La Gloria Cubana Wavell Maduro (Miami)
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Ever since Ernesto Perez-Carrillo shifted most of El Credito’s production from Miami to the Dominican Republic in April 1996, a mystique has surrounded the handful of LGCs still produced on Calle Ocho. Some insist the Miami-born LGCs are stronger and/or better built than their D.R. brethren. Carrillo himself has stepped in to declare that the blends and construction standards are identical. But debate persists.
Before February of last year, I’m ashamed to say I hadn’t tried a Miami LGC. In part, that was because I’d smoked my share of the D.R. version and couldn’t see what the fuss what about. The LGC, I thought, was an average smoke at a fair price. Nothing more.
But on a visit to Miami in 2007, curiosity got the best of me. Like any jackass tourist, I bought a box from the factory under the pretense of investigating this Miami vs. D.R. controversy.
My first impression, though favorable, was that these needed time. The handful I sampled were surprisingly potent, if a little sharp. I didn’t recall the Dominican Wavell being this assertive.
Now, after laying these down for 16 months, it’s time for another look. The 5″ x 50 Wavell (M) is a tasty looking stick, nearly black and perfectly rounded. There is the typical CTBL veining and a few sloppy caps, but this is obviously top shelf broadleaf wrapper.
This stick demands your attention right away with black pepper, earth and distinct clove notes. The clove fades in the first inch, and the smoke takes on naturally sweet licorice flavor. This is sweeter than most, though reasonably well balanced by the earthy backbone. Age treats these well. They taste considerably rounder today than last year.
By halfway, the licorice recedes though never disappears. The second half remains peppery and earthy with occasional hints of leather and espresso. The off notes of youth are gone but for a some char at the end.
The draw and burn are above average throughout. I inadvertently let it go out twice toward the end, but it re-fired without harshness.
Unfortunately, I don’t have a Dominican LGC on hand to compare to this one. I’ll take Carrillo at his word that the content is the same. I can only say that the D.R. Wavell Maduro never inspired me (though I haven’t had one in quite some time), while I’d put this Miami version up against any like-priced maduro on the market.
If anyone out there has done a side-by-side tasting of the two LGCs, I’d like to hear your take.
CONCLUSION: This old-school, even forgotten Wavell Maduro Miami is as good a cigar as El Credito makes. It retains the power that made it famous decades ago. It has the complexity to keep a veteran smoker engaged and delivers that spicy/sweet profile one craves from a maduro. I paid just under $4.00 per stick and I’m completely satisfied with the value. At $2.52 per stick from a leading e-merchant ($62.99/box of 25), I’d be downright ecstatic.