Reading Time: 5 minutes Instead of waiting until winter when everyone’s too cold and miserable to smoke, we’re offering our reviews of the best new cigars 2023 has to offer. There are names you’d expect to be there, along with some surprises, too. Discover which new cigars you should be smoking inside!
CA Review Panel: La Gloria Cubana Cubana Esteli Cigar Review (Video)
The La Gloria Cubana Estelí Cigars Back Story
La Gloria Cubana Estelí cigar is a more full-flavored take on the classic La Gloria Cubana cigars that heightens the flavor and character of the brand’s original “white box” blend.
According to Steve Abbot, Senior brand manager for La Gloria Cubana, “We named this collection in honor of the artisans of our factory in Estelí who did a fantastic job creating the blend and bringing a deeper taste profile to the La Gloria portfolio.”
La Gloria Cubana Estelí starts with a rich-tasting blend of Honduran Jamastran and La Entrada long-fillers, framed by a Jamastran binder, then finished in a high-priming Nicaraguan Jalapa capa.
According to the company, this medium-to-full-bodied line extension “delivers a complex smoke with notes of cedar, spice, and white pepper.”
Here’s what the Cigar Advisors thought of it. . .
Country of Origin/Factory: STG Estelí, Nicaragua
Size: 4½” x 52
Wrapper: Nicaraguan Jalapa Ligero
Binder: Honduran Jamastran
Filler: Honduran Jamastran and La Entrada
John Pullo’s Tasting Notes…
Construction: Excellent consistent color; light in the hand, but not soft.
Draw: Draw is clear, just a hint of resistance.
Pre-light flavor: Features an awesome post-fermentation smell off the wrapper; shows up in the taste, too.
Toasting & Light: Even with so much ligero, it’s a quick light.
First Few Puffs: Cedar, barnyard, dark chocolate, a hint of citrus and a little salty.
Base flavors: Wood (oak), dark coffee, pepper/spice and an underlying sweet sensation.
Retrohale: Some very crisp spice here – it’s cold and snappy, and it lingers…
Aroma: Sweet and creamy, very refined.
Burn & Ash Quality: Nice burn, with a tight white ash.
Balance of flavors: Not wildly complex, leans very heavy on the oak and coffee.
Summary: It’s a La Gloria you can smoke for breakfast. Very refined, nowhere near as beefed up as Serie R Black – and sure won’t smack you around like Serie N. A slow burner, even for a shorter robusto like this (you might find the larger sizes are a little sweeter, less woody).
Starts out medium, gathering woody and sweet flavors while dashing the palate with pepper. This cigar turns out a ton of creamy smoke that’s thick with more oak flavors – it’s a wood-fest. After an inch, darker flavors roll in: whether it’s heavily roasted coffee, charred steak or green tea, I can’t say for sure…they all offer that same heavy but not-quite bitter sensation, so you get the idea. What’s interesting is the layer of subtle sweetness in the finish. More intense, it’s enough to leave a lump in my throat.
From there to the finish line, it goes like this: you take a puff…it hits your taste buds sweet, then leaves a long and lingering dark coffee and wood sensation as it rolls off your tongue and out of your mouth. And a dash of pepper right in the middle of your tongue. Finishes medium plus.
If you need a reference to compare, take the original LGC – now amplify everything. Deeper, fuller flavors, and a little more intensity. Sound like your sweet spot? Then don’t hesitate on adding this La Gloria Esteli to your to-do list.
Gary Korb’s Tasting Notes…
Construction and Overall Appearance: Well-crafted. Wrapper is nice and shimmery, with a leathery look and feel, even in color, and seamlessly rolled.
Draw (airflow): Excellent.
Pre-light flavor (cold draw): Leather, sweet tobacco.
First few puffs: Sweet, earthy and cedary.
Base flavors: Oak, toasted cashew, sweet spice, white pepper.
Burn / Ash Quality: Excellent. Burn was even with no issues. Ash was mostly grey in color and very firm.
Retrohale: Mostly white pepper.
Balance of flavors: Excellent.
Summary: Thumps-up from me. I hadn’t smoked cigars over the weekend, so my palate was pretty clean. Mellow and creamy to start with notes of cedar and sweet tobacco. Transitions to a more oaky flavor with some brown sugar and light note of pepper on a medium length finish. Smoke is perfectly balanced. Lots of dense smoke. Very consistent in body and strength. Caramelized flavors of oak, sweet spice, cashew, and white pepper. Note that the pepper in this Robusto was very light; just enough to give you a little snap on the finish. Overall, a very satisfying cigar that hit on all cylinders. I’ll even go so far as to say it was a “perfect cigar.”
A great introduction to the La Gloria line for newer smokers for its medium-body well-rounded smoke and savoriness. Veteran smokers will like this cigar for its complex character, rich taste, and unwavering performance.
Fred Lunt’s Tasting Notes…
Construction: Very solid feeling little cigar. The 4.5 x 52 is a great size; the wrapper is a handsome chestnut color, slightly rustic looking with just a slight toothiness.
Pre-light flavor: Foot: Barnyard, earth, pepper, toast. Cold Draw: nuts, toasted, earth, leather and coffee.
Toasting & Light: Very easy.
Initial notes: Very toast, nutty, and creamy. Medium-full to start. A nice and creamy oily mouthfeel with a slight spice on the finish.
Base flavors: Brown sugar, oak, spice, chocolate, earth.
Retrohale: Rich dark chocolate, oak, a sharp peppery spice and earth.
Aroma: Sweet woods and spices.
Burn / Ash Quality: The burn-line is a little wavy, but the ash is a glorious white and very solid.
Balance of flavors: The flavor profile is very sweet and on the cool side of the flavor wheel; amplified flavors in a well-rounded body.
Summary: Since the 90’s, La Gloria Cubana has been for cigar smokers who appreciate a richer, fuller bodied smoke and this Estelí keeps that tradition alive, for both smokers of the original and this next generation.
About ¼ of an inch in, there’s heavy oak with a slight citrus, cedar and a brown sugar sweetness on the finish. The smoke production is tremendous on this LGC – huge rips of sweet, aromatic smoke.
Midway through the main descriptor of this cigar is ‘mouthwatering’. The brown sugar sweetness is the main note with a sharp earth and spice underlying and a very slight tang on the finish in a beefy body.
By the end the oak and dark chocolate flavor dominate alongside peripheral notes of toast, earth, barnyard, coffee, and a slight spice with a bready mouthfeel.
A killer cigar for the price range, absolutely stacked with flavor. Pair with a dark roasted coffee or Anejo rum.
Tommy Zman’s Tasting Notes…
Construction: Very well rolled.
Draw: Smooth producing a lot of smoke.
Pre-light flavor: Slightly earthy.
First Few Puffs: Toasty, woody.
Base flavors: Cedar, citrus, cocoa.
Aroma: Pleasant woody aroma.
Burn & Ash Quality: Excellent burn and solid ash.
Balance of flavors: Balanced but not overly complex.
Summary: The thing that struck me the most about this cigar, other than that it really is very tasty, is that with its ligero outer wrapper and ligero leaf in the filler as well, you’d think this would be like smoking one of those gigantic black pepper shakers that waiters use in fancy restaurants. But guess what? It’s not at all.
The all-new LGC Estelí is medium to full in body and very smooth on the palate. Its flavor profile features a really nice cedar component, cocoa, spice and a nice bit of sweetness that I think falls into the citrus category. If you let the smoke really linger on the back of your palate, the cedar notes really come through loud and clear. While it’s not overly complex, there is enough going on throughout the smoke where you will take notice of the different flavors being introduced.
The appearance of the outer Nicaraguan leaf is a beautiful chocolate brown and the construction is excellent as it burns and draws wonderfully while forming a very solid ash. I smoked all three sizes – Robusto, Toro, and Gordo – and I found the 4 ½ x 52 produced the most full flavor.
Another great thing about this enjoyable cigar is that the price point is a little under $5 a stick which really makes it a tremendous value. I think it’s a cigar you can make your go-to every day stick, where both your taste buds and your wallet will thank you.