La Palina Cigars has been around longer than any of us. The company’s roots go back to the late 1800s when Samuel Paley immigrated from the Ukraine to Chicago where he took on the job of a lector at a cigar factory. A lector is someone who reads books, newspapers etc… to the factory workers. Think of this, a Ukraine person reading to Americans… Sam moved up to a roller eventually and started dabbling with tobacco in his free time and eventually came up with his own blend which he showed to the factory manager. The manager was impressed with his blend, yet fired him for “stealing” the tobacco. Sam vowed to own the factory as he left (and eventually he did). He then opened a cigar shop next to the factory he once worked at and eventually gained enough money to buy the factory he once worked for. Then started making his own cigars. Later, Sam’s son William came aboard the company and sponsored radio programs when the radio became popular. La Palina was one of the largest cigar companies in the early 1900s. He bought 5 radio stations which eventually turned into CBS. When Sam retired in 1926, Congress Cigar was liquidated, decades later to be resurrected by Bill Paley. Bill spent many years in numerous countries studying tobacco, and cigars of the areas. Around 2009 the company reemerged as the La Palina many of us know of today.
The La Palina Nicaraguan is a collaboration between Bill Paley and the famed A.J. Fernandez and is rolled in AJ’s factory in Nicaragua.
Wrapper: Ecuadorian Connecticut Shade
The golden brown wrapper has a few small veins, fairly tight seams and a slight amount of tooth. The double cap won’t win any awards for neatness as the top cap is pretty small and not glued down as much as it should. The wrapper has a hay aroma with notes of cedar and a faint black pepper. The foot has the same cedar aroma to it as well as some roasted nuts and a creaminess as well. Overall a pretty firm feeling cigar with the exception of the foot that has a slightly spongy feel to it. The band has very classic stylings with a bold “LP” as the focal point of the band. Above it is the La Palina and below the “Nicaragua” aspect. If this cigar was on the shelf, by itself, it would be a strain to see what company made it if you were not familiar to the new line as the La Palina text on the band is quite small and blends in to its surroundings. Below the main band is the secondary band notating its the “Connecticut” of the Nicaraguan series. There is a Connecticut and Oscuro Nicaraguan, which are two exact opposite shades of wrappers so I’m not too sure why the secondary band is needed. Its pretty obvious which is which. A straight cut reveals a pretty nice draw, that has some openness to it towards the center of the cigars. The pre-light draw has light flavors of straw and faint cedar and nuts.
The draw did tighten up once lit and the looseness in the middle of the cigar was no longer. The burn had minor occurrences of little less than spot on as it had some waves here and there. From said burn came ashes of a white, off-white & gray with minimal flakes and tight rings. I tapped off each ash at around an inch, but they would last longer. No major construction issues to report.
The first few draws have an immense amount of smoke with flavors of a semi-spicy, yet creamy cedar, leather as well as a hint of a sweetness on the back half of the draw. The sweetness in the latter part of the draw now has a bit of a tanginess to it; but not a bad tangy aspect. A little further into the smoke, the black pepper detected in the wrapper starts to poke its head into the flavor profile with a nice creaminess.
Working into the middle portion the smoke still is creamy with notes of black pepper and sweetness. The cedar and leather has taken a step or two down in strength doin so, it adds to the sweetness and creaminess of the smoke. Around the middle point, the leather creeps back up in strength and levels off with the sweetness. Here is where the cigar is at its prime in my eyes. Most of the flavors are all in check by each other, the strength seems to be at its peak and the smoke is firing on all cylinders.
The final third has the black pepper creeping up in strength and the sweetness seems to fade off into the background. The creaminess, leather and black pepper all seem to be fighting for who will be the key flavor. One draw it will be one flavor, the next it will be another. Now the cedar is trying to make it perch atop the flavors, but its muddled out by the others as I progress to the end. The end of the cigar has the leather, cedar and a black pepper like spice. The spice perches right at the tip of my tongue and is pretty potent. But the back half of the draw still retains the creaminess from before. This point is probably my most in-liked portion of the cigar. Right at the end of the cigar, I start to taste some of the roasted nuts I detected in the pre-light. They seem to mingle well with the cedar, but its too little & too late as the cigar is very close to its ending.
This is one of the most flavorful Connecticut cigars I’ve ever had. There were plenty of flavors to enjoy and each had their own time to shine throughout the cigar. The end did get a little too busy and muddled for my likings, but the other portions were pretty tasty. The amount of sweetness I got was pretty shocking to me seeing the cigar is made mostly made of Nicaraguan tobacco. A good mid morning smoke as its not too heavy in strength, but has plenty of flavors around the medium range.