|La Palina Collection – Mr Sam|
The La Palina Collection Mr. Sam marks the second blend and third overall release in the La Palina Collection. The name Mr. Sam pays homage to Samuel Paley, who was the original founder of La Palina Cigars. Mr. Sam became a nickname that Paley’s factory workers bestowed on him. This is a cigar we have been long anticipating since we first reported news of this cigar back in April. Like the other releases in the La Palina Collection, the cigars are limited. In fact the Mr. Sam might be the most limited as only 850 boxes of ten are being made. I recently had an opportunity to smoke this blend. The La Palina brand has been one of the most consistent on Cigar Coop and the Mr. Sam did not let me down.
The La Palina Collection was introduced back in 2012. The original concept is that each year a new limited edition cigar would come out in a different front mark. The first release, the La Palina Collection Goldie Laguito No. 2 was a petite lancero released in 2012 and finished as our Cigar of the Year. A second vitola of the Goldie in a toro was released called the Goldie Laguito No. 5 in 2013. The Mr. Sam marks a new blend in the series and the frontmark selected was a 4 3/4 x 54 robusto. All three of these cigars are rolled at El Titan de Bronze in Miami, Florida.
Without further ado, let’s break down the La Palina Collection Mr. Sam and see what this cigar brings to the table:
The blend of the La Palina Collection: Mr. Sam will consist of darker Ecuadorian Habano wrapper over Nicaraguan binder and filler.
Wrapper: Ecuadorian Habano
As noted above, the La Palina Collection: Mr. Sam will be a 4 3/4 x 54 robusto. This is currently the only size in this blend. As mentioned in the introduction, there are 850 boxes of ten are produced.
The Ecuadorian Habano wrapper is what I would term a “medium plus” brown color, but it does have a dark reddish clay tint to it. There was a slight bit of oil on the wrapper. There are some visible veins, but the wrapper seams are actually pretty well hidden.
There are two bands on the Mr. Sam. The primary band is the same one found on many La Palina cigars. It contains 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. Below the image is the text “EST 1896” in a smaller white font that is also on a gold background. The band is also adorned with gold-colored medallions and gold-colored fleur de lis.
The Mr. Sam contains a secondary band – something the Goldie cigars do not contain. It is ivory colored with the text “MR. SAM” in gold There is also gold pinstriping across the top and bottom.
Preparation for the Cigar Experience
For my smoke of the Mr. Sam, I went with my usual choice of a straight cut to remove the cap. It was then on to my usual pre-light draw ritual. The cold draw notes provided a mix of cedar spice and natural tobacco. I didn’t consider this to be the most complex of pre-light draws, but it wasn’t a bad one either. Overall, I still had this pre-light experience to still be satisfactory. I was now ready to light up the La Palina Collection Mr. Sam and see what the overall cigar experience would deliver.
The start to the Mr. Sam did yield quite a bit more in flavors when compared to the dry draw. I picked up a combination of pepper and cedar spice, some coffee notes, and a little natural tobacco. As the flavor profile took place in the early stages the profile settled into a combination of red pepper, natural tobacco, nut, and mixed fruit. The nut and pepper flavors were primary – with the nut having an edge on the after-draw. The natural tobacco, dried fruit, and coffee were secondary. On the retro-hale, the red pepper was very much present.
In the second third, the nut flavors were still very much in control with the red pepper notes close behind. The background flavors continued to be the natural tobacco and coffee notes. The mixed fruit notes were much more subtle as they were more of a tertiary flavor.
In the last third, the flavor profile was now more of a combination of earth, natural tobacco, and nut. The pepper and coffee notes had greatly diminished. While the cigar lost a little of the sweetness and spice it had earlier, it still had some nice flavors at the close of the cigar. The resulting nub was outstanding – cool in temperature and firm to the touch.
Burn and Draw
One area where La Palina continues to earn high marks on Cigar Coop is with the construction of the cigar. The Mr. Sam holds true to these high standards – and this is reflected on the burn and draw attributes. The Mr. Sam maintained a straight burn from start to finish requiring very minimal touch-ups. The resulting ash was firm with a white color. The burn rate and burn temperature were ideal.
The draw was ideal as well. It wasn’t too loose and it wasn’t too tight. The Mr. Sam was a low maintenance cigar to puff on from start to finish.
Strength and Body
From a strength perspective, the Mr. Sam had a nice amount of strength – yet did not go overboard. I assessed the cigar as being in the medium to full range. As for the flavors, I found them to be robust with some nice depth. This was very much a full-bodied smoke in my book. In terms of the balance between strength and body, I did find this to be a cigar where the body had a slight edge over the strength.
La Palina has another winner on their hands with the Mr. Sam. One thing I can count on is that each new La Palina blend delivers its own story in terms of the cigar experience – and Mr. Sam clearly does this. I liked the nut flavor that seemed to be very much present throughout the cigar experience. If there is a negative, it is that this cigar wasn’t longer in length because I would have really liked to have smoked it longer. Bill Paley told us at the 2013 IPCPR that there could be another size in the Mr. Sam blend, so maybe a longer Mr. Sam is possible. Overall, I found this a cigar that would be the perfect cigar to give to a novice cigar enthusiast who wants to graduate to something with a little more strength as well as having full-bodied flavors. Experienced cigar enthusiasts should enjoy the flavors this cigar delvers. I found this to be a cigar that I would purchase again – and one to consider a box purchase of.
Strength: Medium to Full
Source: The cigars for this assessment were a combination of cigars gifted to me (thanks SG) and samples received from La Palina Cigars. These samples were initiated by La Palina in order to provide feedback. Cigar Coop is appreciative for the samples, but in no way does this influence this write-up.