Sunday afternoon turned out to be a fairly nice day, so I thought I’d pick something on the larger side. I have been enjoying a box of La Gloria Cubana Artesanos Retro Especiale Cubano for about a year and a half, and hadn’t had one in a while. This is a 6.5 x 58 parejo with a lighter colored wrapper that is a special cross bred Connecticut grown in Honduras. The idea behind this cigar was to have a fairly neutral wrapper that doesn’t overshadow the blend. I took a late afternoon walk with the dog and enjoyed the heck out of this smoke. It’s a smooth and flavorful blend that was very enjoyable. The quality of the tobaccos and the construction is obvious, it’s one of the reasons that the La Gloria Cubana line has been among my favorites over the past 15 years or so. Certainly there have been changes, and there have been a lot of line extensions, but there have been very few LGCs that I haven’t enjoyed over the years.
One of the first cigars to explore the world of large ring gauges was La Gloria Cubana back in the early part of the ’00s with the Serie R line. Sure, there was the Casa Blanca Jeroboam and Half Jeroboam as well as the Puros Indois Chief (10×66, 5×66 and 18×66 respectively), which were the early pioneers in big ring gauge, but the Serie R brought the format into the mainstream. By today’s standard, 52, 54 and 56 ring aren’t overly large, but at the time it was quite a big deal. I picked up a 5-pack a bit over a year ago on a visit to Famous Smoke Shop‘s retail location in Easton, PA in the No.5 maduro, a 5½ x 54 robusto. This was my Monday evening smoke. The dark brown Connecticut broadleaf wrapper is nice and oily. I have to admit the first couple I smoked out of this 5er were disappointing, I thought they were pretty flat and flavorless. Perhaps the humidor time has helped, but this was a nice, medium bodies smoke that burned perfectly, and had one characteristic that I really appreciate, a nice, flat ember. It’s a thing of beauty when you tap off the ash and it’s perfectly flat. I love that. This was a nice smoke. I was in the mood for a Serie N actually, and am sadly out of those, but this was a very acceptable alternative. Different, but tasty.
Later in the evening I had to run to Philadelphia to unlock a car. In an effort to simplify things, and instead of having to rush home after work and run out to the Flyers game, I sent my two sons to the game. I had to make a 50 minute or so drive, so I grabbed a cigar. Last year I picked up a five pack or two of Maria Mancini Robusto Largas when I last visited JRs store in Whippany, NJ. This is a cigar that I’ve really enjoyed over the years and always had in my humidors. I met up with Peter, from ACigarSmoker.com and recommended these, and was a little surprised that he wasn’t impressed. I think the one I smoked Monday may have been the first from that batch, and I now understand his reaction. These used to be a very rich and flavorful cigar, they had a distinctive flavor that I appreciated. This one was off. It burned very well, considering it’s an under $3 cigar, but it was a shadow of what it used to be. It’s a shame that the blend changed, I guess I was lucky to have an inexpensive cigar that I really liked for as long as I did. I may still have some older ones floating around. It’s not that it was a bad smoke, it just wasn’t what it should have been.
So that’s it, three cigars that I’ve smoked a bunch of in the past. Nothing new or unusual. Sometimes when it’s winter, things are a little crazy, and life gets busy, it’s nice to take comfort in some old friends and not have to think too hard and just enjoy a cigar for what it is. Believe me, When I smoke a cigar it’s for the sheer enjoyment, and whatever I write on these pages is off the cuff, pretty much from memory impressions. I enjoy something about just about every cigar I smoke.
I’m off to yet another Flyers game, until the next time,