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.
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.