La Gloria Cubana Serie R 2011 Edicion Limitada
So, you guys should all be familiar with Jeff by now. He’s our honorary Casas Fumando writer, and he kicked out tons of great reviews. If he keeps this up we are going to force him to join us full time. Until then, enjoy his newest “Guest” review.
Several months ago, I was sent a cigar by my friend Josh Peterson that I had little knowledge of, and one that seems to be in extremely short supply these days, that being the La Gloria Cubana Serie R 2011 Edicion Limitada. This cigar was part of a special release that came in a limited number of humidors specifically crafted for two tweaked versions of LGC cigars, the “White Box” and Serie R in a “Flechas” 6 1/2 x 49 figurado vitola. Conceived by Michael Giannini and Yuri Guillen, only 250 sequentially numbered humidors containing 24 each of the two cigars were made available to the public five years ago with an MSRP of $350, which these days seems ridiculously low for 48 LE cigars housed in a collector’s edition humidor. Well, if you happened to have had $350 lying around.
I contacted Michael Giannini for further information, and he responded:
“First, I can’t believe you have one of these beauties and that they are still around. The idea behind this was to create a unique perfecto shape, hence Flechas Especiale or Special Arrow. Yuri and I were messing with the blend and landed on some special ligeros which when blended just gave this cigar an intense and flavorful smoke. We landed on the size because we found it fully actualized the flavors and the physics of the shape added. The blend hierarchy in flavors for FE – was LGC White Box – Serie R – Flechas Especiale (top of pyramid). This was an extremely successful launch and completely sold out.”
With only 6,000 of the Serie R having been available in this special release, I’m looking forward to seeing how this now five year old cigar fares.
Wrapper: Ecuadorian Sumatra
Filler: Dominican Republic, Nicaraguan, “special ligero”
Size: Flechas Especiale 6 ½ x 49 figurado
Price: ? (the original price was 48 cigars for $350, but that also included the special humidor)
Smoking time: One hour, twenty-five minutes
Pairing: Evil Twin Katz Pis IPA (ABV 6.5%)
The La Gloria Cubana Serie R 2011 Edicion Limitada is draped in a medium-dark brown wrapper with a few darker areas. It sports a velvety feel with minimal veins and a very firm pack leading to a sharply pointed cap. The banding consists of the standard Serie R band, supplemented by a gold on maroon secondary band that reads “2011 Edicion Limitada”. The wrapper gives off a light sour barnyard scent with dry wood, while the foot shows earthy tobacco notes. Clipping the pointed cap results in a rather snug draw, no doubt hampered by the drastic tapering of the foot, with the cold draw revealing little more than a slight sweetness that I can’t quite pinpoint.
The small foot of the La Gloria Cubana Serie R 2011 Edicion Limitada lights up easily and immediately shows medium bodied flavors of smooth, mellow cedar, earth aged tobacco mustiness, and a floral sweetness. There is also some black pepper pungency without the bite, and the wood and earth are magnified on the retrohale. The burn has started out pretty wavy with a run on one side and a rather flaky ash, and I decide to do a correction before it gets out of hand. Although a normal draw produces a more than adequate volume of smoke, there is surprisingly little being put out while the cigars rests between puffs. The mustiness and sweetness have increased and a bit of toastiness has come in, and I am really enjoying the solid medium body at this point.
As I move into the central section, some savoriness has emerged, adding to the complexity of the cigar. There is now a noticeable (but not overwhelming) bit of wasabi-like burn to the sinuses on the retrohale as well. The toast and musty tobacco flavors have been exchanging places between puffs as the body has risen past the medium threshold, and I’m feeling just a bit of nicotine strength.
The Serie R 2011 Edicion Limitada continues to present the same flavors, although the savory notes are more dominant in the this final third. I notice no more new notes in this portion of the cigar as it smokes down to the final inch, where the flavors flatten out and I put it down. The cigar finishes at not quite medium-full in body and low-medium in strength with no harshness.
Sadly, this may be my only go-round with the La Gloria Cubana Serie R 2011, as its availability is very limited at this point. Even with the flavors falling off in the last inch and a half and the need for several touch-ups (but no re-lights), the rest of the experience was so enjoyable, I would love to have a bunch of these around. With five years of age on it, the cigar shows great flavors and a good amount of complexity. If you are lucky enough to run across it, I highly recommend checking it out. It may be your only opportunity to do so.
Big thanks to Josh for the cigar, and to Michael Giannini for the info and for creating this highly enjoyable smoke.
Evil Twin Brewing’s Katz Pis IPA (also known as Cat’s Piss) is made for them by Netherlands brewer Brouwerij de Molen and clocks in at 6.5% ABV. I had never had this beer before and found on sale at a local gas station, marked down to $1.99 from the original price of $7.99 for an 11.2 oz. bottle. Only when I got home did I realize why – the “best before” date on it is 2013. Although it no longer resembles a typical IPA, it has evolved into something more like a funky strong ale with a monstrous sediment-laden fluffy head and murky unfiltered apple juice appearance, dank and heavy bodied, with pine, nearly overripe fruit, almost a muskiness, smoke, and surprisingly solid carbonation, so I went back and picked up the last one they had. I thought why not pair a vintage cigar with a vintage beer? I figured since this might be my only encounter with this cigar, why not take a chance and see if the pairing would produce something memorable, rather than play it safe and have a so-so experience? As it turns out, the pairing played out very well, with the flavors of the ale complementing the aged goodness of the Serie R 2011 Edicion Limitada. Just watch out for the raft of nasties lurking in the bottom of the glass if you happen to have this vintage of the beer. This cigar would also be a great match with a Belgian strong ale, a sweet bourbon, or a strong cup of coffee.