La Palina has been a supporter of CigarCraig.com for a long time, I think they were one of my first advertisers, and I’ve enjoyed a great relationship with them. I’ve recommended them as gifts for people in the communications industry who didn’t have a clue about cigars, written about them in my Prime Living column, and enjoyed their cigars over the years. Their booth at the trade show was enormous the last couple years, and this year they had a dizzying array of offerings. I’ve only just started smoking some of the samples that Patrick Vivalo was kind enough to provide me with, and I started with the one that popped out at me from a packaging standpoint, the El Año 1896 Oscuro in the robusto size. This was a 5″ x 52 cigar, it also comes in a toro and belicoso, and has a tissue sleeve with the traditional image of Bill Paley’s Grandmother Goldie, which is usually on the band. the wrapper is San Andrés and is classified as Oscuro in the name, although it was a shade lighter than what I consider oscuro. It also has Dominican fillers and binder and It has a slight box press, and a very interesting flavor. I’m going back a week in my recollections (I really need to start taking notes), but it had some earthiness and dark espresso, with a little spice and some cocoa. It was a cigar I very much enjoyed, and will seek out again. The construction was very good and it had an effortless draw. These are made at Abe Flores’ PDR factory in the DR.
Yesterday I went with another new-to-me La Palina, the La Palina Illumination. This one was in the Belicoso size, they offer it in a short robusto, corona and lancero also. This cigar is made in the El Titan de Bronze factory in Miami with wrapper and binder from Ecuador and fillers from the Dominican Republic. I guess both this cigar and the El Año debuted at last year’s IPCPR show, but have somehow eluded my notice up until this year. This was a fan-freaking-tastic smoke! This is basically the same blend as the Goldie except for the media tiempo being replaced by a ligero. This brings the price down and maybe gives it a little more oomph? I haven’t smoked a lot of Goldies, as they are priced beyond my comfort zone, but if it’s better than the Illumination I’d be very surprised. I could find nothing wrong with this smoke, it was smooth, with nice warm bread notes and a great construction. I nubbed this belicoso, it was very, very good.
That’s all for today, don’t forget to enter the contest to win some Big Papi cigars! Until the next time,