Exploring Legacy Cigar Brands – Part III

Part III – Legacy Cigar Brands

Legacy Cigar Brands – Part III will be our final installment on this series, at least for now. But we realize there will inevitably a brand or two that didn’t get mentioned in the pantheon of cigar legends that someone thinks should have been. If you’re really passionate about one of them, let’s talk about it in Smoke Inn Social! For today though, we’re going to close out with these three illustrious cigar brands:

  • Trinidad
  • La Gloria Cubana
  • Davidoff

So, get ready to tuck in while we give you a bird’s eye view of the history and heritage of each of these legacy cigar brands, followed by a review and recommendation of one of their cigars. Let’s go!

Trinidad Cigars Get Discovered

Trinidad cigars were something of a secret outside of Cuba for a long, long time. The Trinidad cigar was named after the Cuban city, not the island nation of Trinidad & Tobago and first appeared in 1969 in extremely limited numbers. Like a handful of the extra-premium Cuban cigars, Trinidad cigars began as a rare luxury in Cuba only allotted as gifts to high-ranking government officials, foreign dignitaries or Fidel Castro himself. Hand rolled in Havana’s legendary El Laguito factory, these mysterious luxury cigars didn’t even go on sale to the public until 1998. Prior to that, the only way to get one was through a Cuban official or a foreign diplomat with strong ties to Cuba or someone who’d crossed paths with one of the above. Like the majority of the Cuban cigar brands of legend, Trinidad also split into separate companies. One controlled by the Cuban state, the other operating in a new Caribbean or Central American home. In this case, the Trinidad cigars imported to the U.S. that we are most familiar with are made under the Altadis USA tent these days and come out of the Dominican Republic with tobaccos sourced from several countries. Trinidad cigars have retained their reputation for quality throughout the decades of change and they remain one of our favorites.

Trinidad Espiritu Series No. 2 Toro

The Espiritu Series No. 2 has made an appearance in the Smoke Inn Cigar of the Month Club, so it’s possible you have encountered it before, membership has its privileges after all! If not, here’s the lowdown. The Trinidad Espiritu Series No. 2 actually comes out of A.J. Fernandez’ Tabacalera factory in Nicaragua and features a rich, oily Brazilian Arapiraca wrapper over a Nicaraguan binder containing filler tobaccos from Brazil and Nicaragua. It smells of pepper, leather, oak and fresh hay. There’s a healthy amount of pepper in the draw. If you like a spicy cigar, this stick won’t disappoint. Right up front you get charred beef followed by dark roast coffee, dark chocolate and a hint of malted grain. Strength is mild to medium, but it has substantial enough flavor that even people who usually go for stronger cigars will probably enjoy it. It’s a fine introduction to the non-Cuban sourced Trinidad brand.

 

La Gloria Cubana is Reborn in Miami

The historical La Gloria Cubana brand was born in Cuba in 1885. It remained dormant for about a decade after the Cuban Revolution until it reappeared in Partagas in Cuba in 1965. The non-Cuban La Gloria Cubana came about a few years later in Miami in 1972 at the El Credito cigar factory. It languished a bit until Ernesto Perez-Carrillo took over in 1980 and began to build the legendary quality that earned it a cult following. By the mid-late 1990s, the new, non-Cuban La Gloria Cubana was well-known among cigar aficionados. General Cigar picked up the brand in 1999 and wisely chose to keep Ernesto Perez-Carrillo at the helm where he remained for 10 years. Mr. Perez-Carrillo also reappeared in 2017 to collaborate with General Cigar on La Gloria Cubana Colección Reserva.

La Gloria Cubana Medio Tiempo Robusto

We think the Medio Tiempo Robusto is a great example of what the modern La Gloria Cubana brand is capable of creating. This is a medium-full strength cigar for people who like a cigar that commands attention. The beautiful Ecuadorian wrapper has the appearance of vintage leather in color. It embraces a binder of U.S. Connecticut Broadleaf containing a spicy blend of filler tobaccos from the Dominican Republic, Honduras and the U.S. (Connecticut Habano). It’s strong, but balanced flavor features leather, oak, dried cherries and cranberries with a hint of walnut at the back.

 

Davidoff Cigars: Born from the Ashes of WWII

Being one of the very few brands in the legacy cigar maker category without a story that begins in Cuba is just one of the things that makes Davidoff of Geneva unique. Founder Zino Davidoff actually built his reputation in the vineyard and winery first, with the 1946 Château Latour before cigarmaking became his passion. Technically it wasn’t until 1968 when the first Davidoff branded cigars would appear in smoke shops and tobacconists on them were sold. 1991 marked the beginning of Davidoff’s modern history in the Dominican Republic. Their first effort, The Grand Cru Series is still one of our favorite long-standing cigar lines. Made with a silky Ecuadorian Connecticut wrapper and finished with a variety of carefully chosen Dominican tobacco fillers, including Piloto, San Vicente, and Olor varietals, it is a fine introduction to the brand.

Davidoff Winston Churchill The Late Hour

As we’re getting into the colder months of the year, it seems like our friends up north especially might appreciate a classic, elegant Churchill cigar.  Davidoff’s Winston Churchill The Late Hour features Dominican varietals aged in Scotch whiskey barrels with Nicaraguan Visus held together with a Mexican San Andrés binder. These carefully chosen ingredients are cloaked in a luxuriantly dark and oily Ecuadorian Habano wrapper. The robust flavors are defined by mature oak and black pepper flavors with fresh ground coffee and spice and the suggestion of a smokey, honeyed Scottish Speyside single malt.

 

Exploring Legacy Cigar Brands

This marks the end of our series on legacy cigar brands, though it’s more than likely that we will revisit the subject in the future. So, if there are any brands you think we should cover in this genre, let us know. We suggest you make room in your humidor for some of these cigars if you aren’t already. As traditional as the cigar world is, these days it often seems to be buzzing with the hot new thing and newer brands and offshoots garner much of the attention. This series was meant to pay homage to the brands of old, but also to remind our Smoke Inn fans new to the pastime and long-time veterans alike, not to forget the classics when you’re shopping for smokes. These brands have stuck around for good reasons after all.

 

Smoke Inn is Your Cigar Place

Your local cigar place is more than just a spot to grab some cigars and go. If they’re doing it right, and we believe we are, then there is a sense of atmosphere there. Your cigar place should have a vibe that makes you happy to be there and want to spend some time. We hope you enjoyed our look at legacy cigar brands. We have some new and different content in store for the blog very soon, including a documentary review and some other topics we haven’t yet explored in these pages. Finally, we’d be remiss if we didn’t remind you yet again, that tickets for 2023’s The Great Smoke go on sale November 1st  (that’s tomorrow by my count). If you’ve been to TGS before, you know why you’re going to want to be there again. If you haven’t, well then you have no idea what you’re missing. Get yourself a ticket or two and get down here for The Great Smoke 2023!

As always, if you’re local or happen to be visiting South Florida, be sure to reward yourself with a visit to one of the country’s best cigar shops in person. We’d love to see you.

 

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