Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Cigar Review – La Gloria Retro Especiale

Another in our ongoing series of reviews of cigars given to us by the good folks at General Cigar. Featured this time is the La Gloria Cubana Artesanos Retro Especiale ‘Club’.

Vitola: Robusto
Origin: Miami
Length: 5 ¾”
Ring Gauge: 47
Filler: Dominican, Nicaraguan
Binder: Mexican
Wrapper: Honduran Connecticut
Strength: Medium
Price: $7

Among the recent creations from Team La Gloria, this line features a natural, velvet-looking, Honduran-grown Connecticut wrapper. They are made at the El Credito Cigar Factory in Miami, FL.

From the manufacturer:

“The Honduran Connecticut wrapper accentuates the fillers and binders resulting in a very unique cigar with spicy nuances. The Artesanos Retro Especiale is a smoke to be savored by those who are passionate [about] authentic boutique cigars.”

Following Cigar Aficionado's 4-part rating system (Appearance & Construction, Flavor, Smoking Characteristics, and Overall Impression) club co-founders John & Fernand sat down to rate this cigar while enjoying a glass of rum.

With a beautifully smooth wrapper and a well-executed cap at the head, it appeared very well-constructed. There were visible ridges running the length of it which we attributed to the pressed that it was shaped in prior to wrapper application, but who knows.

The cigar’s draw was very good, if just a bit on the firm side of the spectrum. The burn was pretty good for the most part, except both our cigars went out at about the same point; just after the start of the second third. Smoke output was sufficient and it’s texture was pleasing. The ash was not always stable, but at least it was uniform and intact before falling.

The flavor started out a tad strong, but quickly mellowed into a welcomed smoothness. We noted sensations similar to cedar, sandalwood, and ‘fortunately’ very brief notes of menthol/ammonia near the end of the second third. That last part aside, we enjoyed the flavors of the Retro Especial very much, overall.

Our averaged rating for the La Gloria Cubana Artesanos Retro Especiale ‘Club’ is 85, a very good cigar.

Here's the points breakdown:

I. Appearance & Construction: 13 pts (87% of the points possible)
II. Flavor: 22 pts (88% of the points possible)
III. Smoking Characteristics: 20 pts (80% of the points possible)IV. Overall Impression: 30 pts (86% of the points possible)

La Gloria Retro Especiale 056All in all, a very enjoyable cigar that we recommend you try for yourself. Visit your local tobacconist and pick up a few!

© 2011 The Cohiba Club – All rights reserved.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Herf 48 – Back To The Fall

October 2, 2011 – Sammamish, WA
by club co-founder John
herf 48 026_100In attendance were host Robert, John L., Patrick (in AZ via Skype), Bruce, and Peter. Per our monthly ritual, we gathered to enjoy the chosen cigar after a home-cooked meal…
herf 48 077_600…and what a meal it was! Our host and co-founder Robert had awakened at 0500 to start smoking….no not the cigars, but two spice rubbed pork shoulders. Slow cooked, smoked, and basted with a sweet apple concoction, they came out extraordinarily well; juicy smoky, flavorful, and falling-apart good. Along with the spicy bean salad, slaw, and garlic bread, they set the stage for our first Fall herf of the year.
True to form, our NW Fall weather provided a rainy and cool evening, but we were well sheltered on Robert’s back porch as we settled down to try our selection of the month; the Tabacos Baez Serie H Monarcas. This is another in the long line of Garcia Family Cigars from Nicaragua. It is constructed with Nicaraguan Cuban seed filler, Nicaraguan binder and with Ecuadorian Habano wrapper.
herf 48 027_800Following CA’s 4-part rating system (Appearance, Flavor, Smoking Characteristics, and Overall Impression) our 4 tasters in Seattle enjoyed and rated this month’s selection. Patrick couldn’t get a hold of one in Phoenix by herf-time and settled for a Fuente instead, but still appreciated the camaraderie of the evening with friends.
herf 48 079_600True to form, this Don Pepin cigar was well-executed with a nice sheen and well-made cap. It was firm with slightly prominent veins. The draw was great with few burn issues in the first half. Two of the tasters thought that the draw and smoke volume, though initially great, later fell-off towards the second-half. The ash, on the other hand, was flawless.
herf 48 081_600The flavors were relatively mild, but tasty nonetheless. We noted browned butter and slightly woody & sweet tones with some initial hints of vanilla thinning out towards the end. It was a good medium strength cigar without too much spice.
After throwing out the highest and lowest scores then averaging the remaining, The Cohiba Club’s official rating for the Tabacos Baez Serie H Monarcas is 83, a “very good” cigar according to our rating system.
Here’s the points breakdown:
I. Appearance and Construction: 14.5 pts (96% of the points possible)
II. Flavor: 20.5 (80% of the points possible)
III. Smoking Characteristics: 21.5 (86% of the points possible)
IV. Overall Impression : 26.5 (76% of the points possible)
herf 48 084_600We were not blown away by this cigar, as we have been with many of the other Pepin offerings. It did, however, appear to be a well made, smooth, and easy smoke with no major flaws, and with a good milder flavor profile that some of you will certainly enjoy.
We’ll see you at the next herf, November 6th.
© 2011 The Cohiba Club – All rights reserved