Here at Keepers of the Flame we support the preservation of formal cigar nomenclature, but occasionally a cigar comes with a designation that challenges our dedication. To restore the dignity of this cigar’s title from the abbreviation in the title above, allow me to present La Gloria Cubana Reserva Figurados Flechas Especiales Maduro. But since brevity is the soul of wit (or so I have been told) we’ll call it the LGC Flechas Maddie. In any case, this is a great blend, and one that almost always finds a place in Cigar Aficionado’s annual Top 25.
The big news for La Gloria Cubana is that Ernesto Perez-Carillo will no longer be the guiding force behind the brand. LGC was first made in Miami by Ernesto’s father, a former Cuban Senator, starting in 1968, and it has been in the family ever since. Ernesto Sr. nearly sold the brand at one point but decided to keep it when his son decided he wanted a part in the company. Now that son, Ernesto Jr., is leaving the brand behind for very similar reasons: to start a new cigar company with his son, Ernesto III.
That’s a lot of Ernestos to keep straight, but as long as they make cigars this good, I say keep the Ernestos coming.
The Reserva Figurados were first released in 2004 in only three sizes; a year later the number was increased to five. There was a suggestion that the lineup may be reduced again to 3, but so far all five sizes are still on the market:
- Selectos de Lujos – 7 1/4 x 54 (previously reviewed here.)
- Flechas Especiales – 6 1/2 x 49
- Felicias – 4 5/8 x 49
- Regalias Perfectos – 6 1/4 x 57
- Piramides Clasicas – 7 1/4 x 56
The wrapper here is a well aged and fermented Connecticut Broadleaf. Beneath this is 4-year old Nicaraguan binder, and the filler is a Nicaraguan-Dominican blend. According to the General Cigar website, this line undergoes a special “cedar-aging” process whereby the cigar components are aged together in cedar bins for six months. They are then rolled by Grade 7 rollers and box aged for an additional three months before shipping. “Flecha” by the way is Spanish for arrow, a fitting name for this figurado.
Despite the fact that this cigar is 6 1/2 inches long, it appears to be much smaller due to its proportions. This is a bouquet style perfecto, meaning it is tapered at both ends, but flared near the foot. The widest point is chosen as the measurement for the ring gauge, so it measures a 49 only at that one point. The remaining length of the barrel narrows, making this a smaller cigar than it appears to be on paper.
The wrapper is very dark, even for maduro, but not so black as to be suspicious. (In other words, it is certainly a naturally processed maduro leaf.) The pre-light aroma is of rich tobacco with a hint of cedar. The roll is solid all the way around, but one of my samples had a little crook in the head section. Maybe a level 6 roller was sitting in relief that day.
The burn on all of these has been absolutely perfect: straight as a plumb line, and leaving a solid gray ash to remember it by. The draw tends to be a bit tight until the point burns off, but after a few minutes it’s all good.
Overall excellent construction.
The Flechas Maduro took a few minutes to hit its stride due to a tight draw at the start. The first flavors are straight tobacco with a little char and it tends to taste a little papery. As soon as the foot opens up the flavors become richer as expected. Cedar makes an entrance and the aroma gets sweeter. There is a little licorice in the aftertaste.
The middle section features more cedar and throws in some roasted nuts. The licorice fades and the aftertaste becomes sweetly chalky. The smoke texture is medium to full in body, but at all times the smoke is full flavored.
The last section, up to the band, is where this cigar returns dividends. Here the aroma is at its most powerful — smoky cedar and sweet hickory in abundance. The flavor is almost meaty at times, but retains most of the previously mentioned attributes — nuts, earth, and rich tobacco. It’s a complex, but smoothly integrated brew.
The LGC Reserva Figurado line of cigars has been in my experience nothing short of excellent, in all sizes, in both natural Ecuadorian Sumatra as well as Maduro. The Flechas Maduro is representative of the line. This is a stellar example of a full-bodied cigar that has no harshness, an unfortunate rarity these days. There is enough complexity here to satisfy the most demanding palate, while remaining smooth enough for novices (assuming that a pretty good nicotine punch won’t spoil the experience.)
The Flechas Maduro carry a premium price of 8 to 9 USD per stick, but I do believe they are worth this asking price. My only hope is that General can maintain the quality of this cigar now that Ernesto Perez-Carrillo is no longer at the helm. And given his track record with LGC and El Rico Habano, it goes without saying that we await with baited cigar breath Ernesto’s new blends.
Final Score: 92
Other Reviews of Note
Patrick A. gives the Flechas Maduro 4 out of 5 stogies for the Stogie Guys.
Cigar Jack finds the Regalias Maduro to be full flavored but less bold than the LGC Serie R.
Herfs up for the Cohiba Club as they give the Selectos de Lujos Maduro an 89.