La Galera Cigars is a premium cigar brand owned by Jochy Blanco. For many years Blanco has been best known for supplying tobacco, as well as producing cigars, for many brands out of his Tabacalera Palma factory in the Dominican Republic. In 2015, Blanco acquired a company known as IndianHead Cigars from industry veteran Bill Bock. Simultaneously, Blanco was in the process of creating La Galera Cigars, and these cigars would become the premium cigar component of the IndianHead portfolio. At the 2016 IPCPR Trade Show, La Galera Cigars launched the brand’s first regular production maduro called the La Galera Maduro. Today we take a closer look at the La Galera Maduro in the Chaveta (Robusto) size. Overall, I found this to be an excellent maduro offering and a cigar that delivers excellent value.
The La Galera brand pays homage to the cigar factory. “La Galera” refers to the roller’s room in the factory which is the heart of where the activity takes place. Many of the vitolas across La Galera lines are named after items in the factory. Chaveta, which is the Robusto size, refers to crescent-shaped tobacco cutting blade using in the cigar making process.
When La Galera launched late in 2015, two blends, the La Galera Connecticut and the La Galera Habano were released. As mentioned, the La Galera Maduro made its debut at the 2016 IPCPR trade show. In addition, the La Galera 1936 Box Pressed and La Galera 80th Anniversary Box Pressed Limited Edition cigars also made their debuts at the 2016 IPCPR Trade Show.
Without further ado, let’s take a closer look at the La Galera Maduro Chaveta and see what this cigar brings to the table.
For the La Galera Maduro, Blanco opted to use a San Andres Maduro wrapper over a blend that is highlighted by Piloto Cubano tobacco in the binder and filler.
Wrapper: San Andres Maduro
Binder: Dominican Piloto Cubano
Filler: Dominican Piloto Cubano, Dominican Criollo ’98
Country of Origin: Dominican Republic (Tabacalera Palma)
The La Galera Maduro is available in seven sizes. The Chaveta is packaged in 20-count boxes.
No. 1: 3 1/2 x 50
Chaveta: 5 x 50
Pegador: 6 x 46
Cortador: 6 x 52
El Lector: 6 x 54
Cabeza de Caracol: 7 x 52
Pilon: 6 1/4 x 60
The San Andres wrapper of the La Galera Maduro Chaveta had a chocolate brown color with a slight colorado tint to it. There was a light coating of oil on the wrapper. For a San Andres wrapper, this was quite smooth as there only were some thin visible veins and thin visible wrapper seams.
There are two bands on the La Galera Maduro. The primary band shares the same elaborate design as the La Galera Habano. The center of the band has a white oval with the text “La Galera” in a gold scripted font. The background of the oval also features the “TP” (Tabacalera Palma) initials in a light gold-colored old English font. The lower part of the oval has a gold ribbon design draped over it with the text “Tabacalera Palma” in a dark cursive font. The upper part of the band is adorned with pictures of the beach, a farm, and a representation of a portrait from the Tabacalera Palma factory. There are also various gold adornments on that section of the band.
The lower part of the band is red. The text “La Galera” in a light font flanks the left and right side of the band. The text “REPUBLICA DOMINICANA” is on the lower portion of the band in white font while the text “HECHO A MANO” is on the right side. On the far left lower side is a Dominican Republic flag. The far right side has another gold-colored “TP” (Tabacalera Palma” logo). The bottom of the band has a tobacco flower flanked by a green stripe with the text “TABACALERA PALMA” on each side in light font. There is also a secondary band that is red with gold trim. On the band is the text “MADURO” in gold font.
Preparation for the Cigar Experience
Prior to lighting up the La Galera Maduro Chaveta, I used a straight cut to remove the cap. After the cap was removed, I proceeded with the pre-light draw. The dry draw delivered a mix of cocoa and earth. There was also a slight amount of cedar and very subtle maduro sweetness (a mix of natural tobacco and dried fruit). Overall I considered this to be an excellent pre-light draw. Then I was ready to light up my La Galera Maduro Chaveta and see what the smoking phase would have in store.
The La Galera Maduro Chaveta started out with notes of earth, white pepper, unsweetened cocoa, and cedar. Early on the white pepper notes had some of the sharp, pungent qualities I associate with San Andres Maduro wrapper. Early on, the pepper subsided into the background on the tongue and the earth notes became primary. The pepper notes joined the cocoa and cedar notes in the background. Meanwhile, there was a mix of red pepper and cedar on the retro-hale, with each note varying in degrees throughout the smoking experience
As the La Galera Maduro burned through the first third, some citrus also surfaced in the background. The cocoa notes increased in intensity and started to develop some more sweetness. By the end of the first third, the cocoa and earth were primary with the citrus, cedar, and pepper secondary.
During the second third of the La Galera Chaveta, the earth and cocoa notes alternated in intensity. I still found the cedar, pepper, and citrus to be secondary notes, but during this stage the citrus increased slightly.
By the last third, the cocoa receded into the background again leaving the earth as the sole primary note. The cocoa, citrus, cedar, and pepper remained in the background with the pepper increasing slightly. This is the way the La Galera Maduro Chaveta came to a close. The resulting nub was firm to the touch and cool in temperature.
Burn and Draw
In terms of its burn, the La Galera Maduro Chaveta maintained both a relatively straight burn path and relatively straight burn line. This cigar required a few touch-ups along the way, but the number required was not excessive. The resulting ash was on the firm side with a light gray color. The cigar also maintained an ideal burn rate and ideal burn temperature.
The draw fell into my sweet spot. There was a slight touch of resistance to it and that’s something that I like. This was a cigar that I could smoke at a relaxed pace while easily deriving the flavors.
Strength and Body
When it came to strength and body, I found that both attributes fell into the range of medium to full. Throughout the smoking experience, while it remained a medium to full strength and medium to full-bodied cigar, there was some variance in the intensity of both attributes. Because there was a lot of variance, I found there were times the strength had the edge and other times the body had the edge.
While I didn’t like some of the pungent spice early on, once it settled I found the La Galera Maduro Chaveta to deliver an excellent smoking experience. While it’s not excessive in terms of strength, I did find there were times that this cigar’s strength did sneak up on you. At the same time, this is a cigar that never sacrificed its flavor. One thing that is hard to ignore about the La Galera Maduro is the price. At an MSRP of $5.75, this is also a cigar of great value. This is a cigar I’d probably still steer to a more seasoned cigar enthusiast. As for myself, there is enough quality and value to qualify this as a box split.
Key Flavors: Cocoa, Earth, Pepper Cedar, Citrus
Strength: Medium to Full
Body: Medium to Full
Assessment: 3.5-Box Split
News: La Galera Maduro Launched by IndianHead Cigars at 2016 IPCPR
Source: IndianHead Cigars
Brand Reference: IndianHead Cigars
Photo Credits: Cigar Coop