La Gloria Cubana Regional Release Spain Serie D No.5 - Teeling 24-Year-Old Single Malt
This, the La Gloria Cubana Regional Release Spain 2017 Serie D No.5, was one of the more curious cigars I've had for a while, with parts I loved and parts I most certainly did not. The drink for matching, on the hand, there is no ambiguity about it. An utterly stunning malt. A brilliant Irish whiskey.
The cigar first. I do like a number of the La Gloria Cubana cigars from over the years. But I am not at all fond of short, fat cigars, whoever makes them. They do little for me. People say that they are useful if you are rushed for time. If I am rushed for time, I am not going to be bothering with attempting to shoehorn a cigar into that time. Apparently, and not for the first time, I am not in the majority on this.
The draw was very easy, and the cigar has a pale wrapper. I did thoroughly enjoy the opening. Very much. Cream, orange rind notes. A soft, dense, velvety smoke. It was a bit like a creamy coffee. As we moved on, it developed a beautiful peaches and cream character – not all that dissimilar to a really good bottle of Leflaive Chevalier-Montrachet with a touch of age (just about a grand cheaper and a lot easy to get hold of, even if you do not live in Spain). So, we are going seriously well at the moment. Unfortunately, it did not continue.
The cigar did develop some burn issues and some grubbiness towards the finish, which was not nearly as pleasant. I think these cigars will be much better in five or six years.
So if one was scoring, do you go low for the grubbiness, mid-way for mix of good and bad or really high as much of the cigar deserved that? I have no idea. So I went 90, but somewhere between 82 to 94 is probably the range (and my impression is that others are far more impressed, overall, than myself). Which is, of course, completely unhelpful.
These are a Spanish release, a petit robusto (seriously, aren’t robustos already small enough?) in boxes of 10 – 50,000 of them – making it one of the largest Regional Releases of all. They are a 2017 release, even if they did not get actually get released until mid-2018. A small technicality, but not an uncommon one.
My experience would not encourage me to buy them, if that were possible in this market, but clearly they are popular. Many love the size. And if the flavours for the first half to two/thirds had persisted, then I'd be a big fan.
The whiskey, the Teeling 24-Year-Old Single Malt, was stellar. On every level. A lovely limpid gold. It is complex, subtle, finely balanced and offering great length. Flavours of bran, oatmeal, cereal, nuts, spices and a touch of gentle smoke. It offers a seductive, creamy texture. A glorious whiskey.
I found out later, and it came as no surprise, that it won ‘World’s Best Single Malt 2019’ at the World Whiskies Awards this year. It spent 21 years in ex-Bourbon casks and the final three in old Sauternes casks and one would hope it impressed at A$600 a bottle.
As a match, well I'd be happy with anything if I got to enjoy this great whiskey. I'm not sure that they were a perfect combination, but the whiskey took things beyond that. The supple and seductive creamy texture of the Teeling did work well.