One thing I am fascinated about when a new company launches is how its portfolio will evolve. Such is the case with Jochy Blanco’s La Galera Cigars. Blanco launched La Galera in 2016 with two blends, Habano and Connecticut. Since then the company has evolved its portfolio adding a box-pressed, San Andres Maduro, and Connecticut Broadleaf (Anemoi). As a portfolio evolves, I always wonder what will be the next line. In 2021, I got my answer as La Galera would introduce a Cameroon line known as Imperial Jade. The La Galera Imperial Jade utilizes a genuine Cameroon wrapper from Africa. Today we take a closer look at the La Galera Imperial Jade in the Robusto size.
For a long time, Jochy Blanco has been known as a tobacco grower and tobacco manufacturer. For many years he grew and manufactured cigars for others. Things would change in 2015 when he would acquire IndianHead Cigars, a company consisting of value-priced cigars. Simultaneously, Blanco added a new brand that would be sold under the IndianHead portfolio known as La Galera. While Blanco still sells brands from the IndianHead portfolio, La Galera has been the brand exclusively used for the company’s more premium cigar offerings.
Without further ado, let’s break down the La Galera Imperial Jade Robusto and see what this cigar brings to the table.
Blend and Origin
The La Galera Imperial Jade features a genuine African Cameroon wrapper over Dominican tobaccos from Jochy Blanca’s Jacagua and La Canela farms. Production is handled at Blanco’s Tabacalera Palma factory in Tamboril, Dominican Republic.
Wrapper: African Cameroon
Binder: Dominican Criollo (Jacagua)
Filler: Dominican Piloto Cubano (Jacagua), Dominican Criollo 98 (La Canela)
Country of Origin: Dominican Republic
Factory: Tabacalera Palma
The La Galera Imperial Jade is available in six sizes. All of the sizes come in 20-count boxes except the Chiquito Perfecto which is presented in five-count units.
Chiquito Perfecto: 40 x 52 x 4
Corona: 44 x 5 1/2
Robusto: 50 x 50 1/2
Toro: 52 x 6
Piramide: 52 x 6
Churchill 47 x 7
The Cameroon wrapper of the La Galera Imperial Jade Robusto is on the darker side. This wrapper could best be described as “medium to dark” brown. The wrapper had a slight amount of mottling and a slight amount of toothiness. There was not much in the way of oil on the surface. The wrapper had some visible veins and minimally visible wrapper seams.
The band of the La Galera Imperial Jade has a similar design to the other La Galera lines. This is a white band with jade (green) font on it. On the center of the band is an oval field featuring the “TP” (Tabacalera Palma) insignia. Draped over the insignia is the text “La Galera” in white cursive font. The lower part of the oval has a design draped over it with the text “Tabacalera Palma” in a cursive font. The left side of the band has a fish design and the right side has a serpent design. The lower part of the band has a jade and white flower design. The remainder of the band has white and jade-colored design elements.
Prior to lighting up the La Galera Imperial Jade Robusto, a straight cut was used to remove the cap. Once the cap was removed it was on to the pre-light draw. The pre-light draw had a mix of earth, cedar, and some floral notes. Overall this was a disappointing pre-light draw. Since the pre-light draw is not factored into the numerical score or value rating, there was no loss of points here. At this point, it was time to toast up the footer of the La Galra Imperial Jade Robusto and see what the smoking experience would have in store.
The La Galera Imperial Jade Robusto kicked off with a mix of toast, classic wood, cedar, citrus, and red pepper notes. Early on the citrus, wood, and toast notes became the primary ones. The citrus component provided some sweetness. Meanwhile, the cedar and red pepper settled into the background. As for the retro-hale, there was an additional layer of red pepper present.
At the start of the second third of the La Galera Imperial Jade Robusto, the toast and wood notes remained grounded in the forefront, the citrus notes fell into the background for a short period of time. The pepper notes started to increase. Just past the midway point, the citrus notes turned more astringent. The astringent citrus notes started to increase in intensity and re-emerged in the forefront. Meanwhile, there still were some cedar notes also present in the background.
By the final third, the astringent-citrus notes took over as the primary flavor. The toast, wood, and pepper notes were prominent with the cedar more distant. This is the way the La Galeria Imperial Robusto came to a close. The resulting nub was soft to the touch and cool in temperature.
Burn-wise, the La Galera Imperial Jade Robusto does well. This is a cigar that maintained a straight burn path with a straight burn line from start to finish. There wasn’t a large number of touch-ups needed throughout the smoking experience. The resulting ash was firm with a salt and pepper color to it. As for the burn rate and burn temperature, both maintained ideal levels.
The La Galera Imperial Jade Robusto had a touch of resistance to it – which is something that I consider a positive on the smoking experience. At the same time, this was a low-maintenance cigar to derive flavor from.
Strength and Body
The start of the La Galera Imperial Jade Robusto delivered medium strength and medium to full-bodied flavors. There was a nominal increase in strength and body throughout the smoking experience. At the same time, the Imperial Jade Robusto stayed in the medium strength and medium to full-bodied range until the end of the cigar.
In terms of strength versus body, the body maintained the edge throughout the smoking experience of the La Galera Imperial Jade Robusto.
Personally, I was very excited to smoke the La Galera Imperial Jade because it contained a Cameroon wrapper. The La Galera Imperial Jade Robusto started out promising in the first third, but in the second third things went downhill and downhill rapidly. The astringent profile combined with some peppery notes just didn’t deliver good flavor. While the Imperial Jade Robusto scored nicely when it came to construction, it simply was not enough to earn a high score. In the end, at least for the Robusto size of the Imperial Jade, this is one I would recommend passing on.
Key Flavors: Toast, Wood, Citrus, Astringent Notes, Cedar, Pepper
Strength: Medium t
Body: Medium to Full
Value: Not Recommended
News: La Galera Imperial Jade Launched at 2021 PCA Trade Show
Brand Reference: La Galera
Photo Credits: Cigar Coop except where noted