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Man, that’s a hell of a name. Incidentally, the La Gloria Cubana Artesanos Retro Especiale Club is also a hell of a cigar. I’ve only smoked a couple of La Gloria Cubanas since I started working here—the Reserva Figurado and the Artesanos de Obelisco—both of which were pretty mellow, sweet smokes. I enjoyed them both, so when my coworkers who went to the IPCPR trade show gave me some sample sticks of the new Artesanos Retro Especiale line, I was pretty stoked, and rightfully so.
Like the new Alec Bradley American Classic (which I plan to review soon), the Artesanos Retro Especiale uses a Honduran Connecticut-seed wrapper, which I had never seen before these two cigars came out. I’ve been told that these are a little stronger than your typical US- or Ecuadorian-grown Connecticut wrappers, and they’re definitely a little burlier looking. Underneath this wrapper were Mexican and Nicaraguan binders and consistently packed Dominican and Nicaraguan filler.
Clipping the nicely-applied cap revealed a generous pre-light draw with subtle flavors of cream, mellow tobacco, and a little bit of grass. Considering the Dominican and Nicaraguan ligero in the filler, I was expecting a little bit of pepper on the pre-light, but was pleasantly surprised by its mellowness. At that point I thought I had a good idea of what to expect, so I broke out my cheapo single-torch and toasted the foot.
To my surprise, this stogie started with a pretty massive pepper blast. Having tasted literally no spice in the pre-light draw, I was caught off guard. After chugging some water and letting the smoke cool down a little, I took a few more puffs. The pepper was still there, though I expected it this time, so it wasn’t as intense.
After regaining my bearings, I was able to pick out a few more flavors—roasted nuts (cashews in particular), caramel, and cedar. For the first inch or so, this cigar reminded me of what would happen if you took three Reserva Figurados and packed them into one, corona-sized cigar. It had the same sweet, nutty, dessert notes, just magnified.
Further in, the smoke mellowed out a little bit. The flavor still centered around roasted nuts, but with some toffee and cedar in the mix. As I got towards the end of the smoke, the pepper came back just a little bit but was matched by an escalating cedar note. For whatever reason, I waited until there were around two inches left to retrohale. The retrohale was surprisingly sweet and reminded me of slightly burnt brown sugar. When there was about an inch left, the smoke came to a point where the only way to keep it mellow was to take pointless little baby puffs, so I decided to put it down.
Smoking this cigar had me pretty excited for the release of the Artesanos Retro Especiale line, not only because this stogie was excellent but also because the packaging looks awesome. According to our buyer, these aren’t supposed to hit the shelves for another few weeks, so I’m pretty glad to have smoked this pre-release stick. Needless to say, we don’t have these in stock yet, but neither does anybody else. Keep an eye out in our “New Products” section, and I’ll throw a link into this post as soon as we get them in.