Early in 2021, Scandinavian Tobacco Group announced it was splitting the brands of General Cigar into two entities. Several brands that were previously in the General Cigar Company portfolio were moved into a new entity known as Forged Cigar Company. Forged Cigar Company would essentially become its own distribution company complete with its own sales force. The brands that moved into Forged included: Partagas, Diesel, Bolivar, Chillin Moose, El Rey del Mundo, and La Gloria Cubana. If you go back a decade earlier, La Gloria Cubana was getting a big push when it was a part of General Cigar. While the brand was still actively releasing new products, it wasn’t nearly as active as brands like Macanudo, Cohiba, Punch, CAO, and Hoyo de Monterrey (which all stayed under General Cigar Company when the split happened). The move now allows La Gloria Cubana to get some more attention. There were three new releases from La Gloria Cubana in 2021. The first new release from La Gloria Cubana was a limited edition cigar known as Spirit of the Lady. Today we take a closer look at this cigar in the Toro size.
La Gloria Cubana is a brand that came to General Cigar when it acquired Ernesto Perez-Carrillo’s El Credito Cigar Company in 1999. The brand has always been a unique one to General Cigar. Most of the La Gloria Cubana products are produced at General Cigar Dominicana’s “El Credito Cigar Factory” which essentially is a “factory within a factory” located at General Cigar Dominicana. When La Gloria Cubana got its big push ten years ago, it was pushed as a brand that was focused a lot on innovation – doing unique blends and sizes. The past few years have seen La Gloria Cubana go back to its classic roots, and to some extent, Spirit of the Lady reflects this.
Let’s turn our attention to the La Gloria Cubana Spirit of the Lady Toro and dive deeper into this cigar.
Blend and Origin
The La Gloria Cubana Spirit of the Lady is a five-country multi-national blend featuring tobaccos from Honduras, Cameroon, Mexico, Nicaragua, and the Dominican Republic. While the presentation remains classic, one can say there still is some innovation going on with the brand given the combination of tobaccos. The cigar is highlighted by the Honduran Olancho San Agustin (OSA) wrapper. General/Forged has used this wrapper on several releases with CAO, Toraño, Partagas, and now La Gloria Cubana.
Wrapper: Honduran Olancho San Agustin
Filler: Mexican, Nicaraguan, Dominican
Country of Origin: Dominican Republic
Factory: General Cigar Dominicana
The La Gloria Cubana Spirit of the Lady was produced in two sizes. Both sizes were presented in 20-count boxes. A total of 600 boxes per size were produced.
Toro: 6 x 50
Churchill: 7 x 50
The Honduran Olancho San Agustin is a very aesthetically pleasing wrapper. It’s known for its Colorado red hue, and that’s what you get on the La Gloria Cubana Spirit of the Lady Toro. It’s a relatively smooth wrapper with some oils on it. There is some mottling that can also be seen on the surface of the wrapper. There zre several visible veins, and any wrapper seams that zre visible were minimal. The press has a Cuban-style soft press to it.
The band on the La Gloria Cubana Spirit of the Lady has a portrait of a woman on it surrounded by a bronze frame with black accents. The upper portion of the brand has a bronze background with more black accents. The lower part of the band is red with the text “LA GLORIA CUBANA” in white. Below that text “SPIRIT OF THE LADY” in a retro marquis style font. The lower part of the band has bronze trim with black accents on it.
Prior to lighting up the La Gloria Cubana Spirit of the Lady Toro, a straight cut was used to remove the cap. Once the cap was removed, it was on to the pre-light draw. There was a huge surprise I got with this cigar and it was not a pleasant one. The dry draw yielded what could only be described as something analogous to an artificial sweetener. In addition, I picked up some natural tobacco notes. There were two things even stranger: 1) The cap was not what was sweet as I only detected this sweetness after cutting the cigar and moving into the dry draw; 2) The amount of sweetness varied from each of the samples I smoked. Normally I don’t read other reviews before smoking a cigar for review, but upon checking a few other reviews, I wasn’t the only one who detected this.
Unfortunately, this was not a good start to the La Gloria Cubana Spirit of the Lady Toro. At this point, I toasted up the foot and looked to see if the smoking experience would do anything else.
The La Gloria Cubana Spirit of the Lady Toro opened up with notes of natural tobacco, lemon rind, black pepper, earth, and unfortunately the residual artificial-like sweetness I got on the pre-light draw. Like the pre-light draw, this sweetness varied between the samples. Early on the natural tobacco notes moved into the forefront. The earth, lemon rind, black pepper, and artificial sweetness were secondary flavors. The retro-hale delivered an additional layer of black pepper.
The earth flavors increased in intensity during the first third and joined the natural tobacco notes in the second third. Some cedar notes joined the lemon rind, pepper, and artificial sweetness in the background. The lemon rind notes diminished during this phase.
As the La Gloria Cubana Spirit of the Lady Toro moved into the last third, the cedar notes joined the earth and natural tobacco in the forefront. The pepper and artificial sweetness still remained in the background. By this point, things were very muddled. The cigar was delivering bitterness and a sweetness that was not tolerable. As the Spirit of the Lady Toro came to a close, the resulting nub was soft to the touch and cool in temperature.
The burn didn’t help things with this cigar. The burn started out decently enough (as seen in the photo), but it went downhill by the second third. This cigar needed touch-up after touch-up to keep it burning straight. The resulting ash started firm but got loose by the midway point. The ash itself had several shades of gray to it. The burn rate and burn temperature were both ideal.
The draw was a positive with the La Gloria Cubana Spirit of the Lady Toro. It had a touch of resistance to it, but it was not difficult to derive flavor from this cigar.
Strength and Body
In terms of strength and body, the La Gloria Spirit of the Lady Toro was a solid medium from start to finish. There was not much variance in intensity with this cigar throughout the experience. Both the strength and body balanced each other nicely with neither attribute overshadowing the other.
The La Gloria Cubana Spirit of the Lady Toro simply had a myriad of problems. I’m not sure what that sweetness was that I termed “artificial-like”, but it certainly didn’t help. However, it wasn’t the only problem with this cigar. There was bitterness and eventually harshness with this cigar. I’m sure a problematic burn didn’t help here. La Gloria Cubana is a brand that historically has done very well on Cigar Coop. As recently as last year, the La Gloria Cubana Spanish Press landed on the 2020 Cigar Coop Countdown. I know La Gloria Cubana and Scandinavian Tobacco Group are capable of doing better. The Toro is a cigar I simply cannot recommend, and while I’ll give the Churchill size of this blend a fair shot, I don’t see myself smoking the Toro again.
Key Flavors: Natural Tobacco, Earth, Cedar, Lemon Rind, Black Pepper, “Artificial-Like” Sweetness
Complexity: Medium Plus
Value: Not Recommended
Photo Credits: Cigar Coop, except where noted