|La Palina Maduro|
The La Palina Maduro was one of two new cigars by La Palina showcased at the 2012 IPCPR Trade Show. This cigar began to make its way into brick and mortar retailers in December, 2012. As the name indicates, this is a cigar that is a maduro cigar – marking this the first La Palina to have a maduro wrapper. The La Palina brand has consistently scored high over the past three years on Cigar Coop – including winning our Cigar of the Year in 2011 and 2012. The question would be: could the La Palina Maduro continue to keep the bar high for La Palina? The answer is absolutely a “yes”.
The La Palina Maduro is the second cigar to come out of Honduras for La Palina. It is also the second cigar to come out of the Raices Cubanas factory in that country. The La Palina El Diario (our 2011 Cigar of the Year) is the other cigar from Raices Cubanas.
Without furhter adieu, let’s break down the La Palina Maduro and see what this cigar brings to the table.
The La Palina Maduro is also the first La Palina to leverage a San Andres Mexican Maduro wrapper. This has also been a popular wrapper on several other blends to come out of this factor. In addition to the San Andres wrapper, the La Palina Maduro uses a double binder from Honduras.
Wrapper. Mexican Maduro
Binder: Honduras (Double Binder)
Filler: Nicaragua (Corojo and Criollo)
The La Palina Maduro has initially been released in four frontmarks. The cigars are packaged 20 per box.
56: 7 x 56
60: 6 x 60
50: 6 x 50
52: 5 x 52
For this cigar experience, I went with the “52” ring gauge – which is a robusto-sized vitola. The San Andres wrapper has a dark chocolate-color with an oily texture. The wrapper has a somewhat bumpy feel on the surface. The wrapper seams and veins are well-hidden.
The band is very similar to the band of the La Palina El Diario. Like the El Diario, the black and white image of Goldie Paley is front and center on the band. The image is adorned with gold trim. Over the image is the text “LA PALINA” in a thin white font on a gold background. Toward the bottom of the band is the text “EST 1896” in a smaller white font that is also on a gold background. The big difference is from the El Diario is that there are two black stripes going around the black of the band. There are also some gold Fleur-de-lis adornments going around the back of the band.
Preparation for the Cigar Experience
For my experience of the La Palina Maduro 52, I went with my usual straight cut into the cap. Once the cap was successfully removed, it was time to move on to the pre-light draw experience. The dry draw notes provided a mix of cherry, pepper, and leather notes. Overall, I considered the pre-light draw experience of the La Palina Maduro to be satisfactory. At this point, it was time to light my La Palina Maduro and begin the smoking experience.
In my book, one thing that makes the La Palina brand so good is some of the unique flavors I’ve been able to detect their cigars. The La Palina Maduro is not exception to this. It starts off with a blast of exotic pepper. Once the pepper subsided, notes of leather, mocha, and cherry licorice emerged. The pepper remained on par with those other notes with no dominant flavor note early on.
Around the five percent mark, the leather flavors moved into the forefront and were joined by some nut flavors. The cherry licorice, pepper, and mocha notes were secondary flavors. Midway through the first third, the mocha notes morphed into more of a classic coffee flavor. The coffee flavors would replace the leather as a primary note – joining the nut flavors.
The second half of the La Palina Maduro saw the coffee and pepper notes as the primary flavors. The nut flavors diminished – and occasionally the leather notes kicked in. The cherry licorice remained secondary until the end. The finish was flavorful and had some spice. On some of the cigars I smoked, there was a little bit of harshness. The nub finished with a cool temperature and was soft when touched.
Burn and Draw
Another contributing factor to why La Palina cigars score well is around their construction. The La Palina Maduro is another winner when it comes to that category. The burn line remained straight from start to finish – requiring minimal touch-ups with my butane lighter. The ash was a light gray color with some touches of black in it. There was some occasional flaking of the ash, but nothing that became a nuisance. The burn rate and burn temperature remained ideal.
As for the draw, the La Palina Maduro had an ideal one in my book. It had just a touch of resistance to it – making it a great cigar to puff on from start to finish.
Strength and Body
The La Palina Maduro does a nice job at balancing the attributes of strength and body. Neither attribute overshadows the other. From a strength perspective, this maduro has a little more pop than one might think. I assessed this cigar to be in the medium to full range for strength. As for the depth of the flavors, the La Palina Maduro delivers some nice robust notes. I assessed this to be medium to full in terms of body.
While I was critical of San Andres maduro wrappers in 2012, I’m have found a lot of releases that are proving me wrong. What I like about the La Palina Maduro is how this wrapper allows the rest of the tobaccos in the blend to shine without overwhelming the blend. The La Palina Maduro delivers classic maduro qualities while bringing its own uniqueness to the table. The La Palina Maduro is still a cigar I’d recommend to a novice cigar enthusiast who wants to cut their teeth on a maduro that is medium to full in terms of strength and body. Experienced cigar enthusiasts should appreciate that this is not a “cookie cutter” maduro smoke. As for myself, this is a cigar I would definitely smoke again.
Strength: Medium to Full
Body: Medium to Full
Assessment: Nice to Have
Source: The cigars for this assessment were purchased from Outland Cigars in Charlotte, North Carolina.