will be. This specific blend turns that on its head, as it did not even hit the medium mark for me.
- The final smoking time for all three samples averaged just under two hours.
- You can see our coverage of the General Cigar Co. booth at the 2016 IPCPR Convention & Trade Show here.
- The cigars smoked for this review were given to halfwheel by General Cigar Co. The samples came from the IPCPR Convention & Trade Show.
- If you would like to purchase any of the La Gloria Cubana Serie R Estelí Maduro cigars, site sponsor Corona Cigar Co. has them in stock now.
Although it is not a bad cigar by any means, the problem with the La Gloria Cubana Serie R Estelí Maduro is that while the profile has a number of flavors, they either did not meld together with any sort of consistency or the campfire note that was so prevalent in the final two thirds dominated the profile. While there are flashes of some really great flavors—most notably the raisin sweetness present in the first third, the sweet floral note in the second third and the hazelnut sweetness from the final third—none of them were overly strong at any point and the overall profile was fairly linear. A smokable cigar by any measure, but also a fairly forgettable one.