La Gloria Cubana has been on my radar lately. Ok, I lie. I’ve been watching this brand like a hawk and burning LGCs like it’s going out of style. I’ve always been fond of La Gloria, mainly the Serie R Maduro. The blend is solid. Consistent, flavorful, and performs perfectly cigar after cigar. But here’s the thing....La Gloria Cubana has been releasing some fantastic new things over the past few years – especially this past year – and they’re friggin’ good. Take a look at our Big List and you’ll find eight different LGC blends listed. EIGHT! And six of them are recent releases – that’s insane! Pardon my excitement, but LGC is one of the oldest and biggest brands in the industry, and this type of growth and innovation is practically unheard of when it comes to one of the industry’s 800lb gorillas. Unheard of.
Wow, that was a long intro paragraph, eh? Just a bit longer than the name of the cigar I’m reviewing. Ready? La Gloria Cubana Artesenos Retro Especiale. A tongue twister for this gringo.
Let’s get right to it then – I’m going to call it Retro because typing it all out is just absurd. Retro is beautiful. The band, the box, the wrapper....everything. I have in my hand the Club side. An attractively thin 5,75” vitola that’s somewhere between a large Robusto and Corona Gordo. The band is a beautiful portrayal of one of cigar’s most memorable images: Lady La Gloria, and the wrapper is golden in color with ample tooth a nice, oily sheen. This leaf is both impressive and unique. In fact, there are several unique twists to this cigar not normally found in brands as traditional as LGC, so let me break it down for you in a more structured format than my useless rambling.
The wrapper is Connecticut-seed from Honduras. A first for LGC and a brand new wrapper variety several makers are now favoring for its neutral but pleasant flavor, hearty aroma, and incredibly aesthetic qualities.
Rather than one binder, the Retro employs two bold leaves, both serving as binder and securing the long-fillers within. One is a rich, Cuban-seed Nicaraguan leaf. The other is a zesty Mexican leaf.
Ample ligeros are used. Nicaraguan and Dominican long-leaf ligeros are combined with proprietary long-fillers from the same countries to help maintain balance and smoothness.
I’ve probably had about 20 Retros over the past week alone, and I can tell you two things. First, true to La Gloria’s form, they’re incredibly consistent. Second, Retro is not your average La Gloria. Every single one opened up with a smooth, earthy start and quickly grew more flavor and robust as the ligeros take center stage. This sucker is complex. The cigar evolves several times throughout the burn. Consistent, yes....but far from one dimensional and although I’m sure you’ll thoroughly enjoy the entire cigar, there are definitely some points you’ll downright love. The earthiness is rustic and raw. A delicious display of bold Dominican tobaccos pairing perfectly with the sweet spices the ligeros dish out. There’s a deep, rich tobacco element in there, too. Black tobacco, courtesy of the bold Nicaraguan leaves met with a warm, toasty aroma. Then, the finish. It’s zesty, it’s toasty, it’s long, and it’s memorable. So much going on here you often find yourself trying to pinpoint where the cigar will go next. Worry not, after burning just a few you’ll quickly learn every delicious twist and satisfying turn.
Yes. I like Retro. In fact, I’ve been liking everything La Gloria has been doing lately. What’s not to love? A King Kong-sized brand with all the tobaccos in the world readily available engineered by blenders with tremendous experience and talent, then rolled in its very own, fully dedicated factory by some of the Dominican’s best torcedors. Do yourself a favor and give Retro a try. Hell, if you don’t try Retro, try any of La Gloria Cubana’s new offerings. See what they’re doing. See just how far this giant has come. You’re in for a real treat and an enjoyable journey.