First Cigars of 2014: a La Palina, a Cain and a Los Blancos Nine

I see it’s going to be one of those winters!  We’ve already had about 4 snowstorms, and we’re seeing single digit temps for the first time in quite a few years.  I yearn for spring! I would rather smoke cigars without gloves and six layers! I have no problem going to any one of a number of local shops in the area, but that gets expensive, and I’ve got a ton of cigars here at home that need smoking.  Of course, when I go to a shop I can’t just buy one cigar and smoke it, I have to buy two, then something else catches my eye and I CE&M_Vanadiumhave to get two of them. It gets hard to keep up!  Then, I do something stupid like buy a box of cigars just because I dig the box and I think it’ll look good on the bookcase! Not only do I buy the box, but I add on a five-pack too! (remember the coupon codes folks!)  It’s crazy. At some point I send a bunch to Cigars for Warriors and give a bunch away, so it all works out, I suppose. Where was I going with this?  Oh, it’s been wicked cold (as they say in New England) here in PA.  Let’s see if that slows me down any…


La Palina Maduro Petite LanceroNew Years Day 2014. We had my daughter’s family over to watch the Winter Classic which was fun.  I spent more time playing with my grand-daughters than watching the game, but it looked like a great game with stoppages every so often to shovel the snow off the ice!  After they took off, I grabbed a cigar I’d been looking forward to smoking and took the dog for a walk.  The La Palina Maduro has been a favorite of mine since it came out last year. I was excited when a pair of Petite Lanceros showed up in my mailbox, and equally excited when I saw them on the shelf at Cigar Mojo last week (good to know a source of supply just in case I fall in love, right?).  It seemed like a good cold weather choice, easy to handle with gloves, strong enough in flavor.  I may like the larger ring gauge versions of the La Palina Maduro a little better, but this Petite Lancero was loaded with bitter sweet chocolate and coffee and was really quite enjoyable.  For me, I think the larger rings make for a little creamier smoke.  I will pick up a few more to have around, and I’ll look forward to smoking this again in the warmer months.  Quite a good smoke, a great way to start the year.


Cain_Daytona6x46Thursday evening is started snowing, so me and the pup went walking right after dinner. I’ve been in the mood for a Cain of some sort for a while.  Are these falling out of favor?  One of my local shop proprietors was a HUGE fan of these when they came out, now he says he will probably clearance them next month, they aren’t selling. I picked out a Cain Daytona 646, the milder blend in the Cain Line and fired it up.  I love the sweetness of this cigar. I think I only have a 543 and a couple lanceros left floating around the humidors, but the Daytona is my favorite blend o f the line.  I like the others after some aging time, and the Cain F tubed lancero is a clear winner, but the Daytona, to me, has the best balance and flavor.  This cigar was great, although it was better after I put it down for a while to dry out, and re-lit it after shoveling the driveway. The snow didn’t do it any favors, my fault, not the cigars.  I recently lost my local Oliva rep, so if someone from Oliva reads this and wants to chime in on the status of the Cain brand, please feel free!



Saturday morning I had my third appearance on the Kiss My Ash radio show in their “Bloggers Corner”.  It’s always a huge honor for me, and I felt the best about my performance this time.  I chose to resurrect a review of the Cigar Aficionado number one cigar of 2013, the Havana Montecristo No.2 that I did in 1996.  I took part in a Monthly Officious Taste Test on the alt.smokers.cigars Usenet group which was put together by Steve Saka.  This was probably the second monthly installment and this would go on for a few years as a feature on the CigarNexus website of which Steve was a part.  Anyway, I called the Montecristo No.2 a “dogrocket”, which was the lowest possible rating.  I can still remember the cigar as being acrid and nasty like
a pile of burning leaves in the autumn, you know, the wet, musty ones. I wish I had pictures of the cigar from 1996, but that was before digital cameras were anything really, and certainly before cell phones had cameras. Anyway, I though it would be interesting to read that review on the radio in contrast with Cigar Aficionado‘s recent number one rating. In their defense, it must have been a pretty good year for that cigar, as it was number two in Cigar Journal‘s rating, and I have had some spectacular No.2s over the years, but I’ve had some that were so-so too.  I give Cigar Journal some leeway since they are truly an international magazine, but I don’t find that giving a Cuban cigar the number one spot does anything for US readers, and retailers. A high rating is a very big deal as far as sales go for a cigar, it’s a waste for a US based magazine to promote a product that can’t be legally procured.  I’m not even going to get into the fact that this is an 80 year old marque which has been plagued with inconsistency over the years. Enough of that rant, Abe did let out that Steve Saka was going to be doing a regular feature on Kiss My Ash radio, so tune in to see what Steve has to say.  He has a ton of tobacco knowledge and I’m proud to know him for these last 17 years or so.


LosBlanco_Nine RobustoYesterday afternoon, although the temps barely got out of the teens, it turned out to be a nice day for a walk.  I had picked up a couple of Los Blancos Nine robustos Tuesday when I visited my local shop (see first paragraph!).  I’ve certainly know about this brand, and I’ve met David Blanco, but I haven’t smoked any cigars from them. The Nine looked tasty with it’s dark Oscuro Corojo wrapper. It’s a 5″ x 52 robusto with a Jalapa binder and three ligero fillers. This cigar blew me away with it’s flavor and construction. This is the best cigar I’ve smoked all year!  The flavor was bold, which I need in cold weather, and it had the right amount of lush, heavy bitterness that I really enjoy. When I was burning my fingers on the very tiny nub of this cigar I was really glad my compulsion caused me to buy two of these! I can’t wait to smoke the other one.  Damn great smoke and I’ll be looking to sample more form Los Blancos. It’s cool to find an exciting cigar like this one, not that there aren’t a load of great cigars out there, there’s more than ever, but this one was a surprise.


Once again, I’ve rambled on too long.  I’ve got stuff I want to get done today and sitting here writing isn’t going to get those things done.  I’ve got cigars to smoke before Wednesday rolls around!


Until the next time,




Filed under Editorial, Review

11 Responses to First Cigars of 2014: a La Palina, a Cain and a Los Blancos Nine

  1. Craig

    Looks like the Los Blancos Nine was a great cigar. Will try and pick up a few of those.

  2. Commish

    Agree with previous response on the Los Blancos. Heading to Arizona for a 3 week vacation this week and will try to catch up on some suggestions rather than step outside in -52 wind chill Wisconsin!

  3. I can’t wait for KMA to post their podcast. I didn’t get a chance to listen live. Hopefully I can listen tomorrow while home from work! No school due to the FRIGID WIND CHILL WARNINGS. We don’t call it the Frozen Tundra for nuthin.

  4. jjo

    I love the Los Blancos Nine, but that is the old name and banding. They are now Blanco Cigar Co. Pick up the Nine in lancero if you have a chance.

    • Thanks! I thought his looked different from what I saw on the website. I bought these Tuesday locally, so maybe old stock. Did the blend change? I don’t want to have to go back and buy the rest of the darned things…

  5. George Satterfield

    I have only had a couple of La Palina’s and liked them very much. Have not tried the Maduro I’m sure it has to be a great cigar. Especially in that Vitola. Thanks for the great writings and keep warm this very cold time of year.

  6. Sam

    I agree with your view on the Montecristo #2. I received the latest issue of CA and finished reading their rankings. I looked over at my buddy and said, “They gave a Cuban cigar the number 1 spot? What kind of bullsh*t is that?”. Maybe someone at Montecristo gave them a bunch of money or maybe I just don’t get it. All I know is that no one here in the states will be able to prove them wrong. I can think of 10 sticks that could beat the Montecristo for the number 1 spot. I’m totally disappointed in their selections this year. How about a yearly ranking completely composed from reviews from the average joe? Sign me up

  7. Craig Happy New year buddy I hope all went well and I hope you have a great 2014!

  8. Brian Impson

    Happy New Year Craig. The other day you asked the 12 day winners to let you know if we’ve received our goodies. I have not yet received the Casa Mirandas, but you did mention that Barry Stein at Miami Cigar was under the weather and to be patient. No complaint here, but since you asked… Thanks again!

  9. MCCBarry

    Hey friends. Just a heads up the Miami/La Aurora will ship Monday.

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