There is quite a long history of the La Gloria Cubana brand. Folks who know me know I have an affinity for classic heritage brands, but in general, La Gloria Cubana always captures my interest. For starters, the non-Cuban version of this brand had roots in Little Havana, where it was a part of Ernesto Perez-Carrillo’s factory. When it was acquired by General Cigar, a factory within a factory was set up at its massive General Cigar Dominicana facility to preserve the boutique roots of La Gloria Cubana. It’s a brand that helped popularize big ring gauges; it’s a brand that made a cigar shaped like Santiago’s Monumento a los Héroes de la Restauración (La Gloria Cubana Artesanos de Obelisco) and even one with smokeable bands (a Gloria Cubana Trunk Show Twenty). In a way, La Gloria Cubana has combined the best of classic cigar making and innovation.
One thing the brand had not seen throughout its long history has been a San Andres Mexican-wrapped vitola. That would change in 2022 when the La Gloria Cubana Serie S was introduced. Today we look closer at the La Gloria Cubana Serie S in the Robusto Gordo size.
Today, La Gloria Cubana is sold and distributed by Forged Cigar Company, a spinoff from General Cigar Company launched in 2021. The idea with Forged was to give some brands from the massive General Cigar portfolio a little more attention. It seems to have been quite an active brand under Forged. There have been several limited edition releases, but the Serie S is a regular production release. It is important to note that the La Gloria Cubana Serie S we are talking about today is NOT the Maduro version. (At the 2023 Premium Cigar Association (PCA) Trade Show, a La Gloria Cubana Serie S Maduro was introduced).
Finally, this is the third time a “Serie” line has been under La Gloria Cubana. There is the popular La Gloria Cubana Serie R (I believe the “R” meant “Ring Gauge” because the line was originally focused on that). Another is the less-popular La Gloria Cubana Serie N (it focused on Nicaraguan tobaccos and had a letter “N” cut out from a tobacco leaf on the wrapper). Now, let’s turn our attention to the current La Gloria Cubana Serie S Robusto Gordo and see what this cigar brings to the table.
Blend and Origin
In addition to the Mexican San Andres wrapper, the La Gloria Cubana Serie S features Nicaraguan tobacco for the binder and as a part of the filler. There is also Dominican tobacco incorporated into the filler. Production is handled at El Credito, which is the factory within a factory located within General Cigar Dominicana.
Wrapper: Mexican San Andres
Filler: Nicaraguan, Dominican
Country of Origin: Dominican Republic
Factory: General Cigar Dominicana (El Credito)
The La Gloria Cubana Serie S is offered in three sizes, each in 24-count cabinet boxes. It is also worth noting the La Gloria Cubana Serie S Maduro is offered in the same three sizes with the same style boxes.
Robusto Gordo: 5 1/2 x 56
Gigante: 6 x 60
Presidente: 7 x 56
While this is not the Maduro version, the La Gloria Cubana Serie S had a dark wrapper. This wrapper had a milk chocolate color to it. There was a light coating of oil on the surface. There also was a slight amount of mottling present on the surface. The surface of the wrapper also had some thin visible veins, and any wrapper seams were minimally visible.
A straight cut was used to remove the La Gloria Cubana Serie S Robusto Gordo cap. Once the cap was removed, it was on to the pre-light draw ritual. The cold draw delivered a mix of earth and coffee. While it wasn’t the most exciting pre-light draw, there was still enough going on to satisfy me. At this point, it was time to toast up the footer and see what the smoking phase of the La Gloria Cubana Serie S Robusto Gordo would have in store.
The La Gloria Cubana Serie S Robusto Gordo opened up with notes of coffee, cocoa, baker’s spice, earth, mixed pepper, and a subtle sour candy flavor. Early on, the coffee and earth moved to the forefront. The cocoa, baker’s spice, mixed pepper, and sour candy notes settled in the background. Meanwhile, an additional layer of pepper with a slight amount of cedar was present.
During the second third of the La Gloria Cubana Serie S Robusto Gordo, the coffee and earth notes alternated in intensity. There was a slight increase in the mixed pepper notes. At the same time, there was still a slight sour candy note. The cocoa notes were still in the background but significantly diminished.
The pepper notes joined the coffee and earth notes by the last third. Meanwhile, the baker’s spice and a very slight amount of sour candy and cocoa remained in the background. This is how the La Gloria Cubana Serie S Robusto Gordo ended. The resulting nub was soft to the touch and cool in temperature.
The burn of the La Gloria Cubana Serie S Robusto Gordo started out straight but then required frequent touch-ups. The touch-ups helped the cigar maintain a straight burn path and burn line. But there were more touch-ups than I would like. The resulting ash was firm with a silver-gray color. Meanwhile, the burn rate and burn temperature were both ideal.
The draw to the La Gloria Cubana Serie S Robusto Gordo was on the open side. I usually prefer a little more resistance on the draw, but overall, the cigar was still low maintenance to derive flavor.
Strength and Body
The La Gloria Cubana Serie S Robusto Gordo started out as a medium-strength, medium-bodied smoke. There was a nominal increase in both attributes along the way, but in the end, the cigar remained in the medium range of the spectrum for strength and body. The body maintained an edge throughout the smoking experience in terms of strength versus body.
BANDING AND PACKAGING NOTES
The La Gloria Cubana Serie S maintains a classic look featuring a red and yellow La Gloria Cubana band. The lower part of the band has a large black-colored pseudo-band. The band has a significant amount of copper trim, especially on the upper portion. It should be noted that the same bands are used on the La Gloria Cubana Serie S Maduro. The one difference is that the Maduro will have another band below it, noting that it is a Maduro.
The box is primarily black with an image of San Andres Mountains. The Maduro also uses a similar box but will have a label noting Maduro.
While I was excited about a La Gloria Cubana getting a San Andres wrapper, my initial experience with the La Gloria Cubana Serie S Robusto Gordo fell short of expectations. In many ways, this felt like a very ordinary San Andres cigar, and unfortunately, as the pepper increased, it delivered the pungency I often get with a San Andres blend. On the other hand, Forged Cigar Company has built a portfolio with a lot of value-priced cigars. At $7.99, this does have an attractive price point, but in the end, Forged has much better cigars in the $7.99 range. In my book, the La Gloria Cubana Serie S Robusto Gordo is a cigar you might want to try a sample first and see if this is in your wheelhouse.
Key Flavors: Coffee, Baker’s Spice, Earth, Wood, Sour Candy, Mixed Pepper, Cedar,
Burn: Very Good
Draw: Very Good
Complexity: Medium Plus
Finish: Very Good
Value: Try a Sample
Photo Credits: Cigar Coop, except where noted