La Gloria Cubana & Pyrat XO

by John Valavanis

Products we like but can’t find easily: round two. To be more honest… we don’t find them everywhere and always is the correct expression for the specifics, not at all in the previous article. Now you may be wondering what got me all of a sudden into cigars and rums that are somewhat rare on the market when there is now a huge range. Nothing special… just sometimes I get caught up with stubbornness and complaint together and I want to say my pain somewhere, to vent but at the same time to inform you too in case I raise the demand and companies start importing them in case they don’t exist or to increase imports if any.

A very notable factory in Havana is “La Gloria Cubana”. To be precise, not factories since they are now mass-produced by the nationalized factories but even before the revolution that existed, it had been privately merged with Partagas. Its history began in 1885 and ended somewhere in 1964 and it was transferred to 2 different factories until finally merging with Bolivar and being produced in the Partagas factory until Fidel stopped production by merging the factories. After the fall of communism, in 1989, the cigar market slowly began to open again, so some forgotten brands began to re-circulate and with them Gloria Cubana. I’ve tried almost all the Medaille d’Or cigars, from No. 1 to No. 4, but I liked No. 3 the most. An impressively complex cigar for its size, very aromatic, with a ring of only 28 and a length of 175mm. The whole series is in 898 varnished cases, with moderate intensity and burning without any problems. A very high-quality Long Panetelas for that and its somewhat stingy price compared to similar but flawless, you get what you pay for.


And let’s go to the favorite rum that you can find but not all wineries have, perhaps because of its uniqueness, Pyrat XO. This is a spirit from Guyana that I like very much even though it is not have a single origin. A collection of nine different rums aged up to 15 years in American and French casks from across the Caribbean. In a separate bottle, a copy of the old ones used by the pirates of the 17th century, with a very strong citrus fruit flavor and especially orange, and with a long aftertaste. The special feature that differentiates it from other rums is that although it does not come from a specific distillery, it is very high quality and worth the money you will pay, around 50 euros, without a second thought. Equally strange is that there is only one version, the XO, although at one point I had seen online a bottle in a different shape with the description Pyrat Cask 1623 Anguilla Rums which will obviously be some different version and blend but which is not in our country. Of course, if you are interested, it is available in European countries but with a somewhat steep price from what I saw, around 300 euros, but I have not tried it so I have no opinion on whether it is worth the money you will pay.

Two very worthwhile products, a bit hard to find, for discerning aficionados, with a rating of 8/10, maybe not 10/10 because of their high price but once you enjoy them you will remember me and become a fan of them just like me. By the way, I would like to clarify that all the products I am commenting on have high ratings because they are established in their category and of very high quality, so their differences are minimal and have more to do with my own tastes, so try and judge each one individually.