|La Palina El Diario KB II|
The La Palina El Diario KB II was a line extension in La Palina’s El Diario line of cigars that was launched at the 2012 IPCPR Trade Show. The KB II added a seventh vitola to the El Diario line in the form of a Corona Gorda. The story of the La Palina El Diario is well-documented on Cigar Coop. When the El Diario line was originally launched in 2011, this core line was intended to add an everyday smoke to La Palina (“diario” means daily). At that time, the El Diario also provided a stronger and more full-bodied offering into La Palina’s portfolio. The La Palina El Diario ended up becoming our 2011 Cigar of the Year. The KB II adds more depth to this outstanding line of cigars. In fact, the KB II just might be the best vitola to date to come out in the El Diario blend.
In 2012, a sixth vitola was added to the El Diario line called the La Palina El Diario KB. The KB was a petit corona. The name KB stands for Kill Bill. The name came about because when La Palina owner Bill Paley smoked the prototype of the petit corona, he was unable to finish it because it was so strong. As a result the name “Kill Bill” was born. – a.k.a KB was born. The KB II goes a step further – offering a longer smoke in the same ring gauge as the KB. The difference in the ratios of the wrapper, binder, and filler as well as the longer vitola make the difference for why the KB II is a special cigar.
|La Palina El Diario KB (Top),
La Palina El Diario KB II (Bottom)
Let’s take a closer look at the La Palina El Diario KB II and see what this cigar brings to the table.
The tobacco components to the La Palina El Diario KB II are consistent with the remainder of the El Diario line.
Wrapper: Honduran Corojo ’99 Rosado
Binder: Honduran Criollo ’98 (Double binder)
Filler: Nicaraguan Corojo ’99 and Criollo ’98
The KB II is currently sold in boxes of 30.
KB II: 6 x 40
KB: 4 1/4 x 40
Churchill: 7 x 50
Torpedo: 6 1/8 x 52
Gordo: 6 x 58
Toro: 6 x 50
Robusto: 5 x 52
Like most of the El Diario line, the Corojo Rosado wrapper has a brown color with a colorado (reddish) tint. The wrapper was smooth and not oily. There were a few visible veins and no major visible wrapper seams.
The band is the La Palina El Diario band featuring the black and white image of Paley’s grandmother, Goldie Paley. The band is also adorned with gold-colored medallions.
Preparation for the Cigar Experience
For my cigar experience, I went with a straight cut into the cap of the La Palina El Diario KB II. Once the cap was removed, I moved on to the pre-light draw. The dry draw notes provided a mix of coffee, caramel, and cedar spice. This was pretty much in-line to what I normally get from the pre-light draw on the other vitolas of the El Diario line. With a satisfactory pre-light draw, it was now time to light up the KB II and see what the cigar experience would bring to the table.
One thing the La Palina El Diario line does so well is deliver a very different smoking experience from vitola to vitola. There are definitely similarities and “common threads” between the vitolas. The La Palina El Diario KB II reflects this commonality. At the same time the KB II has it own characteristics that make it stand apart.
Similar to the La Palina El Diario KB, the KB II provided a spice blast at the start which was a cross between pepper and cedar. When the spice moved to the background, notes of coffee and citrus emerged. The coffee became a primary note while the citrus joined the spice notes in the background. The coffee notes were probably the deepest I’ve had on any of the El Diario cigars. The coffee flavors also had a nice long finish as the flavors lingered on the tongue.
Around the ten percent mark, the citrus notes joined the coffee as primary flavor. At the same time, the some cream notes joined the spice in the background.
In the second third, the coffee notes morphed into more of a classic chocolate flavor. The citrus notes receded and the chocolate flavors became the story of this cigar. By the last third, the spice notes re-emerged and joined the chocolate flavors in the forefront. The spice never got overwhelming or harsh as the cigar experience came to a close. The resulting nub was cool in temperature and soft to the touch.
Burn and Draw
The KB II scores very well when it comes to the attributes of burn and draw. This reflects the excellent construction of this cigar. The burn line to the KB II was straight from start to finish – only requiring an occasional touch-up with my butane lighter. The resulting ash was a light gray color with some salt and pepper speckling in it. The ash was firm and was not prone to flaking. The burn rate and burn temperature were ideal.
The draw was outstanding. This is one of the better 40 ring gauge cigars to puff on. I found the draw to be low maintenance making for a very enjoyable smoking experience.
Strength and Draw
Both the KB and KB II definitely have definitely mellowed since the time that Paley smoked that prototype. However, in the cases of both of these line extensions, these vitolas still remain the fullest in the El Diario line when it comes to strength and body. In other words the KB II is going to be both a full strength and full-bodied cigar. Both the strength and body balance each other very nicely – with neither attribute overshadowing the other.
In terms of the El Diario line, I did mention that each of the vitolas delivers a very different smoking experience. When the El Diario captured our 2011 Cigar of the Year, the robusto vitola had delivered the best overall smoking experience. While the robusto vitola may deliver more flavor nuances, I found that the KB II delivers the best flavors. This is a great line extension by the El Diario. As far as comparisions with the original KB, I found that the KB II is so much more than just a longer KB. Given this is a full strength, full-bodied cigar, I’d still lean this cigar to more of a seasoned cigar enthusiast who can handle something fuller. As for myself, I consider this is another box-worthy vitola in the El Diario line.
Source: The cigars for this assessment were purchased from Outland Cigars in Charlotte, North Carolina.