General Cigar Co. – La Gloria Cubana Serie R Black Maduro
Following up last week’s review of the La Gloria Cubana Serie R Esteli Maduro, on the chopping block today is its counterpart, the Serie R Black Maduro. The maduro version released in 2016 of the Serie R Black exchanges the Nicaraguan wrapper for Connecticut Broadleaf, but maintains the binder and filler found in the original blend.
Exclusive to online and catalog retailers, the La Gloria Cubana Serie R Black Maduro is manufactured at Scandinavian Tobacco Group Esteli, S.A.. There were no new sizes produced for the maduro version. Like the original Serie R Black, the Maduro comes available in the following three size: N0. 58 (6 7/8 by 58), No. 60 (6 by 60), and No. 64 (6 1/4 by 64). The cigars come packaged in 18-count boxes and heavy discounts on box purchases can easily be found online.
Vitola: No. 58
Size: 6 7/8 by 58
Wrapper: Connecticut Broadleaf Maduro
Smoke Time: 1 Hour and 30 Minutes
The Serie R Black Maduro is draped in an extremely dark wrapper that hides most of the veins. However, one large and one medium vein can be seen, but the smaller ones blend into the dark leaf. The wrapper is full of bumps and has a very fine tooth that gives the leaf the feel of a fine grained sandpaper. This is one big, hefty cigar in the hand. No soft spots are found as I examine the stick.
The wrapper aroma is pungent with an earth and vinegar mix. But there is also a less appealing strong paint smell. The foot aroma is plain with only a generic wood. I am pleased to find a more welcoming dry draw after a slight complication trying to cut the cap on this very large cigar. Cold draw flavors of rich cedar, sweetness, and cooking spices awaken the palate.
As the La Gloria Cubana Serie R Black Maduro opens, a sweetness quickly comes across, followed by a sour quality that may be tied to a woodsy flavor. A dirty earth and pepper flavor move in shortly after. At about a half inch, the profile finds a great rhythm as the flavors noted earlier begin to mesh. The pepper flavor is heavy on the palate, but not a whole lot of spice warmth in the mouth. But as I move some smoke through my sinus, the spice is rather sharp.
The earth flavor pushes its way to the front of the profile, overshadowing most of the earlier sweetness. The sour is still hanging in there and, at this point, I would characterize it as a lemon zest. So far, the cigar has been performing flawlessly with an even burn, solid ash, and a satisfying amount of smoke.
The earth continues to build, but, at the same time, the sweetness has moved back in and complimenting the darker, heavier flavors. A quick touch-up is required as I make my way into the final third of Black Maduro. The retro-hale still shows off some spice warmth, but very manageable and actually enjoyable. The sweetness has developed to more of a cocoa with the last inch and half remaining in the La Gloria Cubana Serie R Black Maduro.
The flavors, which began near the full side, tapered off to more of medium profile, which it maintained till the end. On the strength side, the La Gloria cubana Serie R Black Maduro showed more strength than the Esteli Maduro. The combination of sweet and sour worked well with this blend, against the darker earth and pepper flavors. The smoke production was decent and a touch-up was needed in the final third. But overall, I have no real complaints in terms of performance. The Serie R Black Maduro can certainly stand on its own, but between the Esteli and the Black, I will be reaching for the Esteli.