Assessment Updates will be posted on this web-site to: 1) Assess “pre-review” cigars that were not given a rating or score (typically pre-release cigars); 2) Provide numeric ratings to cigars previously assessed prior to the implementation of the numeric scoring system; 3) Provide a re-assessment and re-score of a previously assessed/scored cigar.  Today, we provide a numerical score to the La Palina Family Series Babe.  This was a cigar we assessed November 2010.


La Palina Family Series Babe

It seems like a long time, but it was the La Palina Family Series that started it all for Bill Paley as he resurrected his family’s cigar line. While La Palina would capture the #1 spot for our Cigar of the Year in 2011 (La Palina El Diario) and 2012 (La Palina Goldie), it was the Family Series that laid the foundation of quality for Paley’s company. The La Palina Family Series was an ultra-premium line of cigars blended by Graycliff in the Bahamas.   There are actual two blends in the line – the La Palina Family Series, and the La Palina Family Series Ligero. The La Palina Family Series Babe is a robusto offering in the base Family Series line.  This cigar wow’d us back in 2010 as it finished as our #5 Cigar for 2010.  Now almost 2 1/2 years later, the La Palina Family Series Babe continues to wow us.

The La Palina Family Series leverages Costa Rican tobacco for both the wrapper and binder. The filler consists of Honduran and Nicaraguan tobacco.  There are two vitolas available in this series – the 5 1/4 x 50 Babe, and the shaggy foot 7 1/4 x 50 Churchill.  As mentioned, there is also the La Palina Family Series Ligero blend – that consists of  the 6 x 52 Alison (a torpedo) and the petit perfecto 4 1/4 x 52 Little Bill.   Each of the vitolas in the Family Series are named for members of the Paley family.  In the case of the Babe, it is named for Bill Paley’s mother, Barbara Cushing Paley.

This assessment update of the La Palina Family Series Babe uses a cigar that has been aging from the original batch we assessed in November, 2010. The flavor profile is unique and complex – highlighted by notes of blackberry, herb, cream, wood, nuts, and spice. When we first assessed the La Palina Family Series Babe, the spice was more of a cedar spice. Now, 2 1/2 years later it was more of a mesquite spice.  The mesquite spice was very prominent on the retro-hale. The mesquite, along with the blackberry sweetness really helped distinguish this cigar.

I was a little surprised that this cigar never lost any edge on strength or body. If anything, it kicked up a little more strength and body (which I found a bit of a surprise). The strength is medium and the body is in the medium to full range. This cigar definitely emphasizes flavor over strength.

Construction is top notch. The burn and draw were both excellent. It is what you would expect from an ultra-premium and a La Palina. I will mention the Costa Rican wrapper does seem to burn easily. This is the type of cigar you want to gently and slowly ignite so you don’t over-torch the wrapper. This is also the type of cigar that you don’t want to dry box. I recommend a classic 70 degree temperature and 70 percent humidity regimen for the La Palina Babe.

The Babe does carry a price tag in the $18-$20 range. We don’t factor that into our assessment rating or scores, but we mention it for informational purposes. The bottom line – this cigar still smokes like a top five cigar of the year as well as an ultra-premium smoke.

Click here for our original assessment of the La Palina Family Series Babe.

Assessment: Memorable
Score: 94

Source: The cigars for this assessment update were purchased back in October 2010 from Milan Tobacconist in Roanoke, VA.