In 2021 La Palina Cigars released its fifth exclusive release to the Tobacconists Association of America (TAA), the La Palina White Label. It was also the fourth consecutive year that La Palina unveiled a new blend as part of its “color label” series as a TAA Exclusive. Originally the La Palina White Label was planned for a 2020 TAA release, but the global pandemic pushed this release back into the 2021 TAA Exclusive Series. While its TAA predecessor, the La Palina Silver Label is considered one of the boldest La Palina releases to date, the La Palina White Label goes in the opposite direction, delivering a milder offering. Today we take a closer look at La Palina White Label TAA Exclusive in the Toro size.
TAA Exclusive Series consists of cigars made by leading manufacturers that are exclusively sold at TAA member retailers. The TAA is a small group of retailers. At press time the number of retailers is approximately 80. The TAA describes itself as:
The Tobacconists’ Association of America, Ltd. is a trade organization established in 1968 by visionary retail tobacconists. By providing education, communication, research, advocacy, and member discount programs, The TAA works with our members and the industry they support to offer the tools and relationship building opportunities needed to maximize professionalism and success.
There are 15 cigars released for 2021 as a part of the TAA Exclusive Series:
- CLE Signature THT-EKE 03/17
- Crowned Heads- The Lost Angel TAA Exclusive 2021
- JC Newman Brick House Beginnings Natural
- JC Newman Brick House Beginnings Maduro
- Diesel Disciple TAA Exclusive 2021 (Scandinavian Tobacco Group)
- E.P. Carrillo TAA 2021
- Gurkha Nicaragua Series TAA Exclusive
- Illusione TAA Exclusive 2021
- Joya de Nicaragua Cuatro Cinco Edición Americana
- Kristoff 685 Woodlawn Box Press
- La Flor Dominicana TAA 50 Oro Tercera Edicion Natural
- La Flor Dominicana TAA 50 Oro Tercera Edicion Maduro
- La Palina White Label Toro
- Rocky Patel Vintage 2006 San Andreas Bala
- Villiger TAA Exclusive 2021
The following is a complete list of the La Palina TAA Exclusive releases. All of the TAA releases from 2016 to 2021 became regular production lines with expanded vitolas.
- 2016: La Palina Bill’s Blend (Rebranded La Palina Illumination)
- 2017: La Palina Bronze Label
- 2018: La Palina Blue Label
- 2019: La Palina Silver Label
- 2021: La Palina White Label (Announced for 2020)
- 2022: La Palina TAA Kill Bill TXX
The La Palina White Label is the sixth installment of La Palina’s “color label” series. The following are cigars that are a part of the Label Series include the following (along with wrapper varietal and release years). Note the past four installments of this series have had TAA releases before becoming regular production.
- La Palina Black Label (Oscuro; 2014)
- La Palina Red Label (Sun Grown; 2015)
- La Palina Bronze Label (Habano; 2017 – TAA, 2018)
- La Palina Blue Label (Sumatra; 2018 – TAA, 2019)
- La Palina Silver Label (Oscuro; 2019 – TAA, 2020)
- La Palina White Label (Connecticut; 2021 – TAA, 2022)
Without further ado, let’s break down the La Palina White Label Toro and see what this cigar brings to the table.
Blend and Origin
The La Palina White Label is highlighted by a Honduran Connecticut Shade wrapper. The remainder of the blend consists of a Mexican San Andres wrapper and a combination of Dominican, Mexican, and Nicaraguan tobacco. Production comes from Scandinavian Tobacco Group’s HATSA factory in Danlí.
Wrapper: Honduran Connecticut
Binder: Mexican San Andrés
Filler: Dominican, Mexican, Nicaraguan
Country of Origin: Nicaragua
Factory: Honduran American Tobacco S.A. (HATSA)
The La Palina White Label TAA Exclusive was released in one size – a 6 x 50 Toro. The cigars are presented in 20-count boxes. In 2022, the White Label became a regular production line with the following sizes:
Robusto: 5 x 52
Toro: 6 x 50
Churchill: 7 x 50
The Honduran Connecticut wrapper of the La Palina White Label TAA Exclusive had a weathered light brown color wrapper. There wasn’t much in the way of oil on the surface of the wrapper. There were some visible veins and some visible wrapper seams. As with most Connecticut Shade-grown wrappers, this was a thin and somewhat fragile wrapper.
A straight cut was used to remove the cap of the La Palina White Label TAA Exclusive. Once the cap was removed it was on to the pre-light draw ritual. The cold draw was pretty straightforward, delivering notes of cream and wood. I wouldn’t consider this the most exciting 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. Then I moved on to lighting up the La Palina White Label TAA Exclusive to see what the smoking phase would have in store.
The La Palina White Label TAA Exclusive started out with more notes of cream and wood. There was also some pepper and cedar. The cream and wood notes moved to the forefront early on. The pepper and cedar settled in the background. Meanwhile, on the retro-hale, there was an additional layer of cedar along with some black pepper notes. Toward the end of the first third, the cedar notes became more prominent.
During the second third, the cedar notes displaced the cream and wood notes in the forefront. As the cigar progressed through the second third, the cedar notes continued to gradually increase in intensity. Normally I don’t like when a cigar takes a cedar turn, but there was an inherent sweetness to these cedar notes. By the midway point, the pepper on the tongue increased. Concurrently during the second third, the cream notes diminished and eventually dissipated.
There wasn’t much change in the last third. The cedar notes remained primary. There were notes of wood and pepper rounding out the flavor profile.
The construction of the La Palina White Label TAA Exclusive was quite impressive and this was reflected in the burn. The cigar maintained an almost-straight burn line and straight burn path requiring minimal touch-ups along the way. The resulting ash was firm and light gray in color. Both the burn rate and burn temperature maintained ideal levels.
The excellent construction of the La Palina White Label TAA Exclusive was also reflected in the draw. This is a cigar that had a touch of resistance to it – which is something that I like. At the same time, this was a low-maintenance cigar to derive flavor from.
Strength and Body
The La Palina White Label TAA Exclusive started out as a mild to medium strength, medium-bodied smoke. There wasn’t much in the way of variance of the intensity levels of the strength and body. In the end, the La Palina White Label TAA Exclusive stayed in the mild to medium strength and medium-bodied range for the duration of the smoking experience. In terms of strength versus body, the body maintained a slight edge throughout the smoking experience.
Banding and Packaging Notes
There are three bands on the La Palina White Label. This features the classic La Palina Goldie Paley band, a secondary band indicating “White Label” and a tertiary band indicating the cigar is a TAA release. Overall I really like this band lineup for the White Label. The La Palina Goldie Paley band is simply iconic, and all TAA cigars should have a band indicating it’s a TAA cigar.
It is worth noting the packaging changed slightly with the regular production release. The secondary band now has “Connecticut” on it – reflecting La Palina’s overall strategy for highlighting the wrapper on the color label series. The TAA band was removed.
As I mentioned above, when a cigar takes a “cedar turn” and becomes cedar dominant, I lose interest pretty fast. While the La Palina White Label TAA Exclusive took that cedar turn, the other flavors still had enough of a contributing factor to keep my interest. I would put the White Label TAA Exclusive as a classic Connecticut Shade release – milder in strength, not really going past medium in body. This doesn’t have a sophisticated flavor, but it’s a flavor profile that works. In the end, this is a cigar I would recommend to any cigar enthusiast. Coming in at a solid 89 points, this is a cigar I would buy and smoke again. Finally, as far as a TAA release goes, I wouldn’t say the La Palina White Label is any extraordinary, but I’ve given up considering the TAA Exclusive Series as being extraordinary.
Key Flavors: Cream, Cedar, Wood, Pepper
Complexity: Medium Minus
Strength: Mild to Medium
Finish: Very Good
Value: Buy One
Photo Credits: Cigar Coop