Friday, January 27, 2012

La Gloria Cubana Artesanos Retro Especiale Review

Country: Dominican Republic
Wrapper origin: Honduras
Wrapper type: Connecticut
Filler: Nicaraguan and Mexican
Length: 5.7”
Ring: 47”
Cost: $4.50

Appearance (0-20): Much like the Montecristo I reviewed, I had no real complaints with the way the cigar looked. No visible blemishes or major veins were present and the wrapper looked to have some nice aging on it. There were some minor veins, but nothing of great consequence. It was tightly wrapped, and the label was pretty neat in terms of the artwork on it - olden style picture of a woman with a nice bright gold background.
Score: 16

Construction (0-20): No major complaints with the construction, although there were some slight lumps that I could feel. Nothing to be alarmed about, but still… that sort of packing worries me. But the cigar lit up with ease and was nothing but enjoyable throughout the stick. It burned extremely evenly, almost to the point where it was completely equal each time I puffed. The puffs themselves were perfect since this had a very nice draw to it. Still, the packing could have been a potential issue.
Score: 15

Strength (0-20): Like most La Gloria Cubana cigars that I have smoked, this one is billed as a full bodied experience. This bad boy doesn’t disappoint. It begins for me in the medium to full range with quite a bit of spice that’s nearly overpowering, but levels out to a smooth and rich flavor. As the cigar progresses it creeps over the line into the full realm and hovers there for the remainder. Thankfully the cigar stayed consistent for me, in terms of strength, throughout the burn.
Score: 18
Flavor (0-20): So you light this up and BOOM – pepper in your mouth. You get a nice creamy spice that’s almost musty in nature. That’s right; it’s the Connecticut wrapper showing its true colors. But then something changes. Remember how I said in the strength section that the cigar levels out? When it does, it’s dominated by toast, tobacco flavor, and more spice. But the mixture, albeit powerful and robust, is very well done and really imparts you with an earthy and almost rustic taste. Unfortunately for this cigar, that’s about as complex as we get. Some random other notes of sweetness get thrown in but the reality is – the Retro Especiale stays relatively the same through the rest of the burn – complexity is sacrificed for consistency.
Score: 15

Value (0-20): $4.50 a stick? Yes please. When I had this cigar I immediately popped up to check if I saw the price correctly. Yep. The larger size for $5.50? Uh…. Yep. I literally had to stop myself from buying a box on the spot. I said “remember dude – you have a wedding to pay for and do you really need more cigars with a full humidor?” but just because I didn’t give into temptation that time doesn’t mean I won’t soon….
Score: 19

Additional Notes: No drink pairing for this one other than some water. The cigar was smoked at CI, my normal prowling grounds.

Overall (0-100): If you are looking for a nice heavy smoke on a budget – this one is absolutely for you. But be warned, the construction may be a cause for concern and the complexity drops by the second half of the cigar. However if you are the type that the complexity isn’t a worry for you, and you are just looking for flavor, consider giving my score an additional bump of 0.1, up to a 4.25.
Score: 83

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