La Gloria Cubana Sanson

The La Gloria Cubana Sanson is a limited production, regional release by General Cigar’s La Gloria Cubana brand.  A few days ago, we were proud to be first to report the details around this cigar.  The Sanson is a cigar that at the time of this article is only being made available to retailers in the southeastern United States.   There are a total of about 300 boxes that have been produced.  The Sanson quietly began appearing on the southeast retailer shelves in the past couple of weeks.  I recently have had an opportunity to smoke this blend.  While I didn’t find this to be the most revolutionary smoke, I did find this to be a solid  smoking experience – and one that will keep long-time La Gloria Cubana fans very happy – and especially those who enjoy a very big cigar.

The story with the La Gloria Cubana Sanson is that this was one of the blends that was being considered for the La Gloria Cubana Trunk Show Twenty Twelve series.  The Trunk Show series was announced at the 2012 IPCPR and brought to the table the concept of the smokeable bands. The Sanson blend was one of the final three blends being considered.  In the end La Gloria Cubana ended up going with the blends that became the Liga LR-1 and Liga YG-23 releases, however Team La Gloria Cubana liked the Sanson blend so much they decide to do a small batch.  The Sanson was done without a smokeable band.

Let’s take a closer look at the Sanson and see what this cigar brings to the table.

Blend Profile

When we spoke to General Cigar on this release, there were no details disclosed about the blend. We respect this decision, and we do consider it a positive as it creates a little bit of mystery around the cigar smoking experience.

Vitolas Avalable

The name Sanson is an indicator that this cigar is large.  When you look at it, there is no doubt this cigar is a meal.   The Sanson comes in one size – a huge 8 x 60.   This continues the trend of large cigars that we discussed prior to the 2012 IPCPR.
The cigars are packaged 10 per box for a total of only 3,000 cigars made.
The wrapper to the La Gloria Cubana Sanson has a vintage La Gloria Cubana natural look to it. The wrapper is a medium brown/dark caramel color.  There are also some darker spots on the wrapper.  The complexion to the wrapper is oily.  There are some visible veins on the surface of the wrapper.  The wrapper does a good job at hiding the wrapper seams, but they are visible upon close examination.
There is no smokeable band on the Sanson.  The band uses the standard core design for La Gloria Cubana.  It has the standard red, gold, white, and black color scheme color scheme.  It also has the trademark La Gloria Cubana female portrait with gold medallions going around the band.
Preparation for the Cigar Experience
Given that the Sanson has big ring gauge, a straight cut was a must.  Since I normally prefer a straight cut anyway, I had no problem going in this direction.   Once the cap was clipped, I was ready to begin the pre-light draw.   The dry draw notes to the Sanson yielded flavors of natural tobacco and a spice I could not put my finger on.  I also detected some wood and leather notes. Overall I did find the pre-light draw to the Sanson to be satisfactory.  At this time it was time to toast the foot of the Sanson and see what the smoking experience would deliver.
Flavor Profile
The La Gloria Cubana Sanson pretty much had a core set of flavors that was present from beginning to end.  I didn’t see a lot of change in terms of the flavors it delivered, but this core set of flavors did produce different permutations throughout the smoking experience.
The core set of flavors to the Sanson consisted of pepper, natural tobacco, hickory, and leather. During the first third, the pepper seemed to have a nice edge over the other flavors.  I found that the hickory and natural tobacco flavors in the background gave this cigar a unique identify.   This pretty much held during the first third of the Sanson.
Toward the midway point,  the pepper eased up.  The leather and natural tobacco notes were the primary flavors while the pepper and hickory became background flavors.  Later in the second third, the pepper notes resurfaced with the leather notes.  The natural tobacco moved into the background.  It was in the later stages of the second third where the hickory notes diminished significantly.
The last third of the cigar consisted of the pepper, natural tobacco, and leather.  There were different permutations as to what flavor was primary.  While there was some spice on the finish, I was actually expecting more spice considering this was a long smoke (about 3 hours).  It was also a nice surprise that the end of the cigar was not harsh.  The resulting nub was lukewarm in temperature and soft to the touch.
Burn and Draw
From a burn standpoint, the Sanson gets very high marks.  This cigar could not have burned better from start to finish.  The burn line remained razor sharp from start to finish.  For an 8 inch smoke, there were not a lot of times I needed to touch this up – and even I was surprised by this. The resulting ash was a salt and pepper color and remained firm.  The burn rate was ideal.  The burn temperature was also ideal.  It was only at the nub where I detected anything on the lukewarm side.
The draw didn’t quite score as high as the burn.  I found the draw to be tighter than I preferred – and I normally like a little resistance on the draw.  Despite the fact I had to fight the draw a bit, this had no adverse effects on the burn.
Strength and Body
For the most part, I found the Sanson to be a cigar that is not going to overpower you with strength.  I assessed the Sanson to be a medium strength smoking experience.  The flavors are also not overpowering, but are effective.  I assessed the Sanson to also be a medium-bodied cigar – falling just a little short of the medium to full range.  The strength and body balance each other very nicely during the smoking experience – with neither attribtute overshadowing the other.
Final Thoughts
If you have read many of my write-ups on cigars, you know that I am in the minority where I do enjoy a large ring gauge cigar.   This big ring gauge smoke delivers a very nice smoking experience from start to finish.   As I mentioned up front, this is not a revolutionary smoking experience.  I’d consider this to be a very old school, classic smoking experience. 
Fans of the original La Gloria Cubana and the La Gloria Cubana Serie R will enjoy this smoking experience.  Experienced cigar enthusiasts who like this old school style smoke will enjoy this. As for novice cigar enthusiasts, if they are looking to try a big ring gauge cigar that won’t overpower them, I would recommend it.  For myself,  I probably would have liked a little more strength and body and a little more flavor variation.  Yet, this is still a cigar that satisfied – and one that I would smoke again. 
Burn: Excellent
Draw: Good
Complexity: Low
Strength: Medium
Body: Medium
Finish: Good
Assessment: Nice to Have
Score: 89
Source: The cigars for this assessment were purchased from Outland Cigars in Charlotte, North Carolina.