Once, to experience "The Glory of Cuba," you had to live in or travel to Little Havana where people would line up for hours waiting to taste a cigar that was a phenomenon. Now La Gloria Cubana is a favorite of cigar smokers everywhere. The brand, popularized by Ernesto Perez-Carillo, was actually started by his father while, as a young adult, Ernesto traveled the world making a living as a jazz musician. Ultimately the family business beckoned and he returned home to Miami to embrace his heritage. In 1997, Ernesto teamed up with General Cigar and moved La Gloria Cubana's primary production from the Miami factory to the Dominican Republic. The move nearly quintupled their production capabilities and helped keep up with the swelling demand. (Only a handful of cigars are still produced in the Miami factory, and primarily for the local market.)
Box-pressing cigars in pre-embargo Cuba is a bit different that it is today. Previously they would place the cigars in specially sized boxes that apply even pressure to the cigars to create the box-press. This process would also eliminate air pockets to give an excellent draw and was known as the “Spanish Press.” Today, many cigar makers use molds to create the box press before putting them in the box. The La Gloria Cubana Spanish Press in your shipment is a perfect tribute to classic style. On the inside is a delicious three country blend of Nicaraguan Jalapa, Dominican Piloto Cubano, Dominican Olor, and Brazilian Mata Fina tobacco. Securing the inside is a San Andrés Mexican binder and a beautiful toothy Nicaraguan Jalapa wrapper. Medium to full in body, expect lots of billowy smoke and notes of spicy earthiness, cedar and toast. Pair this tasty smoke with a full-bodied cabernet.
Though tobacco is indigenous to Hispaniola, the tobacco industry in the Dominican Republic existed in the shadow of Cuba’s dominance through the 1960s. When the exodus of Cuban cigar makers began in the wake of the revolution, many decided the Dominican Republic would be ideal for the resumption of their livelihoods. Unrest in Nicaragua in the 1980s fueled the Dominican cigar industry further. The country now makes more than half of the premium cigars imported into the U.S.
The Cibao Valley and the nearby city of Santiago are the center of cigar production in the Dominican Republic. Three main varieties are grown here: the mild and native Olor Dominicano; the intense Piloto Cubano, brought from the Vuelta Abajo of Cuba; and San Vicente, a milder and more acidic Piloto hybrid. Dominican puros were once unheard of as it was widely thought impossible to grow quality wrapper leaf on the island, but new growing techniques are now allowing some exceptional puros to be produced.
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