La Gloria Cubana Artesanos de Obelisco

Like our recent Fratello Oro review, once again we reach back in time to revisit a brand and blend that may have fallen off everyone’s radar. Hey, given the fact we’re treated to a plethora of choices – like Netflix Originals – it happens. It hit me as I geared up for this review that we had yet to shake down a cigar from the iconic La Gloria Cubana brand, which up until the early 1990s, was strictly a local Miami-based favorite created by a young Cuban emigre, Ernesto Perez-Carrillo. This brand changed the fortunes of Perez-Carrillo and cigar aficionados everywhere forever.

Perez-Carrillo continued to blow the socks of global cigar smokers even after the sale of LGC in 1999 to cigar conglomerate, General Cigar. After 30 years, in 2009, Perez-Carrillo left LGC behind to create his own namesake brand, EP Carrillo Cigars. Shortly after Carrillo’s departure, LGC got a new ambassador in Michael Giannini. Part blender, marketing guru and showman, Giannini continued to innovate. One of his first lines was the Artesanos Series released in the summer of 2010. Third in this series is Artesano del Obelisco, a somewhat diminutive cigar sporting a 4-country blend and an avant-garde shape.

The word obelisco is Spanish for “obelisk” referring to the 4-sided monument with a gradation of width along its length and pyramid cap (think Washington Monument). And this cigar is expertly rolled in that exact shape, which reminds me of Carlos Fuente’s “Shark” with it’s square press and outward-expanding ring gauge, albeit smaller. The obelisk to which this cigar pays tribute is the memorial overlooking Santiago, Dominican Republic which symbolizes the Monumento a los Héroes de la Restauración  or Heroes of the Restoration. The monument commemorates the Dominican War of Independence, which was fought in 1844 to gain sovereignty from Haiti.

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This figurado appears really well rolled and while it feels a little small in my hand, I still love the shape. From the oily, marbled, coffee bean hue to the tapered conical cap, this square-pressed cigar is seamless, evenly firm and shows minimal veins. Outfitted with a simple foot band emblazoned with the word Obelisco, aromas from the foot are somewhat muted but still tease with hints of cocoa powder. Conversely, the Sumatran wrapper is lush with intonations of maple and chocolate notes. With a 3/8” Dickman cut, the cold draw feels a bit restricted but manages a lively dusting of chocolate and raisin flavors.

The opening draw is rich with piecrust notes followed by a tasty well-balanced mix of toasted almonds, nougat and leather. Obelisco offers a warm, inviting persona with lush finishes of cedar, graham cracker and light cinnamon as well as just a tinge of spice on the tongue. There’s a noticeable tang of cherries on the back of the palate as it settles into a woody, toasty core. Transitions feature an elevated spice, thanks to the ligero inside, alongside woodier and nuttier foundations backed by notes of cocoa, cedar, black coffee, puffed rice and charred oak.

The pocket-sized cigar remains smooth and medium-bodied throughout, but the epilogue is definitely more robust. It tended to get hot near the end, but never harsh. She’s a slow-burner so take your time and you’ll be rewarded with superb combustion, lots of smoke and a strong 1” ash. The draw loosens up quickly and like a piñata, bursts with the treats hiding inside. Past LGC experiences have always been enjoyable and the Obelisco is certainly no different. The Obelisco’s shape is beautifully done and should be quite the talking point at your next herf, so don’t be shy about its price or “fun size” stature. – In Fumo Pax!

Recommendation: Boxworthy

Did you Know: The Artesanos de Obelisco comes in dress boxes of 25 shaped in a “half wheel”.

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  • Profile: Med-Full
  • Vitola: Piramide
  • Length / Ring: 5.0″x57-44
  • Purchased: Online
  • Origin: Dominican Republic
  • Wrapper: Ecuadorian Sumatra
  • Binder: US Connecticut Broadleaf
  • Filler: Nicaraguan, Dominican Ligero
  • Production: General Cigar Dominicana
  • Blade: Xikar Xi1Fire: Colibri Firebird
  • Price:$10.80 [Box $270]
  • Humidor Age:  14 mo.
  • Box: 25
  • Other Vitolas: N/A


Smoke Time: 1:12
: Partially open (3/8″ Dickman cut)
Construction: Cool shape; well-rolled; minimal veins; interesting cap; square press; oily; coffee bean coloring; great smoke producer; holds strong, 1″ ash.

  • WrapperMaple, chocolate
  • Foot – Cocoa powder (muted)
  • Cold Draw – Chocolate and raisins

Tasting Notes:

  • Initial: Rich, piecrust draw; warm profile of leather, toasted almonds and nougat; long finish of cedar and graham cracker w/hint of cinnamon; light spice on tongue; cherry essence at end of draw; settles into hardy wood and toast core.
  • Transition: Tangy nucleus of cedar; pleasant notes of cocoa on retro; robust finish of black coffee; elevated spice; medium bodied and smooth; toasty, nutter layer on palate; semi-sweet oats on draw and retro.
  • Transition: Spice continues upward; maintains smooth texture w/woody character; robust finish of charred oak; notes of wood, puffed-rice, toasted nuts and coffee bean on retro; sweet salted caramel hints on draw; gets hot, but not harsh.

Complexity: Excellent
Balance: Excellent
Touch upsN/A
Combustion: Outstanding
Weaknesses: N/A
Recommendation: Boxworthy

Recommendation scale:

  1. Go-to
  2. Boxworthy
  3. 5 packer
  4. Yard ‘gar
  5. NR [No Recommendation]

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