The La Barba Purple is the second line that was released by La Barba Cigars. La Barba Cigars is a company founded by Tony Bellatto and Craig Rossi in 2010. The name La Barba translates to “beard” and is a tribute to the beards the company founders had. In 2013 the company brought its first cigar to market, the La Barba Red. This was a cigar that was originally made at the Aladino factory in Honduras. A year later La Barba Purple became the company’s sophomore release, and it would become the company’s first release at Tabacalera William Ventura. La Barba would eventually shift all of its production to Tabacalera William Ventura. Today we will take a closer look a the La Barba Purple in the Robusto size.
Tabacalera William Ventura is best known for making many of Caldwell Cigar Company’s releases. Bellatto also happens to have a connection with Caldwell Cigar owner Robert Caldwell as the two are partners in the Lost & Found brand. This past year, La Barba entered into an agreement with Caldwell Cigar Company to handle its distribution. La Barba also has used Tabacalera William Ventura to produce the limited edition La Barba One & Only. In addition, Bellatto is partners in a brand called Siempre, Siempre is a brand Bellatto founded with his father and Matt Waris (a brand also made at Tabacalera William Ventura). This past year it was also announced the La Barba Red was getting revamped and also moving production to Tabacalera William Ventura.
Without further ado, let’s take a closer look at the La Barba One and Only.
While the cigar is highlighted by the use of the HVA wrapper, the blend also contains a varietal less commonly found in blends known as Carbonell. This is a tobacco that has been worked with by Tabacalera William Ventura in the past – most notably in Caldwell Cigar Company’s The Last Tsar.
Wrapper: HVA (Habana Vuelta Abajo Ecuador)
Binder: Dominican Corojo
Filler: Corojo, HVA Habano, and a rare varietal known as Carbonell.
Country of Origin: Dominican Republic (Tabacalera William Ventura)
The La Barba Purple is available in five sizes. Each is packaged in 12-count boxes.
Robusto: 5 x 50
Corona Gorda: 5 3/4 x 46
Toro: 6 x 54
Magnum: 6 x 60
Lancero: 7 x 40
The HVA wrapper of the La Barba Purple Robusto had a medium brown color with a cinnamon colored tint to it. Upon closer examination there was some mottling on the surface of the wrapper. This was a wrapper with a light coating of oil on it. There were also some visible veins and some thin wrapper seams.
As one would expect the La Barba Purple band has a purple background. On the band is a gold powder barber-shop straight razor. To the left of the razor is the text “LA” and to the right is the text “BARBA” – both in gold powder font. Finally, the band is finished with gold trim.
The current band design replaced the original La Barba Purple band design (photo below). Earlier this year, new bands were introduced to La Barba Purple and La Barba Red.
Preparation for the Cigar Experience
Prior to lighting up the La Barba Purple Robusto, I opted to use a straight cut to remove the cap. Once the cap was removed, I proceeded with the pre-light draw. The cold draw of the La Barba Purple Robusto produced notes of natural tobacco and wood. While it wasn’t the most exotic pre-light draw, I still considered it to be satisfactory At this point, I was ready to light up the La Barba Purple and see what the smoking stage would have in store.
The La Barba Purple Robusto kicked off with notes of natural tobacco, graham cracker sweetness, classic wood, and cedar. Early on the natural tobacco and graham cracker sweetness were the primary notes with the wood and cedar notes secondary. On the retro-hale, I picked up notes of black pepper. Toward the end of the first third, the natural tobacco sweetness remained the primary note. The graham cracker sweetness receded into the background joining the classic wood and cedar.
As the La Barba Purple Robusto moved into the second third, some earth notes mixed in with the natural tobacco in the forefront. At the same time, I detected the black pepper was now present in the background By the midway point the earth notes displaced the natural tobacco as the primary note. The natural tobacco now receded into the background joining the classic wood and cedar. The graham cracker sweetness had now dissipated.
Later in the second third of the La Barba Purple Robusto, the pepper notes increased. The earth notes remained primary. During the final third, the pepper was a close secondary note. Meanwhile, the notes of cedar and classic wood still contributed to the flavor profile in the background. This is the way the flavor profile of the La Barba Purple Robusto came to a close. The resulting nub was slightly soft to the touch, but cool in temperature.
Burn and Draw
The burn of the La Barba Purple Robusto took a relatively straight path from start to finish. There was some jaggedness on the burn line, but this was easily remedied with some touch-ups. The resulting ash had a classic salt and pepper complexion. I found this ash to be on the firmer side. The burn rate and burn temperature were both ideal.
As for the draw, it had the right amount of resistance versus openness. The end result is that this was a low maintenance cigar to derive flavor from.
Strength and Body
In terms of strength and body, the La Barba Purple started out dead-center medium. There was a slight uptick in the intensity of both attributes in the second half, but overall I still found the intensity levels of strength and body did not quite reach the medium to full.
When I came to strength versus body, I found both attributes to balance each other nicely with neither attribute overshadowing the other
It’s hard to believe that La Barba Purple has been on the market for almost three years, but it’s one that has remained quite consistent. In my opinion, the La Barba Purple Robusto is one of those cigars that is best enjoyed undistracted as there were a lot of subtle flavor nuances that could be picked up with this cigar. I found the medium strength and body of this cigar meshed quite with the flavors that were produced.
The La Barba Purple cigar is one that I could recommend to either a novice or experienced cigar enthusiast. As for myself, it’s certainly a cigar I’d smoke again. It’s a cigar worthy of purchasing multiples of – and it’s one worthy of a box split.
Key Flavors: Natural Tobacco, Earth, Graham Cracker, Black Pepper, Cedar, Wood
Burn: Very Good
Complexity: Medium to High
Assessment: 3.5-Box Split