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Cigar Review: La Gloria Cubana Colección Reserva Robusto

14 Mar 2018

Collaborations are nothing new in the cigar industry. In fact, some very large brands are the result of collaborations between a brand owner and an otherwise unaffiliated factory. While the La Gloria Cubana Colecction Reserva is also a collaboration (between La Gloria Cubana and Ernesto Perez-Carrillo Jr.’s Tabacalera La Alianza S.A.), it’s hardly the first time Perez-Carrillo has been associated with La Gloria Cubana.

The non-Cuban version of La Gloria Cubana was made for years by Perez-Carrillo, who gained prominence as one of the original boutique cigar makers in the 1990s. In 1999, the brand, along with El Credito Cigar Co., was sold to General Cigar’s parent company.

Perez-Carrillo stayed with General for another decade until he left to start his own family-controlled company and established the Tabacalera La Alianza S.A. factory in Santiago’s Zona Franca. La Alianza is just minutes away from the General Cigar Dominicana factory, also in Zona Franca, which is the current home of La Gloria Cubana. (General Cigar has La Gloria Cubana cigars made in a separate El Credito area inside the facility to keep some production techniques distinct from other brands.)

Colección Reserva isn’t even the first collaboration between General Cigar and Perez-Carrillo in recent years. That would be the limited edition Re+United from a few years back. And the commercial relationship goes back even further than that. (I recall seeing EPC boxes being made at the General Cigar box factory back in 2011.)

La Gloria Cubana Colección Reserva is made at La Alianza, as opposed to General Cigar Dominicana (where Re+United was produced). It is distributed by General Cigar which, by most accounts, is the largest importer of handmade cigars in the United States.

The cigar has an Ecuadorian Sumatra wrapper around Nicaraguan binder and filler tobaccos. It is packaged in 20-count boxes in 3 sizes: the Robusto I smoked (5 x 54), a Torpedo (6 x 54), and a Churchill-sized Presidente (7.5 x 54).

The Robusto features woodsy notes along with with leather and salted roast cashew. There’s a slight red pepper spice that lingers on the inside of your lips and also some nice sweetness (berries and dates), especially in the middle third of the cigar.

It’s a medium- to full-bodied smoke with a lingering tannic finish. Nicely textured smoke coats the palate like a fine powder.

The Robusto has a relatively loose draw and spongy feel, but construction doesn’t suffer any ill effects. The ash holds firm for at least a full inch and the burn is straight on all three samples I smoked.

In addition to enjoyable flavors and solid construction, the price ($7.59) makes this an impressive offering. If the same cigar were made for Crowned Heads (also a La Alianza customer) would it not have earned more buzz?

No matter the answer, if this is the future of collaboration in the cigar industry, sign me up. Full, complex flavors, good construction, and a fair price earn La Gloria Cubana Colección Reserva Robusto a rating of four and a half stogies out of five.

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

–Patrick S

photo credit: Stogie Guys

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