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Stogie Reviews: La Gloria Cubana Médaille d’Or No. 2 (Cuba)

6 Jan 2011

As popular as the Dominican-made La Gloria Cubana line has been for General Cigar, the Cuban incarnation is less visible than most of its Havana brethren. Case in point: Habanos SA, Cuba’s state-owned tobacco monopoly, relegates La Gloria to “local brand” status.

That’s a step below “niche brand” (i.e., Trinidad and San Cristobal), two steps below “multi-local” (i.e., Bolivar and Punch), and a far cry from “global” (i.e., Cohiba and Montecristo). I’m not sure these classifications mean much in the grand scheme of things. Do they indicate production volumes? Quality?

At any rate, La Gloria isn’t as prominent or widespread as the likes of Romeo y Julieta or Hoyo de Monterrey. But this brand is no newcomer. Cigars started being produced under the La Gloria Cubana name 125 years ago. Since then, the brand has weathered three ownership changes and one Cuban revolution. Today, it boasts seven commercially available vitolas, each made at the Partagas Factory using tobaccos from the Vuelta Abajo region.

The Médaille d’Or No. 2 (6.75 x 43) is one of four cigars in La Gloria’s slender Médaille d’Or series. It is a lonsdale-shaped smoke that fetches around $15 apiece. Caramel in color and relatively firm to the touch, it has a lumpy, rough-looking wrapper with a few prominent veins and noticeable seams. Not much to look at.

Once lit, the cigar’s pre-light fragrance of hay and honey transitions to a medium-bodied profile of graham cracker spice, roasted nuts, and sweet cedar. There’s also an aftertaste present that I can only describe as a tang—a unique sensation that can also be found in other smokes like the Romeo y Julieta Short Churchill.

At the midway point and thereafter, it becomes clear that the Médaille d’Or No. 2 isn’t going to transition much. I can see some enthusiasts being dismayed by this, especially in a long, slow-burning cigar that requires a significant time commitment. But the flavor’s balance easily keeps me satisfied throughout the smoke despite its consistency.

Do the construction characteristics leave something to be desired? Yes. Like many Cubans these days, the Médaille d’Or No. 2 requires touch-ups to maintain an even burn. And the draw varied somewhat between the three cigars I examined for this review. Notwithstanding its physical faults, however, this La Gloria Cubana is a fine selection if you’re looking for a Cuban that’s outside the mainstream. It earns four stogies out of five.

[To read more cigar reviews, please click here.]

Patrick A

photo credit: Stogie Guys

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