Bill Paley’s La Palina has been making waves since its arrival around 3 years ago. They have released highly acclaimed cigars from a variety of factories around the world, securing their place in the high-end market with hard to find cigars like the Goldie’s. The La Palina Classic is Bill Paley’s attempt to produce a cigar with the same acclaimed quality, at a more moderate price-point. To accomplish this task, Paley turned to Abe Flores’ PDR Cigars factory in the Dominican Republic. What they spawned is a four country blend with tobaccos ranging from Brazil, Ecuador, The Dominican Republic and Nicaragua. I love when blenders take tobacco’s from different regions and splice them together in hopes of creating a singular smoke. When done correctly, the product of this effort often exudes phenomenal flavors you’d never get from a single country blend.
Rolled: PDR Cigars Factory
Country of Origin: Dominican Republic
Wrapper: Brazilian Habano
Filler: Dominican, Nicaraguan
The wrapper of the LPC looks quite rustic, which fits the “classic” theme of the cigar. It is dry and leathery, leaving oils on the fingers after the touch. The LPC is well packed with only the slightest of soft spots and has a nice hefty feel. The wrapper gives off scents of cedar and hay. The foot smells of cedar, barnyard, semi-sweet caramel, touches of bread and a faint cardboard-like aroma I often smell on Cuban cigars. The cold draw has similar notes of cedar, leather and the cardboard-like note that fades to a semi-sweet caramel on the tongue with a touch of spice.
Upon lighting, the LPC Toro imparts an abundance of spicy white pepper onto the tongue. It’s long lasting and pairs with salty-sweet caramel and cedar. Around ten puffs in and it’s more of the same but my mouth gunks up with thick saliva. You can taste a tiny bit of that Brazilian character in the mix from the Brazilian Habano. It gives the LPC just a touch of that musty, dusty flavor and aroma that I often liken to old cellar. The retro-hale is incredibly sharp, lingering on the sinus with notes of cedar and stinging white pepper. The inoffensive bouquet is especially clean and gives off stinging white pepper, sweet caramel and, surprise, cedar. Around the 1/2″ mark the pepper finally drops by 25% but what is left remains to be the strongest note of this third. Body Medium-full due mainly to the spice. Strength negligible.
You know the wonderful aroma you get when you walk into a humidor? More than any cigar I’ve had, the LPC reminds me of a humidor in flavor and aroma. That fantastic mixture of tobacco and cedar is the most prominent note in the second third. The white pepper of the first third transitions to a lingering spicy cayenne pepper. The back of my throat is tight and the mouth watering finish continues due to the spice. Some earthy notes pop in but the dominant flavors continue to be cedar, salty-sweet caramel and cayenne pepper. The LPC is not terribly complex but the flavors are rich and relatively intense. The bouquet is an even sweeter smelling caramel and cedar in this third. The retro-hale remains quite sharp as it passes through the nose but settles down quickly, bringing forth a wonderful salted toffee onto the palate thereafter. Body Medium-full. Strength Medium.
In the final third the LPC’s dominant pepper begins its slow, but steady decline while cedar and salty-sweet toffee remain once more. The LPC begins to develop a “toasty” quality as a minuscule amount of dry earth and must reside underneath the flavors described above. I was not expecting the LPC to have this much strength either as it seems to be heading towards full in this third. The clean bouquet and retro are much the same as before (white pepper, caramel, cedar). I kept hoping for something to transition but instead the flavors simply gained a bit of depth with a few negligible shifts. Nearing it’s end, The LPC adds a little leather to its previously described base flavors. The cedar almost transitions to oak at the nub before I put the cigar down. Body Med-Full. Strength Full.
I’m not sure if non-Cubans (NC’s) are becoming more cubanesque or Cubans Cigars (CC’s) are becoming less distinct as time goes on. As I’ve been smoking a lot of Cuban leaf of late I feel I have a good frame of reference. Other than the relentless mouth tingling pepper and lack of transitions, this is a great analogue for many a Cuban cigar in terms of flavor profile. Beyond the pepper, I procured cedar, semi-sweet salty toffee or butterscotch, dry earth, and hints of leather. The dominant spice and cedar alone make this a Santa Fe.
The La Palina Classic is a truly salivating cigar. Ample amounts of Cayenne & white pepper produced a thick saliva and tongue tingle between puffs. The finish is medium to full length and full flavored. I really enjoyed the salty-sweet toffee and sweet, clean cedar aroma. The draw and construction were on point. If the flavors described are something you look for, I highly recommend it. Just be wary of the spicy pepper. Perhaps with some rest the spice would come down to a more comfortable level. I smoked a robusto and another toro, neither of which was as spicy as the one smoked for this review. Bill Paley has a fabulous cigar on his hands that doesn’t feel out of place next to his highly touted blends (El Diario, Goldie, Family Series) and it’s half the price.