Reviews by Keith

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La Gloria Cubana Serie R

I just returned about a week ago from New Orleans, where the annual RTDA cigar industry trade show was held this year. Man, talk about a roll in the catnip. I always look forward to RTDA - catching up with friends in the industry, working out deals, discussing new projects, smoking 20 cigars a day....and hatching schemes to destroy the competition (he he he). It's sensory overload, with cigars as far as the eye can see, tons of new releases and all the cigars you can smoke. Since getting back I've let my palate recover for the past 5 days without a cigar. And now I'm back in the swing. One of the samples at my fingertips is a new size of La Gloria Cubana Serie R - it's about 5"x56 in size, natural wrapper. The Serie R blend was actually on the forefront of the trend toward full-bodied cigars when it first came out 4 or 5 years ago. In fact back, this was a regular in my rotation when it was released. But come to think of it, I haven't had one in quite some time so I'm looking forward to this review.

At first glance it's a little rough-looking in appearance, the wrapper very marbelized with several prominent veins, plus I noticed one soft spot in the midsection. I like this vitola, not grotesquely thick yet ample girth to showcase the blending abilities of maker Ernesto Carrillo. It produces abundant spice on the back of my throat from the get-go, frankly a little overwhelming for my palate at 9:00 in the morning. I know I know, go ahead and call me Sally. Let me get a refill of coffee.....okay I'm back! It settles down a bit from here but remains very bold and complex. The aroma is intoxicating and the big, creamy clouds of smoke are a treat. Around the mid-point however I experience some bite and a slight grassy taste as it begins to burn a little hot and harsh for just a brief spell, before evolving back to the more familiar rich, creamy, and full profile with distinct notes of cedar. The finish is long and lingering, tingling the back of the tongue.

The Serie R is a very good full-bodied cigar with ample complexity and flavor, one that deserves credit for helping to kick-start the trend toward heavier blends. Perhaps it has been eclipsed slightly by other, newer blends in the full-bodied department (CAO Brazilia, Edge, 5 Vegas 'A', Camacho, Joya Antanos, etc.) but should remain a staple in most humidors.