To smoke, or not to smoke? That is the question of Hamlet Liberation, the third major release from Hamlet Paredes who said: “I wanted to create something different, something liberating.” Made with an Ecuador Habano wrapper over a Nicaraguan-Honduran core blend, did our Review Panel sing its praises? Click now for the answer…
La Gloria Cubana Gilded Age Churchill: Cigar Advisor Review Panel
La Gloria Cubana Gilded Age Churchill
Country of Origin: Honduras
Size: 7″ x 52
Wrapper: Ecuadorian Sumatra Oscuro
Filler: Nicaraguan Ligero & Viso
Presentation: Boxes of 18 cigars / 10-packs / 5-packs / singles
I was excited to try this brand new La Gloria blend because I’m a fan of the brand, and I suspect many of our readers are too. La Gloria has been a trusted staple of heavier-bodied cigar smokers for over a hundred years.
The cigar didn’t disappoint. At 7″ x 52, it’s a nicely-sized Churchill packed well and, in each of my samples, flawlessly rolled in a dark, smooth wrapper with small to medium veins.
The transitions weren’t earth-shattering, but then, that’s not really what La Gloria is known for. Gilded Age has what I consider a real “classic” profile: medium to full-strength with ample body; woodsy, cedary flavors formed the base, and a honey-like sweetness lingered in the background. The aroma had a sweet cedar component to it, as well.
Lots of Cuban cigars match that description, and although on paper such a comparison might seem warranted, a better comparison would be the original La Gloria Cubana natural. The two share an Ecuadorian Sumatra wrapper, although Gilded Age’s is badged as an “Oscuro,” and the interior blend differs slightly.
Much like the original line, Gilded Age is a cigar that ought to appeal to a wide swath of cigar smokers. It’s big enough to please ligero lovers, but not so big as to turn occasional aficionados green.
It’s just…tasty. Nice to have a solid smoke that doesn’t swing wildly from flavor to flavor. You know how you can get a hint of something pre-light, then it falls flat in the opposite direction? Not here. Nicely applied cap, no major veins. Nice little bumps on that Sumatra wrapper. Excellent draw, but could’ve been a tad tighter. Lighting took a little extra effort due to amount of ligero – but once it caught fire, look out…
Sharp burn with a nice whitish-grey ash and a whiff of creamy coffee. The cigar had a decent smoke output, not a ton, and didn’t overpower the taste buds. Flavors changed nicely throughout: pre-light had a little almond and hay, plus mild, mild cedar; light it and get creamy and earthy with a bit of spice. Enter some pepper and a woody/grassy flavor, transitioning to creamy and toasty, then a full-flavor blast of roasted nuts and cappuccino to round it out. Citrus makes a play from time to time.
Some will call this medium-full, I say straight-up medium. I could smoke this at 10am, as it’s more lush than harsh. The fuller La Gloria’s you smoke can give you the sensation that they want to follow you into a dark alley and assault you to steal your pants – this one’s going to sweet-talk you out of your britches instead.
I have smoked all four sizes of the La Gloria Cubana Gilded Age, with the Churchill being the last size I needed to smoke, so I was happy to learn it was the size we would be smoking for this review. For each review, we smoke two cigars and then pass judgment, and thank God for that, because if I typed up a review on the first one alone, I would have trashed the Churchill with extreme prejudice. I was plagued with construction and draw issues the entire way through to the point where I had a kink in my neck from drawing so hard (please hold all sexual innuendo for the end).
However, compared to the second sample, it was like night and day, and I’m all “thumbs-up,” as I also felt about the other sizes. The draw was just right, the burn was level-even, and the flavor was outstanding. I got a great nutty flavor from this cigar; almost like almonds throughout the smoke with sweet subtle grassy, almost wheat-like notes. I think this cigar is a real home run and a true premium cigar. The moral of the story: Never judge a cigar by just one smoke.
I think Michael Giannini of La Gloria Cubana outdid himself as this is one of the most flavorful new cigars that I’ve had in a long time.
It’s a very solid, weighty stick, an attractive cigar with a dark reddish brown oily wrapper. Right off the bat from the moment you light up the rich flavor hits your taste buds. It starts out with a nice medium body as I get a kind of amaretto / dark cherry flavor. I think that flavor profile stays pretty consistent all the way through, but intensifies becoming a more bolder smoke when you get half way into it. It is extremely well rolled and produces a ton of smoke.
The Gilded Age is a very flavor packed smoke, I’ve smoked a ton of them in the past month, and I am definitely making it a part of my regular rotation.
This is what I call “a real cigar smoker’s cigar.” The La Gloria Cubana Gilded Age Churchill has an attractively dark, coppery color with excellent construction and seamless rolling. The cigar feels heavy in the hand, too, almost like a nunchuk. However, the band was so-so; a lack of gold embossing on such a long band left something to be desired.
Of the two samples I smoked, the first was on the tight side, while the second drew perfectly (and that’s why you sample two), with a sweet, earthy and leathery pre-light flavor. The smoke is thick, smooth, and creamy right out of the gate with a rounded, roasted almond-like aroma.
The burn started out a little off, but within the first inch found an even keel, exposing a black and grey marble ash. The base flavors were primarily woody with some sweet tobacco and light pepper, which ramped-up considerably AND consistently in the second half.
With its rich flavor, excellent balance and complexity, I feel that as more experienced cigar smokers get a crack at the Gilded Age, they will return to it. Kudos to Mr. Giannini.