Benevolent Cigar Guide: The La Gloria Cubana Artesanos de Obelisco

            
 

I first stumbled upon this hidden gem of a cigar last year. It was a warm spring day, much like the ones we have been blessed with lately. I wandered into my local cigar club intending to enjoy a fine Davidoff.

BROWSING the humidors, a unique half circle box caught my eye. A fellow club member quickly explained to me that this was one of his favorite figuarados and the club rarely stocked them. Intrigued by the extravagant box holding the cigars and their fine oily wrapper, I changed my mind and picked one up.

The Smoke

The Smoke

Admittedly the La Gloria Cubana brand is a name well known to many cigar smokers. This cigar, however, represented the first selection that I chose to smoke from the brand. I was impressed by its firmness as I prepared to smoke it. A slight chop from my cutter sent the end falling to the ground without damaging the cigar in a clean cut. Box-pressed cigars have long been among my favorite type , perhaps it is their rareness that has always intrigued me, bot visually and experientially, incidentally most retailers attest that they’re hard to sell. This has always confused me as many box pressed cigars represent some of the best deals among premium cigars.

 
Glancing at the familiar, and safe, Davidoffs and Fuentes cigars staring at me from the nearby shelf I suddenly became skeptical since I’m unfamiliar with La Gloria, but I was immidately impressed with the rich aroma of the cigar, even before being lit.  After just a few puffs on this oddly shaped stogie I realized that I had made a very fine choice indeed. The chocolate and coffee flavors in the cigar were a perfect foil to the cup of espresso I was sipping. I always find a cup of fine espresso to be the perfect accompaniment to almost any cigar. Indeed, the aromas of a freshly-pulled cup of espresso has become an integral part of  my cigar ritual. For this particular cigar I found that a medium ground espresso (Caffe Vergnano and Caffe Sant’ Eustachio are my favorites) compliment the notes in the Obelisco perfectly.            
 
In addition to the flavor of coffee, the first third of the cigar provided intriguing hints of spices while the second third gave off some notes of cedar mixed with some nuances of caramel. For its third act that pronounced note of cocoa returned and was joined, in near perfect unison, to a wonderful earthy flavor. I must say that I was instantly impressed with the flavors of the cigar. In general, I usually smoke two or three examples of a cigar before adding it to my go to list. The Obelisco, however, was instantly added to my list of favorites.            
 
Overall, the cigar was a much quicker smoke than expected and lasted a little over a half an hour. I have been known to exuberantly puff away on cigars when in good company and often finish them quickly, still I was surprised by the short time required to smoke the Obelisco. The only drawback to the cigar, which may be due to my smoking style, was that the smoke tended to waft back into my nose. Several times I was forced to lower the cigar to prevent my nostrils from being flooded with smoke. Despite these minor drawbacks, I would recommend this cigar to any smoker.             
 
La Gloria Cubana has clearly done something remarkable with the Artesanos de Obelisco. While easily matching such classics as Ashton and Davidoff, the Obelisco retains a very affordable price. On average these delightful cigars sell for about $8.00 a stick. This makes these cigars the perfect smoke for a gathering of friends. 
 
 
Richard Urban has been smoking fine cigars since he turned 18 and at any given night can be found in Union Cigar Club in Pennsylvania. Richard runs a rare book store and currently attends Gettysburg College.

The Almanac of What the Modern Man Needs to Know: The Fuente Anejo #48

Many Fuente enthusiasts are thrown in ecstasy when they come across the highly desirable Opus X. Indeed, the Opus X has attained somewhat of a cult following in the cigar community. The ability to carry the Opus X is occasionally viewed as mark of excellence for cigar dealers.

The House

by: Richard Urban

NEEDLESS to say that i was very excited when  I smoked my first Opus X several years ago. Sadly,  I was left disappointed and thus continued my search for the perfect celebration cigar. Alas, I found said cigar in a lesser known offering from the venerable Arturo Fuente house. Some readers may remember that I mentioned in my previous column that I was devotee of the Anejo line. The cigars in this line from Fuente are some of the scarcest in the world. If the Opus X represents gold to the premium cigar smoker than the Anejo must represent platinum.

The quest for the Anejo is often an elusive one. Very few stores actually carry offerings from this line. Indeed, some retailers proudly claim it is the rarest cigar in the world. Fuente releases Anejos only around Father’s Day and Christmas in minute quantities. When one does find an Anejo, there is usually a strict three cigar per customer limit and an overly-inflated price. The retail price from Fuente is between $9.00 and $12.00 in the U.S. (depending on size) but it is not unheard of to see a price of $30.00 or more in cigar shops nation-wide.

The Goods

The Anejo No. 48 represents the epitome of luxury. Many of its components are secret, though it is believed to include blends used in the Opus X, Don Carlos, and Hemingway lines. Once it has been rolled it is aged in cognac barrels. I had the rare pleasure of being permitted to purchase a box of these rarities from a local dealer two years ago. Since that time I have smoked them only on special occasions.

The Test Drive

The first thing one notices about the Anejo is the presentation. A cedar wrapper encases the cigar with a red felt wrapper holding it all in place.

The Smoke

Upon lighting the cigar, one is greeted with aromatic delight. A combination of earthy, chocolate, and cognac scents provide the nostrils with a delightful experience. A small soft draw is all that is needed to keep this cigar light, allowing for a relaxed meditation. Immediately apparent is the flavor is the light scents of cedar interspersed with hints of spice. As it continues, the flavor of cognac is apparent but not overpowering. If one pays close attention, a hint of chocolate can be detected.

Another unique characteristic of the Anejo is the scent it produces. A friend of mine, who does not share my enthusiasm for cigars, once remarked that cigars smell wonderful until lit. The Anejo, however, seems to only get better as one smokes it. The aroma of flowers, cedar, and cognac is combined to produce an enjoyable bouquet [haters not withstanding].

The Experience

There is only one drawback when it comes to the Anejo; the fluctuating and always high price. As a result the Anejo is a cigar meant for special occasions. It is the Dom Perignon of cigars. Perfect for celebrating the purchase of your first sports-car or the post wedding conversation with your new father in law.

 
Richard Urban has been smoking fine cigars since he turned 18 and at any given night can be found in Union Cigar Club in Pennsylvania. Richard runs a rare book store and currently attends Gettysburg College.

The Most Benevolent Cuban Cigar Field-guide presents: The Partagas Culebra

TGG CIGAR PRIMER

Type: Figurado specifically: culebra

Origin: Cuba

Brand: Partagas

Background: Partagas was founded in 1827 and is often credited with being the first proper cigar factory.

 

THE lore of why Culebras are braided together range from “so the employees couldn’t steal more cigars”, to “making it difficult for employees to sell their unique daily stipend of cigars on the black market”.

Who knows what the truth is but I, for one, just care about the uniqueness of the cigar itself.

 

Appearance:

The twisted truth...

 

The Taste:

Cutting the end I take a few cold draws:  It’s a nice and easy draw and as far as the flavor is concerned I only detect the slightest hint of barnyard shine through. I quickly toast the foot and take a few soft draws. The first third of it hits me with a shot of spice and a very mild earthy flavor. Two-thirds into the cigar things get interesting with a very strong woody almost cedar-like essence and a persistent hint of earth.

The last bit of the cigar unfurls hefty notes of leather with bits of cocoa and coffee which never seem to be overwhelming.

The beautiful grayish/black ash never lasts more then an inch at a time, partly due to the fact that the cigars had been severely manipulated by twisting them together but if you are looking to make a statement at your next event I highly recomend this Partagas Culebras to be the life of the party. –RT

 

 

Ron Tulotta, a Staten Island Native and trained Chef has worked in the kitchens of some of the America’s most renowned restaurants and lends his discerning palate, sacrifices it really, for TGG’s newest column, posted every other Wednesday: The Most Benelovent Cuban Cigar Field Guide”.

TGG Welcomes it’s newest “Segment” : The Most Benelovent Cuban Cigar Field-guide

In the world of Cigars no stogie is morerevered than those which bare the much-coveted “Hecho a mano en Cuba” (made by hand in Cuba).

 

The Seal

WHILE a forbidden fruit in the United States, Cuban Cigars are the norm in the rest of the world and since The Guide has subscribers all over the world, particularly the UK, Australia and India it is only beffiting that our efforts to inform today’s gentlemen on the pleasures of Cigars include Cubans (or Habanos as they are known) alongside some of the best smokes coming out of the Dominican Republic, Nicaragua and Honduras.

Ron Tulotta, a Staten Island Native and trained Chef has worked in the kitchens of some of the America’s most renowned restaurants and lends his discerning palate, sacrifices it really, for TGG’s newest column, posted every other Wednesday: The Most Benelovent Cuban Cigar Field Guide”.

The Sacrifice...

Stay tuned! Next-up:  Partagas Culebras!

 

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