La Gloria Cubana Spanish Press | Cigar Reviews by the Katman

Wrapper: Nicaraguan Jalapa
Binder: Mexican San Andrés
Filler: Brazilian Mata Fina, Dominican Olor & Piloto Cubano, Nicaraguan Jalapa
Size: 5.5 x 52 Robusto
Strength: Medium/Full
Price: $6.29 MSRP

Today we take a look at the La Gloria Cubana Spanish Press.

BACKGROUND:
According to Halfwheel.com:
“The new three-vitola line is being produced inside the larger Genera Cigar Dominicana factory, though at the La Gloria Cubana brand’s special area called El Credito, a nod to the brand’s former factory. As the name implies, the cigars are Spanish pressed, a technique where the cigars are placed into trays with dividers immediately after rolling. The cigars are then placed into boxes that are designed to allow the cigars to keep the shape.

“This method eliminates air pockets to deliver an optimal draw and output of smoke, resulting in an enhanced smoking experience,” said Yuri Guillen, production manager for El Credito, in a press release. “We developed a very special blend to showcase our unique technique, and believe we have delivered a fantastic addition to the La Gloria Cubana portfolio.”

SIZES AND PRICING:
Robusto 5.5 x 50 $6.29
Toro 6.5 x 52 $7.29
Gigante 6 x 60 $7.99

APPEARANCE:
This box press is sort of odd. It has a crisp press at the cap…but by the time it gets to the foot, all of my sample cigars are round. I’m not sure if that’s the design of the process or the way it was packaged. No matter, who cares?

The wrapper is a nice brown paper bag brown with loads of oiliness and sheen. Seams are tight. A lot of veinage permeates each stick. And it’s smooth as ice. The triple caps vary greatly from expert to amateur.
Lastly, the redesigned cigar band is bright and really pops to get your attention.

SMELL THE GLOVE:
Very sweet smelling…caramel, fruitiness, honey, gingerbread, and brown sugar. Plus, elements of milk chocolate, malt, cedar, barnyard, coffee, a little bit of peat, fungi, and white pepper.
The cold draw presents flavors of milk chocolate, barnyard, coffee, caramel, malt, peat, and some undefined sweet factors in play.

I live in a large apartment complex in Milwaukee. Nice place. Everything is about security including a heated underground parking structure. Most of the inhabitants are Indian. They are here on special work visas so they can do their thing at a couple of high-tech companies here in town. All very nice people. Very traditional. All the men work and the women wear their saris and stay home with the kids keeping a nice home.

But I smell curry all the time. It’s 10:00am and it’s warm and humid so the windows are open and my eyes are burning from the Indian ladies’ cooking. Garlic and curry spices are nearly overwhelming. The hallways are always full of Indian spices. I love Indian food as a result of living in London…but sometimes, it’s just too much. I’ve sneezed 7 times in the last 90 seconds. Reviewing a cigar while your eyes water from the intensity of gently wafting spices that will kill you is sometimes difficult. Love apartment life.

FIRST THIRD:
I took my allergy meds and a hit of Afrin to dispel what the Indian cooking has done to my sinuses and I’m ready to light up. And I have Kleenex in one hand as I need to constantly wipe my weeping eyes…just like a genteel woman of the 19th century.

The Eagles. That figures. Dude…

The draw is perfect. I put my PerfecDraw draw adjustment tool away. I’m sure I will need it later this day.

Big blast of black pepper. The Afrin hasn’t kicked in yet. Strength seems powerful; which is odd because I smoked one yesterday and it started off much milder. Must be curry poisoning.

Nice flavors emerge immediately: Curry (kidding), espresso, malt, creaminess, dark cocoa, cedar, and dried fruit.
Because of all the wet weather, I still like to dry box my cigars naked for a couple of days before smoking them.

Yesterday’s smoke had one day on it. Therefore, today is the second day of dry boxing this stick. I am not sure of the chemistry of the process but it seems to work for me.

Strength is a potent medium.

I’m not an LGC fan. They are OK. Basically, an inexpensive catalog brand. A long way from its Cuban beginnings. But the La Gloria Cubana Spanish Press begins its journey with some real panache. It is extremely pleasing to the palate.
The cigar is jam packed but evenly distributed. Hence, a slow haul.
And then half an inch in, surprise, surprise…complexity rears its head. Nice.

Jimi…”The Wind Cries Mary.” Perfect.

This Robusto can be had for around $5 online. So, I am truly amazed at how good this cigar is. The complex nature is beginning to do the May pole dance. Transitions are finding their way. The finish, though, is mostly that pepper bomb. I assume with more humi time, the pepper will fade a bit and find its place in the universe.

The burn is spot on. The draw has the perfect resistance. Again, a nice surprise from LGC.

Savory and sweet are balanced nicely now. I gotta thank buddy Charles Lim for sending me some sticks. Last time he wrote, last week, he was in Hong Kong. I found a photo of him in the huge demonstration of Hong Kong folks demanding that they not be sent back to mainland China for misdeeds. Charles is the little lady in the bottom right of this photo. Charles is a master of disguise.

Bowie…”Space Oddity.” One of my old friends was a monster fan and he used to quote from this song all the time. He died in his mid-50’s from a heart attack because he was too dumb to realize that doing cocaine for 25 years isn’t a good idea.

Lovely cigar. Strength was medium yesterday. Today? It’s medium/full. Smoking on an empty stomach and without any cigars preceding it makes a big difference for your palate.

The spiciness calms down; allowing for the complexity to shine a bit. Transitions are more in play now. The finish isn’t head locked by the black pepper now and finds itself spewing elements of dried fruit, malt, chocolate, espresso, and earth, wind, and leather.

I’m telling you, this is a great, inexpensive go-to stick for you snobs out there. It has the personality of a much more expensive boutique blend. I wasn’t expecting this. On top of that, I am smoking the cigar with only two weeks of humi time. Whoa, Nelly.

SECOND THIRD:
Complexity makes the quantum leap. $5.00.
If big cigar companies want to make good cigars, they have all the tools and materials at their disposal. It just seems rare that they get it right…which is why a lot of us choose the more exciting boutique blends. LGC and General Cigar got it right with this little baby. I’m not suggesting this is as good as some recently reviewed sticks, but at this price, it doesn’t become a guilt-ridden venture when you may have to quit the stick unexpectedly.
The onslaught of black pepper has ceased and desisted. It meshes perfectly with the blend now. Still spicy, but I like spicy.

Very smooth. The balance is on point. Definitely medium/full which tells me it will stay here (I doubt it) but I expect, by the last third, I will be seeing haunting images of thousands of Indian women cooking curry for their men.

So many inexpensive cigars are lightweight. They feel like toothpicks in your hand. Others are so jammed pack that without a PerfecDraw poker, you’re dead in the water. The La Gloria Cubana Spanish Press is packed solid making this a probable two-hour smoke.

Flavors: Espresso, malt, chocolate covered raisins, cedar, black pepper, cumin, gingerbread, definitely marzipan, and a nice swath of creaminess. Very complex.

And…we hit full tilt. Yikes. I’m not even halfway through. Say Kaddish for me.

The burn needs some minor touch ups but then I am cursed when it comes to box pressed cigars. Karma is a bitch.
I’m telling ya…this baby could pass as a $10 boutique stick. If the Gigante (6 x 60) is packed as solid, we are talking about a 3-hour smoke. Too long for me…I get bored.

I’m at the halfway point and need to put the cigar down. I’ve turned into a royal pussy. I walk off the nicotine and wait til I can see again in my left eye. This baby ain’t fucking around.

Time for a commercial break…I spoke to Vlad Stojanov, the American rep for Bespoke/Casdagli Cigars. He was kidnapped by Estonian separatists last Thursday. His ransom is $65.00. Seems no one can come up with the dough. In a last-ditch effort to save his own life, he contacted me and I sent him $20 via Bitcoin. Haven’t heard back yet, so fingers crossed. BTW- You can get a 10% discount on Casdagli cigars from SBC by using the promo code: katman. So far, the only cigar company that charges an arm and a leg for their cigars but are worth every shekel. I love those blends.

Lots of reviewers put out their own blends. Most not so hot. I think it’s time for Jeremy Casdagli to maneuver a Katman blend. We can call it: Old Farts Only. And no skulls on the cigar band.

I better hurry. Once again, a big thunderstorm is on its way and the skies are dark. Screws with my photo taking.

The La Gloria Cubana Spanish Press is in stasis. It seems to have found its place in the cosmos and is going to sit right there and not move. Yes, it is complex with nice transitions and nice flavors. But it is not a flavor bomb. And it isn’t a high-priced boutique. A perfectly acceptable place to be for when you want a reliable good smoke.

The strength has calmed down and heart palpitations have ceased.
I turn on all the lights at 11am because the sky is black.

LAST THIRD:
The blend finds its soul in the last third. Everything escalates. The complex nature digs deep now. Flavors explode like a 14-year-old on his first date. Now we’re talking.
With a few months of humi time, this is going to be an impressive cigar.

I’m on a diet. The stress of being a gunslinger for the last 2-1/2 months at the synagogue has cause me to eat more than usual. Now I’m on leaves and twigs and Skittles. I’d like to get down to 470lbs by July.

Extremely savory now. The sweet elements fall by the wayside making the blend lopsided. Once again, the strength is a mother fucker. The screen is blurry.

I’m sitting here with a slack jaw just staring at the laptop with no brain activity. (Stop. I know what you’re thinking).

The body of this blend has been a little erratic due to its ‘newness.’ More humidor time, more humidor time.
Still, I have great expectations, and the will to survive the nicotine, that like all LGC blends, time matters.

You can buy a Torano for $5. But then you are smoking a Torano. Spend $5 on the La Gloria Cubana Spanish Press and you get something exceptional.

My suggestion is you buy a fiver for $25 and see for yourself. The nice thing about catalog brands is they are sold everywhere.
The cigar finishes on a pleasant note. Just way stronger than I expected. Give it some time before digging in.

RATING: 90

And now for something completely different:
1976

I was back home in Long Beach. Drawn and quartered from the traumatic experience of being shit canned from Curved Air over political reasons.

The last straw, from the band’s leaders’ point of view, was that Stewart Copeland and I were being requested for all the radio interviews in each city we played. Darryl was the founding member and had a massive, impenetrable ego. And not a lick of a sense of humor.

Stew and I were like Groucho and Chico. The radio DJ’s loved us. They even ignored our star of the show: Sonja Kristina.

Now, Stew had no worries about being fired. He was having a hot and heavy affair with Sonja. They lived together and eventually got married. So. his position was safe. Not to mention that his last name was Copeland. Miles Copeland was our manager. And Ian Copeland owned the booking agency. Both older brothers to Stew. They were a tight knit group.

Anyway, this infuriated Darryl as the request for Stew and I to do all the interviews was canonized by Miles Copeland, our manager. To make things really worse, print media spoke mostly to Stew and I because we were better copy. We were funny. And the media ate it up. The other members had no idea how to make people laugh. All we were doing was channeling the Marx Brothers.

Plain and simple, Stew and I were smart assess. Sometimes, we got a real humorless interviewer and boy was that a bitch. These guys usually got mad when we didn’t give straight answers. I mean, really mad. We didn’t care. Doing interviews was an unpleasant pain in the ass. We didn’t get paid but it and it was supposed to have the effect of putting more asses into the seats of our concert that night.

We had no idea that Stew and I would be an item. We would have been happy if they just interviewed Darryl and Sonja while we sat on the hotel steps and smoked hash.

So, I got too big for my britches. And I was gone with the help of a lousy album production for RCA. That’s right. I didn’t write the songs. I didn’t arrange them. But it was my fault that the album stunk and someone had to be sacrificed. Perfect set up to get rid of the funny bassist that stole Darryl’s thunder.

Back home, I got a letter from a friend, Butch Hatcher. An American singer that was in the southern rock band, Flatrock. And he was our singer for a short while before Curved Air did a reunion tour; and after seeing the massive, positive result of the Curved Air reunion tour, Darryl got rid of Butch and made Darryl’s new band the new Curved Air. We went from being called “Stark Naked and the Car Thieves” to Curved Air.

Stark Naked and the Car Thieves at our first gig in Nottingham, England:

Same place in Nottingham England for the first gig of Stark Naked. (I attempted to do my best Harpo Marx impersonation. Funny. I don’t remember asking Mick Jacques to put his hand on my knee…guitarists, man…)

Butch asked that I deliver a note to Supertramp’s manager who he had an affair with in England. So, I called and got an audience.
I was given directions where to go. And it happened to be where Supertramp was renting a house for rehearsal purposes.

The band was holed up in a mansion in Beverly Hills getting ready to record their next album. The living room had been turned into a mini recording studio for their demos.

I arrived and was ushered out to the pool area where the band and the manager were soaking up Southern California rays.

When I was introduced as Curved Air’s bassist, Supertramp members went nuts. Remember, this was 1976. They fawned over me. Took me a week to wash it off. I know it is hard for Americans to fathom the brouhaha over Curved Air.

But they were HUGE in Europe. And South America. And Japan. Literally legends in the music business that couldn’t break in this country. I guess we sounded too much like a mix of Jefferson Airplane/It’s a Beautiful Day (“White Bird”).

I spent a glorious afternoon with these wonderful people.
We then spent some time jamming in the living room.

When it was time to go, I stood up, took the bassist’s Fender P bass off and because of the unusually low ceiling, smashed the head of the bass into that ceiling causing a big crack in the neck.

It was a 1958 P bass. Worth a fortune. I couldn’t believe what I had done. They tried to make me feel like it was nothing and that they had a good luthier who could fix it but I was so embarrassed. I had never broken an instrument in my life.

I left them with my head hung low.
Before I broke the bass, I had been invited to the recording studio to lay some tracks down. For some reason, the call never came.
I was a real putz.



Categories: CIGAR REVIEWS

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