As one would expect La Gloria Cubana, or “the glory of Cuba”, began its operation in Cuba in 1885, started by the Sociedad Cabanas y Castro. While its popularity picked up with local smokers, production stopped unexpectedly after the revolution ended in 1959. Production started up again around 1965 as a boutique brand, producing on a limited basis, and soon thereafter captivated the palate of American premium cigar fans.
The brand was originally spearheaded by Jose Rocha, who procured the brand in 1905, and developed it. With promotional help from Pepin Fernandez, owner of Romeo y Julieta, they brought the brand overseas. La Gloria Cubana was bought by the Cifuentes family during the revolution in 1954, a move that changed the cohesive future of the brand. The Cifuentes kept production going in Havana, but also sold off the name rights to Ernesto Perez-Carrillo, founder of El Creditio cigar factory, in 1980.
Carrillo started hand rolling in the heart of Little Havana, his factory sits on the famous Calle Ocho, following traditional Cuban methods. To keep up with demand for his highly desirable cigars, production was moved to the Dominican Republic. General Cigar Company bought the brand in 1999 and continues to produce premium hand-rolled cigars, with occasional collaborations with Carrillo.
Currently, La Gloria Cubana production in Cuba, which is owned by Habanos SA, includes two cigars and a few limited releases. The tobacco is sourced from the prestigious Vuelta Abajo region, resulting in first-class medium strength cigars. Carrillo’s La Gloria Cubana is ironically a non-Cuban cigar; the blend was created in 1972 before he took ownership of La Gloria Cubana.
La Gloria Cubana Serie R, Carrillo’s brainchild, catapulted the brand’s popularity in America. R Series cigars have a medium to full-bodied strength, which appeals to those with a taste for bolder smokes. The Serie R now has four different varieties; some even have wrapper options for natural or maduro. One of the Carrillo and General Cigar Co. collaboration named La Gloria Cubana Colección Reserva, which only consists of Nicaraguan tobacco, exemplifies the original attitude of La Gloria Cubana.
La Gloria Cubana’s legacy is being preserved within General Cigar Co. by a small band of four who strive to maintain the Miami-based boutique-feel as a dominant characteristic of the brand. This effort is apparent with the creation of the La Gloria Cubana Society, a group of dedicated fans who enjoy perks included in membership. Joining the society provides access to a private chat, member-only giveaway contests, behind the scene news, and includes a unique cutter and special collector’s box.
General Cigar president, Regis Broersma, refers to La Gloria Cubana as “the mother of all boutique brands”. Despite its growth and success La Gloria Cubana sustains its original essence, a perfectly fitting smoke for any community function.