La Gloria Cubana Spirit of the Lady | Cigar Reviews by the Katman

Wrapper: Honduran Olancho San Agustin
Binder: Cameroon
Filler: Mexican, Nicaraguan, Dominican
Size: 6 x 50 Toro Box Pressed
Strength: Medium/Full
Price: $12.99


A friend sent me a couple sticks just a few days before they were released on March 2, 2021.
And because they were limited to 600 boxes per size, later in the month, I snagged a fiver from Small Batch Cigar. I paid $10 per stick instead of $13 using the promo code of DOJO.

I’ve only had the two gift sticks for 6+ weeks. Probably too early to garner a big rating but I smoked one yesterday and felt it was good to go for a review. I didn’t want to wait the normal 3-4 months because, by then, the sticks will be sold out.

Last night, I checked once again to see if there were any written reviews yet. Yep. One. Halfwheel. And the esteemed reviewer eviscerated this blend…calling it a DUD. Yikes. The reason I am reviewing this cigar this morning is because I smoked one yesterday and liked it. Now, additional humidor time is required but the blender’s intent seems to present and accounted for. So, now it feels like The Twilight Zone.

BACKGROUND:
From Cigar Aficionado:
“A new Dominican La Gloria Cubana is shipping to retailers March 2 and according to its distributor it’s made with a seven-year-old Honduran wrapper.

“Called Spirit of the Lady, this limited-edition series features an aged cover leaf grown in the Olancho San Agustín region of Honduras. Underneath is a Cameroon binder and filler blend of Mexican, Nicaraguan and Dominican tobaccos.

“Spirit of the Lady comes in two box-pressed sizes: Toro, measuring 6 inches by 50 ring gauge with a suggested retail price of $12.99, and Churchill, a 7 by 50 smoke that will retail for $14.99. Both come in decorative, 20-count boxes and are made at the El Credito Cigar Factory, a section within the General Cigar Dominicana Factory in Santiago, Dominican Republic dedicated to producing the La Gloria brand.

“Only 600 boxes of each size will be released.

“The La Gloria Cubana brand was previously distributed by General Cigar Co., but is now marketed and sold through Forged Cigar Co., a new distribution arm formed earlier this year by parent company Scandinavian Tobacco Group.”

SIZES AND PRICING:
Toro 6 x 50 $12.99
Churchill 7 x 50 $14.99

APPEARANCE:
I love mottled wrappers. The stick looks like it is done in a super oily camouflage. The aged copper penny along with dark dog spots like a Dalmatian. The box press is quite crisp with sharp corners. It’s a heavy stick. Filled to the brim. Seams are tight and nearly invisible. Veins appear everywhere. Application of the triple cap varies in artistic quality from stick to stick. I chose the prettiest.

SMELL THE GLOVE:
Big notes of floral T-bone my shnoz. This time, I can smell variations of flowers: roses, gardenias, and lavender. Quite the treat. In lockstep following the bouquet is milk chocolate, cedar, spectacular honey, fresh berries, malt, barnyard, slight notes of white pepper, and creaminess.

The cold draw presents flavors of eating flowers, milk chocolate, malt, cedar, creaminess, the honey is impressive, berries, black pepper, and a sweetness that seems to come from the cap, but no mention is made by any seller about this. I checked the La Gloria web site and they don’t list this cigar. So, who knows? Regardless, it is not offending.
The draw is great so I can put my PerfecDraw draw adjustment tool away.

FIRST THIRD:
Wrong. Out comes my PerfecDraw. One swipe and it is resistance happy.

Nice start with the sweetness in the forefront. A complex note appears instantly. And then black pepper, creaminess, chocolate, espresso, malt, and cedar.
Based upon the leaf stats, this shouldn’t be an ordinary, mostly Nicaraguan flavored blend.

Complexity moves quickly from the starting gate. Half an inch in, and I’m feeling it.

I get a burn issue, but I don’t have much luck with box pressed cigars…no idea why. A major touch up is required.

The spiciness goes over the top and I don’t like it. The subtle elements are wiped out toot suite. It also affects the nicely growing complex nature of the blend.

Graham cracker, vanilla ice cream, pie crust. Savory? Not so much. 10 seconds after writing no savory qualities, I get some: charred meatiness and A-1 sauce…which actually is sweet.

I’m thinking we both reviewed the cigars too early. 6+ weeks on my end…but do not know Halfwheel’s humi time. Still, I would have preferred 3-4 months at least. Again, no point reviewing a cigar after its off the market…most of the time.

These sticks can be found on several online stores but a lot of special B&M’s got them too. You will pay full price plus tax.

The early sweetness is gone now. The char line doesn’t want to cooperate. I hate putting torch to foot over and over. It must affect the cigar’s flavor. Hard for nuanced components to break on through to the other side.

Last night’s smoke had no burn issues whatsoever. And based upon being deemed a dud by Halfwheel, I start to think that inconsistency might be a problem. Inconsistency in $13-$14 cigars is not a word a manufacturer wants to hear in reviews.

Once again, I watched “Cream – Live at Albert Hall” last night. I always get the feeling a fist fight is going to break out at any moment. Hard to believe that two members are now gone. That must be a hard reality check for Clapton.

The complexity has stopped growing. The flavor points level out and seem to be in stasis.
Man, it tasted better last night on a crispy palate.

If other smokers hear word of mouth or have an unhappy experience with this cigar, those 1200 boxes will be around for a while. Which, naturally, means I could have waited a couple more months to review it. Fuck me. Ever wonder about your decision-making abilities? Me too. I thought it was cool to go into a gay bar in the 70’s to get a drink. My fro was a spooge target.

SECOND THIRD:
Mostly an uneventful first third. Not bad but off kilter in different ways. The burn is beginning to piss me off. Why did the complexity stop? Subtle flavors are hidden by the black pepper. Damn, Eloise.

I actually believed I was going to counter punch Halfwheel’s critique. Not so sure of that now.

All reviewers, including me, make a bad decision and write about a cigar in its infancy. The P.R. says the tobacco is aged but doesn’t say which of the 5 leaf stats were the ones aged…nor does it say how long the aging was. On most catalog cigars, you’re lucky if the cigar is aged 2-6 weeks before it hits the cellophane and boxed.

First sip of water helps…the early flavors are jutting out from their snail shells now. The spiciness backs off. Thank you, baby Jesus.

The blend improves. I smoked a Punch Diablo yesterday. I’ve had it marinating for nearly a year. What a difference. After a few months, that is one hellacious strong cigar with tons of pepper. A year on it and it was smooth as a glacier. Sometimes I wonder if reviewers can be eradicated from the internet and it just won’t matter. We can be superfluous.

Constant char line fixes just can’t be good for the flavors.
Mustiness. Great. Bloody hell.

The several sticks I have left are going to hibernate for 4-6 months before I try another. These cigars will probably still be for sale.

I am questioning the choice of those varied country tobaccos. Sometimes, a multi-tobacco blended cigar can be manna from the gods. And sometimes, not.

I absolutely see why Halfwheel gave this cigar a 75. Consistency flew out the window in the first 5 minutes. Now it’s on bag of coconuts trying to swim for safety from Devil’s Island prison. Ain’t no butterflies to see here folks.

The cigar has its moments but are constantly interrupted by one thing or another. Perplexing.
Sips of water have no impact.

I check again and find another written review that gave the cigar an 85. But the writer almost mimics perfectly what Halfwheel and I are experiencing…especially the burn issues. And a lackluster flavor profile.

I’ve smoked my share of good box pressed sticks and had no problems. I just don’t think I’m jinxed. Rather, the pressing has an effect on the construction; and most often it does not end up on the right side of the law.

I get this odd transition from nicely blended to musty in just seconds. The cigar comes across as schizophrenic. What a shame. Yet, my dears, we cannot rule out that this cigar needs some serious humidor time. The tobaccos aren’t that seriously aged.

Rather than ramble on, I will kick back and smoke it to the beginning of the last third and see what’s up.

I’ve forgotten to mention that the cigar began as medium in strength. But now it is quickly moving to medium/full.

LAST THIRD:
Strength is muy medium/full as the nicotine becomes an issue for yours truly. Such a pussy.

I got some comments on a cigar I recently reviewed. The gentleman asked me to break down why he sometimes has to lay down before a cigar is finished. I used to be able to take a full tilt cigar blend with no trouble. As I get older, I feel I am pussifying.

Mustiness resumes. This completely ruins a blend for me. It’s off putting. I don’t know enough about cigars to explain why there is mustiness in some cigars. Fermentation? Tobacco found on the farmer’s “I don’t know what this is” bushel of leaves? Or maybe not enough quality control? No idea.

So, there are three reviewers jousting with this cigar and come to the same conclusion.

I was offered a job by a large company, but they seem to be lost in paperwork and I’m still no closer to clocking in. Any idea how hard it is for a 71-year-old to grab a job? Very frustrating. If I mention my age before getting to meet a prospective employer, that age garners a vision of some guy with KMART slacks, a polo shirt with horizontal stripes, and the shirt is tucked in tight with a thin belt. Plus, orthopedic shoes with unmatching socks. Ageism. It sucks.

I wonder sometimes if reviewing a dud is even worth my time. Or is there some good from it by alerting potential customers about buying a fiver for $65?

I can’t report any flavors of significance at this point. It gives the impression of screaming, “Give me a chance!” But if the best thing going for it is becoming delusional from the strength…I don’t know.

Because of the fully packed sausage, it is a slow roll…naturally. This cigar could have been an interrogator at Abu Ghraib. I’m thinking of sticking my schmekel in a power outlet to see if it readjusts my palate.
At this point, the only consistency is that three reviewers agree on the merits of this cigar.

One reviewer gave up with a couple inches to go. Probably the smart thing to do. If I only had a brain.

Complexity is nil. No balance, no smoothness, the flavor profile jumped the shark, and no subtleties. Just a straight-ahead torturous experience.
The cigar goes out, A sign. I re-light and get a mouthful of unpleasant flavor elements.

This cigar is not going to find Jesus and come to life in the last third. I can’t figure out the blender’s intent. I’m putting a fork in it.

RATING: 75

And now for something completely different:

I worked for my father as a project manager at his structural steel fab shop. They also erected the steel.
I was only 23 and fresh out of school. And so young, dumb, and naïve.
The shop was in the City of Orange in California. We did a ton of work in L.A.

I was running some big skyscraper in downtown L.A. If memory serves, it was a 36-story building.

The field crew was having issues with some braces that were in each corner of the building on each floor. It appeared that they were detailed (drawn) wrong and were too short. That’s a big fuck up by the detailer (draftsman).

So, I drove out to the site and met with our foreman. Now this guy was a real asshole. And he loved how naïve I was. And incensed that I got my job through my father.

I don’t know why he was jealous because, as a union ironworker, he made a lot more dough than I did.
The building was all steel and none of the exterior, or curtain wall, had been erected yet.
This foreman told me the only way I could see the problem clearly was to stand on an 8” beam with a 4” flange to stand on.
AND it was running the perimeter of the building outside the protective cable guardrail.

He told me I would have to duck underneath the cable rail and step outside. We were on the 32nd floor. I was scared shitless. These guys walked steel for a living. I played bass.

Knots and steel rods formed in my shoulders and neck as I bent over and wiggled through the cable. I stood on the 4” flange which was the last vestige of support before flying off the building.

I walked over to the corner. My legs were shaking and I had a death grip on the top cable. The foreman showed me the problem. I heard nothing.

I looked down 32 floors and it might as well have been from the moon. What if I pass out from fear?
Naturally, no ironworker in his right mind would do what I had just been asked to do without a harness and being tied off. OSHA rules.

But like I said, this foreman was an asshole. So, he put my life in grave danger. It was pretty windy that high up and I could have been swept off that beam in a flash.

I returned to the safety of the inside of the building. I was a nervous wreck. I wrote down my notes and returned back to my car.
I sat there for several minutes; shaking.
The rods in my neck hurt like a sonovabitch.

I got back to the shop and told my father what happened. Yeah, I ratted the guy out.
My old man was furious. My dad’s partner heard the whole thing. He got on the radio and told the foreman to get his ass back to the shop.

He was brought into a closed-door meeting. I never heard my dad or his partner scream like that. The asshole was laughing saying he was just playing around.
Clearly, he was fired on the spot.

He appealed to the ironworker business agent. Another meeting was held. When the BA heard what he did, he wouldn’t defend the jerk.
The BA drummed him out of the union.
And then it was my turn. I got yelled at for being so stupid. And then my father grabbed me in a big bear hug and wouldn’t let go.
Obviously, I never did that again and I learned an important lesson in life. Don’t trust guys named Manny.



Categories: CIGAR REVIEWS

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22 replies

  1. Quite frankly, if it was my hypothetical son, “Manny” would have also caught a hell of a beating. There’s zero excuse for this.

    • I must agree.
      I have 80 sky dive jumps under my belt. And I was never so scared as standing on a 4″ flange 32 floors up.
      If I had a parachute, I would have made the evening news.
      There were other ironworkers watching but Manny was the foreman and they kept their mouths shut.
      As punishment for my stupidity, the boss made me the guy to fire guys in the shop, the office, and the field.
      If I walked out into the shop, everyone ran. They nicknamed me the terminator.
      I was 36. I should have had more brains than that up on that building…but I had just re-entered the construction biz after a dozen or so years in the music biz.
      My all time favorite project was building the Diamondbacks stadium in Phoenix. From dirt to watching opening day. The bank gave us tickets behind home plate; about 4 rows back. I watched as Marl McGwire took batting practice and every ball he hit was out of the park. The last homer broke the Jumbotron. I hear they’ve left the hole in the screen for old times sake.

  2. Come on Phil, the last 7 cigars have been boring selections at best. They all seem to be taken from the first page of Cigars International’s best of the 90+ sampler.

    • I apologize for disappointing.

    • And this is why, decades ago, I instituted my “three times your money back guarantee”.

      Don’t like what I write/build/discuss/cook? Well, my friend, you’re in luck! I will refund *three times* what you’ve paid me for it! Who else will give you that kind of guarantee?

      I’ve fixed many bikes for friends, or built effects pedals, rewired amps and pedal boards, built cables, fixed many computers, smoked many brisket, ribs, pork butts, given many cigars, etc. My first diploma and career was as an electronics technician. The second was as a Harley-Davidson mechanic. Third was/is as a software developer. I have a rather unique skillset!

      My rate was always the same. I’ve yet to pay back a single dime. All of the above applies to this very comment.

      The conclusion is left as an exercise for the reader 😉.

      • There is absolutely no fee to read me. Therefore, you get this analogy; you get what you pay for.
        Hey Chris…send me sticks you want me to review.
        Phil

        • Which is precisely the same fee I usually charge for all those services.

          You’ve solved the exercise I left for the reader 😉.

          • Young Phil,
            My readers are smarter than the average bear…they got your inference.
            Me? I had no idea what you were talking about…
            Old Phil

          • “No one ever got rich underestimating the stupidity of people.” — Not-as-Old Phil

          • People are the same everywhere…everyone is different.
            While in private conversations, I’ve aligned with your sentiment at times.
            It’s easier to count the days in front of me rather than the ones behind me.
            So, I prefer to be more optimistic.
            On the whole, my readers have been very kind to me.

            And this Not as old Phil stuff…I see your pics on FB.
            What are you? Have you made it to your 40’s yet? Mid-40’s?
            What I wouldn’t give to be in my 40’s again.
            Brother, you become a septugenarian and anyone under 55 is a kid.
            25-30 years older than not-as-old Phil,
            Phil

          • Your readers better be kind to you, you’ve provided them with so much entertainment.

            Wherever I pick up a stick, I go through my “Check if (the other) Phil has reviewed it before, try to pick up any of the flavours he did” ritual.

            Unfortunately, I smoke mainly Cubans. But I did go through it last week with a Tabernacle, one of the non-Cubans that I love. Same thing when I pick up a Casa Turrent or Mi Querida. Those three are probably my three favourite non-Cubans.

            And you got the age pretty well. Will be 47 this year. I’ve decided that, after 40, shit is just going to hurt. I’ve had 3 bulging discs in my back for over 4 years now. So be it!

          • 1. Your twenties is merely an extension of your teen years…but old enough to drink.
            2. Your 30’s is when maturation begins.
            3. Your 40’s show up and you find you are now officially a grownup.
            4. Your 50’s hit you faster than you think and you come to the disappointing conclusion…this is where you are in life. Opportunities taken advantage of…and opportunities missed.
            5. Your 60’s is when you seriously start falling apart. This doesn’t work right…that doesn’t work right…and all those broken body parts you accrued during your life rebel…and real arthritis begins with a symphonic crash of the cymbals.
            6. Your 70’s hit and you can call out the exact weather for Sept. 27, 2042. Everything hurts. You don’t sleep well. All the things you were teased with when you were younger are now permanent things. The upside is you know shit people much younger don’t know. Wisdom is kicking in. Although, everyone I know my age looks 10 years older and they act 15 years older. The reason for my blog is to keep me thinking like a young idiot. The bones hurt but the brain functions…sort of.
            Think of what your life was like 24 years ago and realize all the changes that took place to make you who you are…all that shit ruminating around your brain from life experience. Now add another 24 years to your current age and you have even more shit squeezed into our puny brains to remember.
            It’s not easy being green.

            And thank you Other Phil for the kind comments. Much appreciated. Gives me a boner every time.
            P

          • Man, I hope I’m nowhere near as clueless as I was 24 years ago.

            Bet you can’t wait until your 80s!

          • 90’s and healthy is the goal..
            I know a few guys in their 80’s and even early 90’s.
            I ask them that same question about making it to their age and how they look back on just 10-15 years ago…each one looks at me like I’m nuts. None of them can figure out the question…or the answer…lol.
            You forget words once in a while? Can’t find the right word on the tip of your tongue?
            Oy. I keep my brain fairly active but man, the senior moments are piling up in the corner. And I have no control over it. It’s probably the most frustrating thing I must endure…knock on wood.

        • I’ve got a few in mind, where I’d enjoy your input! Not knocking you, I love your reviews, but the cigar selection as of late, is no where near what your typical cigar selection has been historically.

          How can I get a ship to address?

          • Tell me what they are. I might have them waiting for review.
            Believe it or not, a shitload of cigar smokers mainly smoke catalog brands. In fact, when I look at the 10 year history of stats on my blog, the catalog brands are the ones most read.
            The CI catalog brands I’ve reviewed are read by thousands of smokers daily.

            Yes, I like to review boutique brands/blends. I have quite a few I’m waiting on to mature.
            But these days, the boutique blends are either only limited editions (which I don’t care to review) or fucking ridiculously expensive. I don’t want to spend $85 on a fiver for a cigar review…and then the cigar turns out to be shit.

            The cigar lounges around here don’t have an iota of cutting edginess to them. You don’t find those great new cigars in any of them. In fact, most lounges are filled with CI catalog brands.That’s what most guys smoke.

            I appreciate the offer on the cigars but I’m OK with my supply. I just hate doing shitty reviews so I’m stuck waiting on my sticks to blossom for a good review. In the meantime, I grab something that’s been in my humidor for a bit and write…And most are not bad every day sticks…which based on comments I get are the ones a lot of smokers look for as budgets tighten.
            Thanks again,
            Phil

          • Know which cigar reviews made the top 5 in just the last 12 months?
            All catalog brands.

            1.Ramon Bueso Genesis The Project ~ 11,882 views.
            2. Cohiba Red Dot ~ 10,241
            3. Graycliff 30 Year Vintage ~ 9,131
            4. Oliva Master Blends III ~ 9,037
            5. Gurkha Warpig ~ 8,781
            Go figure.

            bueso

          • I get it Phil, I often overlook, what the majority smoke. I have become accustomed to the various online forums, where the vast majority of what is smoked is “boutique” or Cuban.

            $85 fiver, lol. That’s why I enjoy your reviews of the cigars I am on the fence about, most notably the “boutique’s”. There are a couple brands that hold up to their value, but the most is just hype and marketing. A cigar that comes to mind that really sparked my interest was the Viaje Purple jalapeño, which to your point, I was not able to acquire at the time of release.

            My intention was not to step on any toes. Love the reviews and thank you for the reminder to keep an open mind.

          • Thanks Chris,
            I learned quickly working at two cigar lounges in 2020 that 95% of choices smokers went for were the usual suspects of catalog cigars. When I had the chance, I would guide them to boutique blends and explain why. And then they bought a Punch instead.
            I felt like a salmon swimming upstream.

            I believe this is a major reason that certain boutique manufacturers are only issuing limited edition blends. They are usually a roll of the dice as far as quality and they can’t afford to have a bunch of turds out there no one is buying.
            So, they release a few hundred boxes and cross their fingers.

            I can count on one hand the number of regular production boutique brands that always deliver the goods.
            On top of that, most cigar smokers can’t afford a batch of $13 cigars. I hear it constantly. I have several thousand reviews on file so I get comments that pop up for cigars I critiqued years ago. Price does matter is a recurrent theme.
            Phil

          • You two don’t know how good you have it. We pay 300% duty and taxes on tobacco here in Canada (give or take a few points, depending on province.)

            At a B&M here, $85 won’t get you a fiver of something Don Tomás/Quórum/Brickhouse garbage (in my opinion) level.

  3. I am a sucker for a good cigar deal so I appreciate that my Uncle Katman takes the time to sift through a lot of the catalog stuff and finds some diamonds in the rough. I would love to pack my humidor with Tatuaje, Illusione, My Father, Fuente, Padron, Davidoff and such but my budget just can’t allow it. So I keep my eyes open for deals on my favorite boutique cigars and I trust the Katman to help me find a few sleepers to round out my lineup. He hasn’t steered me wrong yet.

    • Hey Eric,
      It’s always been tough for most smokers to maintain a humidor full of their favorite sticks. The pandemic did not make this any easier. I didn’t work for 6 months. Charlotte’s hours were cut back.
      While the new boutique blends were always expensive, now it’s just fucking insane. For me, it feels like a slap in the face when during this time of millions of people out of work that the cigar manufacturers crank out expensive cigars that only the lucky smokers get to try.

      I smoked a $6 Punch Diablo by AJ yesterday. It had 9 months of naked humi time. It was fucking outstanding.
      After I published my best of 2020, I saw comments on the forums that were aghast that I dare include catalog cigars…a few wrote off my decision to put two Patel blends on my list. Fucking ignorant snobs. Keep buying your Lost & Found duds and the mainly duds from CF in which only 37 cigars were produced. Think how rich you are making these guys while they laugh their way to the bank over suckers that fell for the publicity.

      I intend to keep on truckin’ until the transmission goes out.
      And thank you so much for the nice compliments. I will not allow them to go to my head. I assume you got the check I sent?
      All the best,
      Phil

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