The story of La Palina Cigars is one that is well known. In 2010, William C “Bill” Paley announced he was resurrecting a brand started by his grandfather Samuel Paley back in 1896 known as La Palina Cigars. Samuel owned a very successful cigar company called Congress Cigar Company, but when Samuel retired in 1926, the La Palina brand pretty much retired with him. Ever since Paley resurrected the brand, La Palina has been a brand that has closely identified with its history. Fast forward to 2021, and it would mark 125 years since Samuel Paley started La Palina Cigars. The company decided it would release a commemorative cigar to mark the occasion – and the La Palina 125 Años was born. Over the years, the new La Palina has built its brand by partnering with leading factories in the cigar industry. This time La Palina would turn to the Oliva factory to create the La Palina 125 Años. It would be originally released as a limited edition jar cigar, but this past year it was added as an ongoing production available in boxes. Today we take a closer look at the La Palina 125 Años.
In term of the La Palina 125 Años, this is one of the more ultra-premium cigars. The cigar carries a suggested retail price of $25.00. This is not new territory for La Palina as some of the Family Series and Goldie cigars have had prices over $22.00. As mentioned it was originally released in turn-of-the-century glass jars.
The jars contained 37 cigars and as a result, the pricing of a jar was near $925.00.
At the 2022 Premium Cigar Association Trade Show, the La Palina 125 Años became an ongoing production – available in ten-count boxes.
Without further ado, let’s break down the La Palina 125 Años and see what this cigar brings to the table.
Blend and Origin
The La Palina 125 Años is the first La Palina offering to be produced out of TABOLISA. The cigar consists of 100% Nicaraguan tobaccos, but specifics of the blend have not been disclosed.
County of Origin: Nicaragua
To date, the La Palina 125 Años has been made available in one size – a 6 1/2 x 52 Toro Extra. As mentioned, the 2021 release was a limited production done in 37-count jars. This year, La Palina announced the cigar would be an ongoing release, but now available in ten-count boxes.
The Nicaraguan wrapper of the La Palina 125 Años had a chocolate brown color. There was a slight amount of mottling on the surface and a light amount of toothiness. The wrapper didn’t have much in the way of oils on it. There were some visible veins and visible wrapper seams. The cigar was finished with a fan-tail cap.
The band of the La Palina 125 Años is based on the La Palina band from Congress Cigar Company circa 1910. The band has a red, gold, black, and white color scheme to it. The center of the band has a black stripe with the text “LA PALINA” in white font. Below the stripe is a red oval with gold trim. Inside the oval is the text 125 AÑOS in white font. Above the black stripe is a small portrait of Goldie Drell Paley (the wife of Samuel Paley). The frame is surrounded by gold and red embellishments. On the left side of the band is the text “1896” in white font on a small black panel. The right side of the band has the text “2021” in white font on a small black panel. The remainder of the band has red, white, and gold design elements on it. The far right has a small white circle with gold trim that serves as a band fastener. On that field is the “LP” insignia logo in black font.
Instead of pulling the tail off the cap of the La Palina 125 Años, a straight cut was used to remove both the cap and the tail at the same time. From that point, it was on to the pre-light draw. The cold draw delivered notes of cedar as well as a slightly musty, dank flavor. Overall this wasn’t the most exciting pre-light draw. Since the pre-light draw is not scored, there was no loss of points in the numeric score of value rating. At this point, it was time to toast up the La Palina 125 Años and see what this cigar would bring to the table.
The La Palina 125 Años opened with more dank earth notes, sweet fruit, chocolate, cedar, white pepper, and natural tobacco. As the cigar moved through the first third, the chocolate and cedar notes moved to the forefront. Meanwhile, the pepper, natural tobacco, and fruit notes settled in the background. The retro-hale was multi-layered with notes of cedar, damp earth, and a slight amount of white pepper.
As the La Palina 125 Años moved into the second third, the dank earth notes slowly increased in intensity. The cedar notes in the forefront slightly increased in intensity as well. By the midway point, the earth notes joined the cedar in the forefront. While normally an earth-cedar combination doesn’t excite me, the secondary notes of chocolate, pepper, natural tobacco, and fruit helped round out the profile nicely.
Later in the second third, the white pepper notes increased in intensity, but didn’t quite join the dank earth and cedar in the forefront. The background notes of chocolate, natural tobacco, and fruit still provided a nice complement of flavors as the La Palina 125 Años came to a close. The resulting nub was slightly soft to the touch and cool in temperature.
While there was a slight amount of jaggedness from time to time on the burn line, this proved to be nothing more than cosmetic. This was a cigar that did not require frequent touch-ups and maintained a straight burn path. The resulting ash wasn’t overly firm, but it wasn’t loose or flakey. The ash itself had a near silver color to it. As for the burn rate and burn temperature, both were ideal.
The draw to the La Palina 125 Años performed excellently. This was a cigar that had a touch of resistance – which is something that I consider to be positive. At the same time, this was a low-maintenance cigar to derive flavor from.
Strength and Body
The La Palina 125 Años delivered a medium-strength, medium-bodied smoking experience from start to finish. There wasn’t a lot of variance in the intensity levels of either attribute. In terms of strength versus body, both attributes balanced each other nicely with neither attribute overshadowing the other.
There was a lot I really liked about the La Palina 125 Años. I was a huge fan of the 2021 packaging with the retro bands and glass jars. I also was very happy to see La Palina continue the 125 Años with the ten-count boxes. This was quite an enjoyable cigar. I found this cigar to have some nice balance from start to finish and the flavor nuances seemed to click throughout the smoking experience. As I mentioned while flavors of cedar and dank earth don’t excite me, the other notes really rose to the occasion to create an enjoyable smoke. The $25.00 price point is a bit steep though. In the end, this is still a cigar I could recommend to any cigar enthusiast. It’s certainly a wonderful special occasion cigar. As for myself, it’s a pricey cigar, but the La Palina 125 Años is one I would buy and smoke again. At 90 points, this cigar earns the Cigar Coop Standard of Excellence.
Key Flavors: Cedar, Dank Earth, Chocolate, Natural Tobacco, Fruit, White Pepper
Complexity: Medium Plus
Finish: Very Good
Value: Buy One
Cigar Coop Standard of Excellence
Photo Credits: Cigar Coop