|La Gloria Cubana Serie R Esteli|
Since the release of 2011’s La Gloria Cubana Artesanos Retro Especiale, General Cigar’s La Gloria Cubana brand has been focused more on limited editions and regional exclusives. In 2013, La Gloria Cubana went started to refocus back on their core line. This time they turned their attention to the Serie R line and announced two new blends for that line. The first was announced prior to the 2013 IPCPR Trade Show and it was called the La Gloria Cubana Serie R Black. This would be a cigar geared for exclusively for online / catalog-based retailers. At the 2013 IPCPR Trade Show, the brick and mortar counterpart, the Serie R Esteli was released. Recently, I had an opportunity to smoke the La Gloria Cubana Serie R Esteli. I found this cigar an excellent cigar – and one that should satisfy many La Gloria Cubana fans.
For the past three years, La Gloria Cubana has done a lot of focus around creativity and cigar blends across its brand. While the Serie R Esteli and Serie R Black are throwbacks to more of a classic style cigar, there is one significant change in direction with these cigars. These mark the brands first Nicaraguan puros to be a part of the La Gloria Cubana line.
In 2010, La Gloria Cubana launched a line known as La Gloria Cubana Serie N. While Serie N featured Nicaraguan tobacco, it was not a Nicaraguan puro. I did find it a little odd that the Nicaraguan puros were put in the Serie R line as opposed to the Serie N line. However, the Serie R line is much better established, so I can see some of the logic here.
Without further ado, let’s take a closer look at the La Gloria Cubana Serie R Esteli and see what this cigar brings to the table.
While General has said the cigar is a Nicaraguan puro, not much is known other than the fact the wrapper is a Jalapa Sol.
Wrapper: Jalapa Sol (Nicaragua)
The Serie R Esteli will be launched in 3 sizes – each packaged in an 18 count box. Like the original Serie R line, the Serie R Esteli is focused around larger ring gauges.
No. 54: 6 x 54
No. 60: 6 x 60
No. 64: 6 1/4 x 64
For this cigar experience, I smoked the toro-sized No. 54 or the Serie R Esteli line. The cigar is highlighted by a very oily Jalapa Sol wrapper. The wrapper itself is a coffee bean color with some darker marbling. There are a few visible veins on the wrapper, but the wrapper itself is pretty much void of any visible wrapper seams.
There are two bands on the La Gloria Cubana Serie R Esteli. The first band features the La Gloria Cubana logo in silver, white and red on a black background with silver trim. Above the logo is the text “LA GLORIA CUBANA” in silver on a black background. Below that logo is the text “Serie R” – also in silver font on a black background. A thick silver stripe exists on the lower part of the band below the “Serie R” text. On that stripe is the text “ESTELI” in black font.
There is also a footer band that is silver in color with red and black trim. The text “LA GLORIA CUBANA” in bright silver font is arranged in a wavy ticker-tape mode on the silver background.
Preparation for the Cigar Experience
For my smoke of the La Gloria Cubana Serie R Esteli No. 54, I went with my usual choice of a straight cut. Once the cap was removed, I proceeded with the pre-light draw phase. The dry draw notes provided a mix of cocoa, a hint of natural tobacco, and a slight pepper spice. Overall I considered the pre-light draw of the Serie R Esteli to be positive. At this point, I was ready to remove the footer band, light up the cigar and see what the overall cigar experience would deliver.
The Serie R Esteli started out with a mix of cocoa and natural tobacco with some red pepper close behind. The natural tobacco and red pepper seemed to be very “Serie R” like while the cocoa gave the flavor a classic Nicaraguan flavor. The red pepper was also prominent on the retro-hale. As the cigar settled down the pepper dialed back slightly on the tongue.
By the midway point, the natural tobacco notes were now the primary flavor and this was where the current sweet flavors could be derived from. The cocoa notes were now a secondary note. Meanwhile the pepper notes were inching their way back to the forefront again.
On the last third, the natural tobacco and pepper notes were up-front. The cocoa notes were replaced by more of a classic earthy profile – another trademark Nicaraguan flavor. The earthy notes probably a close second behind the natural tobacco and pepper. The Serie R Esteli was flavorful at the end with no harshness. The resulting nub was slight soft to the touch, but cool in temperature.
Burn and Draw
The burn to the La Gloria Cubana Serie R Esteli performed well. While there was a slight jaggedness on the burn line along the way, the burn never got off-track or got significantly uneven. For the most part it needed a few touch-ups along the way, but not an unordinary amount of touch-ups. The resulting ash was firm with some occasional light flaking – again nothing major. The ash seemed to vary between a white color and salt and pepper color from smoke to smoke. The burn rate and burn temperature were ideal.
|Burn of the La Gloria Cubana Serie R Esteli|
The draw had a touch of resistance to it – which is something I normally like. Overall this made the La Gloria Cubana Serie R Esteli an enjoyable smoke to puff on from start to finish.
Strength and Body
From a strength perspective, I did not find the La Gloria Cubana Serie R Esteli to be a nicotine bomb. I assessed its strength to full into the medium range of the spectrum. As for the flavors, I did find they had some nice depth to them. I assessed this cigar to fall into the medium to full-bodied range. In terms of looking at strength versus body, I definitely felt the Serie R Esteli had an edge in terms of the body.
Back into 2010, General Cigar made a decision to make the La Gloria Cubana brand more “boutique-like” and incorporate various innovations (smokeable bands, segmented wrappers, unorthodox vitolas etc). As mentioned the Serie R Esteli (and its internet / catalog counterpart), the Serie R Black are a return to a more traditional style smoke. It seems the return to basics has paid off with this cigar. This is a cigar I can recommend to either a novice or experienced cigar enthusiast. While it is not a nicotine or full-bodied bomb, there is still something very “La Gloria” about the flavors here that will keep a lot of core La Gloria Cubana fans happy. As for myself, this is a solid cigar, and its good enough to keep a five pack around in my humidor.
Body: Medium to Full
Assessment: 3.0 – The Fiver
Source: The cigar for this assessment were provided by General Cigar. The samples received were initiated by General Cigar in order to provide feedback. Cigar Coop is appreciative for the sample, but in no way does this influence this write-up.
The wrapper of this cigar is an oily leaf with medium sized veins and a medium-brown blush. Giving the wrapper a good sniff, I picked up light notes of earth and leather and wood.