August 2011

La Palina El Diario – Gordo

When the first cigar you release is La Palina Family Series, and the cigar is incredibly successful, how do you top that? Well, you begin to work with the Raices Cubanas Factory in Honduras. The Raices Cubanas Factory is making incredible cigars for several manufacturers currently, and you can add La Palina Cigars to that. Personally, I think the factory is making some of the finest cigars on the market, and I was so excited to hear that Mr. Paley would be working with them, I was jumping for joy. When you begin to shoot names out like Illusione, Alec Bradley, Padilla and Casa Fernandez, and see how well they are doing by bloggers and major cigar magazines, you can expect good things from this cigar. Like the Graycliff Factory, Raices Cubanas makes their cigars in the traditional Cuban fashion, and use the finest tobacco out there.

The name El Diario literally translates into English as “The Daily.” With this name in place, it is clear to see that this cigar is meant to be enjoyed as a daily cigar, instead of the exquisite La Palina Family Series line which I enjoy only on special occasions. The cigar is offered at a lower pricing than the regular line, and I am sure this was the intention of Mr. Paley. The cigar begins with a Honduran Corojo ’99 Rosado wrapper, and has two binders which are Honduran Criollo ’98. Within the filler is a mixture of Nicaraguan Corojo ’99 and Criollo ’98 tobacco which will add wonderful spice flavors to it I am sure. When you see what this blend is composed of, it is hard not to get excited and I know I am looking forward to this smoke. I love Corojo ’99 tobacco and Criollo ’98. Along with that, I think wrappers that are Rosado are absolutely beautiful, and it shows with this cigar. This factory has made incredible cigars with these different types of tobacco, and I think we will have a winner with this cigar as well. For this review I was gifted with the gordo size which measures 6.125” with a 58 ring gauge.

The cigar is absolutely gorgeous to look at, it has an awesome reddish brown wrapper that is flawless, and the triple cap is the same. It is slightly oily to touch, and is very firm. Looking at the foot I can see the great fillers in it, and it has a wonderful nose as well. I can definitely get aromas of spice in the nose, and also some sweetness of chocolate and hints of leather as well. As I light up the cigar the spice is surely present, but I am also getting dark cherries, nuts and bread as well. Further into the first third notes of chocolate, leather and wood begin to emerge as well and the cigar is awesome. It is easily full in body, but very balanced and flavorful. The cigar burns evenly, and the ash is a dark gray but very firm. I could stop smoking this cigar right now and be happy. Already it has some of my favorite flavors, and it shows top quality.

When I get into the second third I am still getting a lot of spice, hints of pepper, and the flavors are still very complex. The stoned fruit has died down some, but I am getting lots of coffee, dark chocolate and nuts. It has a long finish of wood and leather, and is still showing the full body that I was getting in the first third. The cigar had a minor burn issue at one point, but it corrected itself in time. I really liked the flavor change from the first third, but at no point did the spice from the Corojo and Criollo fillers overpower any of the other flavors, because the wrapper was there to balance it with its sweetness.

I got lost in the enjoyment of the second third, and when I looked down I was half way into the final third. The spice level kicked back some at this point, and the cigar began to show a lot of hazelnut, chocolate, almonds and whole wheat bread notes. There is a soft spice on the finish, but it is not as dominant as the sweet and nutty notes I am getting. Smoking the cigar down to the nub, it has died down to being medium-full in body, and burning very cool. I had no problems in the final third with burn issues, and I rested the cigar down in my ashtray, letting it put itself out.

Looking back on this cigar, I was thoroughly impressed, and I am giving this cigar a 95 rating. To me, it had everything I could ask for in a cigar plus some. It had great tobacco, was blended perfectly, a nice strength, and a great complex flavor profile. Mr. Paley and La Palina Cigars definitely have a winner with this line, and because of the pricing on this cigar compared with the Family Series, I think this is going to be a huge success. I know that I will be keeping these in my humidor at all times, and I urge all tobacconists to get in touch with La Palina to begin stocking their inventory with this stick.  Mr. Paley is two for two in my book, three for three if you count the limited edition 1896 smoke as a line, and he is up there with Ernesto Perez-Carrillo and Illusione Cigars. I look forward to his next project, and in the meantime will be enjoying these fine sticks on a regular basis when not reviewing cigars for my readers! Once again, I would like to thank Courtney Smith with La Palina for these samples, and thank La Palina Cigars for having great products on the market.     

La Palina El Diario
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