In 2009, Habanos S.A. released a new La Gloria Cubana release made solely for Cuba. Launched under its Edición Regional banner, the La Gloria Cubana Deliciosos was the first, and is to this day the only, ER for Cuba. Known more for its packaging and pricing, like many ERs, the Deliciosos found its way out of Cuba pretty quickly.
Here’s a quick refresher about Habanos S.A.’s Edición Regional cigar program:
In 2005, Habanos S.A. introduced a new series of limited production releases that would eventually become to be known as Edición Regional (Regional Edition). The program took regular Habanos S.A. brands and gave their regional distributors special sizes that aren’t part of respective brands regular production line-up. In some cases, like the Bolivar Gold Medals, Habanos S.A. gave specific distributors sizes that had been discontinued, but most are sizes that have never been available prior. There’s one major exception to the rule and that would be perhaps the most famous ER, the Edmundo Dantés El Conde 109, which is an ER available for Mexico that is related to the Montecristo brand, but is largely its own brand.
The first Edición Regionals didn’t feature the red and silver secondary bands that read “Exclusivo (Region Name)” that have become synonymous with the ER releases.
La Gloria Cubana was originally launched in 1885 before lapsing in 1959. It reemerged around 1965 and is currently considered a Local Brand for export only, meaning it has limited availability around the world. The tobacco comes from the Vuelta Abajo region of the Pinar del Rio province in western Cuba. Unlike other ERs, the Deliciosos is a pretty simplistic vitola, Corona Extra/Hermosos No.4, from a brand that doesn’t have the largest and most prominent following. However, Habanos S.A. presented the Deliciosos in jars of 25 cigars. Combine the unique packaging with the special role of being Cuba’s first ER and the La Gloria Cubana Deliciosos became a highly coveted release as soon as it was released in early 2010.
The jar is simply gorgeous – a beaming white canvas makes the La Gloria Cubana logo absolutely pop, and everyone who has seen it in person is floored by its beauty. Having passed on numerous other jar offerings (the Partagas P1, the H. Upmann Noellas, et al.), this one was too gorgeous to let get away.
Cigar Reviewed: La Gloria Cubana Deliciosos Edición Regional Cuba (2009)
Country of Origin: Cuba
Factory: Francisco Pérez German
Size: 5 Inches
Ring Gauge: 48
Vitola: Corona Extra (Hermosos No.4)
Est. Price: $40 (Jars of 25, $1,000)
Release Date: Feb. 26, 2010
Number of Cigars Released: 2,000 Jars of 25 Cigars (30,000 Total Cigars)
Number of Cigars Smoked for Review: 2
The wrapper seems fairly delicate with a uniformly brown color except for a small water spot behind the band on one of the cigars. There’s not a whole lot on the pre-light aroma: a bit of cracker (think sticking your nose into a box of Ritz), a touch of butter and just a faint hint of wood. However, the cold draw is spot-on with a more robust flavor profile that provides substance to the notes picked up through the nose.
There’s a sour, bitter note that leads the Deliciosos off — the kind of sensation that makes your tongue curl up and try to pull back into your throat. Not the best start to the first third of this cigar, but fortunately it subsides fairly quickly. There’s not a lot of pepper here, but rather a medium bodied smoke that can’t make up its mind as to when to open up.
At the midway point of the second third, a nice blast of pepper and body comes out of nowhere – to this point, the cigar had seemed to be largely a disappointment, lacking flavor and character. This wasn’t a case of expecting magic from a single cigar, either – it was downright boring. If you’d have given this to me blind, I’d figured it was another new release from one of the big manufacturers – there’s nothing that makes me think this is a Cuban cigar at this point.
In the final third, the spicy, peppery note returns right when the band is taken off, marking a change to what seems to become a different cigar. The smoke volume picks up, the flavors become richer, fuller and spicier before taking a real bad turn for the worse in the final puffs as they get hot and bitter and the cigar needs to be put down.
- Somehow these managed to sit in my humidor until doing this review – almost nine months of rest. I had really intended to smoke one while in Cuba, but just never found the right time and had been hesitant to smoke the first one from this jar. After finishing that first stick, it was a clear reminder never to let a cigar be thought of as so special as to not smoke it.
- The jar that the cigars are in is so airtight that the same Boveda pack I put in when I bought it is still good to this day.
- I recall paying about $16 per cigar at time of purchase, 345 CUC ($400, depending on exchange fees) for a jar of 25, though my memory could be mistaken. However, a quick search turned up that they were 246 CUC. A jar recently sold at auction for £720, or about $1100 USD.
- If I took the band off, I’d never know this was a Cuban cigar – it lacks anything that would be indicative of its country of origin.
- For all the hype this jar received, and for all the chasing of it that has gone on in the secondary market, there has been no reported plans of making another Cuban Edición Regional. This is a bit surprising given that some regions get one or two a year.
- I said it earlier, but damn it, the jar is good looking.
- The distributor for this cigar is Habanos S.A., it is the only ER that has been distributed by Habanos S.A.
- Jars have been a recurring part of Cuban cigar packaging since the 1920s, though they became a bit more common in the 1950s with both glass and ceramic jars being used. The manufacturers have changed several times, with Byron making the jars for Habanos S.A. since 2009.
- Knowing that a jar of these cigars sold for almost three times what I bought it for is just slightly disturbing. Having smoked two, I can’t help wonder if these will ever be worth that amount of money. Then again, having smoked two, I can only hope these will be worth that amount of money.
- Somewhere in between the second and final third is a darn good cigar – hopefully it evolves into that with more time.
- Final smoking time was about one hour and 25 minutes.
In my mind, this was the perfect cigar: small ring gauge, a lucky find at a gorgeous hotel in Havana, limited production, gorgeous packaging, etc. Then I lit one up and all those thoughts went out the window. Would I buy it again? Absolutely. If subjectivity and sentimentality factored into our scores, this would get a lot higher of a score because of where I bought it, my good fortune in even finding it, and the fact that the jar is a gorgeous piece of art – but the fact of the matter is that the La Gloria Cubana Deliciosos has a long way to go before becoming an objectively great cigar.