Cigar Aficionado

A Long Awaited Favorite Debuts at IPCPR

I remember when Ernesto Perez-Carrillo first told me about his La Gloria Cubana Artesanos de Miami. I’m pretty sure it was in New York at Cigar Aficionado’s Night to Remember dinner two years ago. I was sitting at the General Cigar table, we got to chatting, and he handed me a prototype and told me it was a new project he was working on.

I know Ernie and his Miami factory very well—that spot on Calle Ocho was the very first cigar factory I ever visited, when I was on my rookie trip for Cigar Aficionado magazine. (At the time, he handed me some ballsy El Rico Habano lonsdales that were so strong they nearly ended my cigar career, or so it seemed! But that’s a story for another blog.) So let’s just say I was eager to smoke the new cigars.

They’re finally ready. At last week’s trade show, I sat down with Ernie and Michael Giannini of General to take a look at the final product. “It’s going to come out this week,” Ernie said, opening a box of Churchill-sized smokes called Elegantes. The packaging is gorgeous, with a newly designed La Gloria band and bright, clear and regal artwork. Take a look at the video I shot:

I lit up an Elegante and listened to Mike. “This is the original boutique guy in the industry,” he said, nodding to Ernie. “Before anybody knew what boutique was.”

The Elegante, which measures 6 7/8 by 49 ring, is leathery, with lots of hardwood notes, coffee, and a long and smooth finish with a touch of cedar. Absolutely great cigar. Ernie outdid himself.

I found another great cigar at the SAG booth, run by Manuel Quesada, maker of Fonseca cigars. I don’t know what’s gotten into the old, mild cigar guard at this show but they all seem to be boosting their blends. First General took Macanudo and injected some serious flavor, now Manolo has taken the traditionally mild Fonseca blend and turned it into a flavor powerhouse with the Fonseca Cubano Viso Fuerte. “It’s not your traditional Fonseca,” said Manolo. He’s not kidding—I found it big, nutty and sweet, with a rainsy flavor, lots of nose spice and (get this): a leathery finish. Wow. I’m going to need more of those. Manolo slipped a bit of Connecticut broadleaf into the filler blend (I love broadleaf) and capped it with a Cuban seed wrapper grown in Honduras by the Plasencias. Check out the news bar on the homepage this week for more on the cigar.

I think Gordon Mott really said it best—this is a golden age for cigars. The show was full of them. When they come to market this fall, you’re in for a real treat.

"La Gloria Cubana Artesana de Miami Church Cigar- Cream Points 94" —August 4, 2008 19:56 PM