Agile Cigar Reviews are cigar assessments where we use a lightweight, shorter format. These will never take the place of our comprehensive reviews. They are only used on blends we have previously assessed. This might be a blend we are rescoring or giving a score for the first time. It also might be a blend we are looking at in a different size. Today we look at the La Palina KB in the Part Three (Robusto) size. This is a cigar we previously assessed in the original El Diario KB size back in March 2012.
Wrapper: Honduran Corojo ’99 Rosado
Binder: Honduran Criollo ’98 (Double binder)
Filler: Nicaraguan Corojo ’99 and Criollo ’98
Country of Origin: Honduras
Factory: Fábrica de Tabacos Raíces Cubanas S. de R.L.
Part Three: 5 x 52
The story of La Palina’s KB is quite interesting from both the La Palina end and Cigar Coop end.
Back in 2011, La Palina Cigars introduced its second line, El Diario. This was a line meant to be an everyday smoke and was one meant to be more affordable than La Palina’s ultra-premium Family Series. El Diario went on to capture Cigar Coop’s #1 Cigar of the Year for 2011. The following year, a 4 1/4 x 40 petit corona line extension was released known as KB. The KB stood for “Kill Bill”, and it was named because the prototype of the sample that was given to La Palina owner Bill Paley threw him for a loop. Later that year a second KB size was added in the form of a 6 x 40 vitola, the KB II.
Fast forward to 2021 and La Palina made the decision to discontinue the El Diario line, but at the same time would launch a new line around KB. In addition to the KB and KB II sizes coming over, two new sizes were added the vitolas were called Part One (4 1/2 x 40), Part Two (6 x 40, Part Three (5 x 52), and Part Four (6 x 54). Finally, the packaging went from ultra-classic to ultra-contemporary. Gone were the El Diario bands featuring Goldie Paley that adorned the KB releases. The artwork on the boxes and bands are now a cross between Asian and Pulp Fiction artwork, and features an image of Bill Paley with his eyes crossed out. The cigars are packaged in 30-count boxes.
We turn our attention to Part Three. The KB features a combination of Honduran and Nicaraguan Corojo and Criollo tobaccos. There is a Honduran Corojo wrapper, a double binder of Honduran Criollo and Nicaraguan Corojo and Criollo for the fillers. On paper, the tobaccos of the La Palina KB line appear the same as El Diario but the ratios were adjusted to achieve a stronger blend – much like the original El Diario KB that threw Bill Paley for a loop. Like El Diario, La Palina KB is produced in Honduras at the Raices Cubanas factory.
The KB Part Three opened up with natural tobacco, dusty earth, and fruit notes. As the cigar experience moved through the first third, the natural tobacco took the edge. Later in the first third notes of baker’s spice and black pepper joined the earth and fruit in the background. The pepper and to a lesser extent baker’s spice increased in intensity. The pepper was also present on the retro-hale and did increase in intensity there as well. During the second half, the fruit sweetness diminished, but the natural tobacco in the forefront got sweeter. By the final third, the pepper had increased enough to join the natural tobacco in the forefront. Notes of earth, baker’s spice, and some residual fruit sweetness rounded out the flavor profile.
This was a powerful cigar. It started out medium to full in strength and body. By the second third, the strength progressed to full territory and by the midway point, the body became full. The strength held a slight edge over the body. As for the burn, it was low maintenance, maintaining a straight burn line and straight burn path. The draw had a touch of resistance – something that I like.
Banding and Packaging Notes
Normally, this section is reserved for full reviews, but I did want to make some notes.
I won’t lie. I miss the Goldie Paley packaging of the El Diario. It was one of the great cigar bands. That being said, the ultra-contemporary spin of the La Palina bands has grown on me. I like them better than I thought I would. I also don’t understand the 30-count boxes. It just seems like too much to me.
I had a lot of mixed feelings to see one of our former #1 Cigar of the Year lines retired, but the good news is that the KB line sort of continues it. The Robusto size of the original El Diario was my favorite size, so I was curious to compare the KB Part Three to the El Diario Robusto. Flavorwise, there were a lot of the great qualities I remember from El Diario. The difference is that the KB Part Three is much bolder and a little less complex. In the end, KB Part Three is still a good cigar, but not quite El Diario Robusto. This is definitely a cigar I’d advise for a seasoned cigar enthusiast. As for myself, it’s a cigar that I would buy multiples of (the 30-count box is a little much) and smoke again. Coming in at 90 points, this cigar earns a Cigar Coop Standard of Excellence.
Key Flavors: Natural Tobacco, Earth, Fruit, Pepper, Baker’s Spice
Complexity: Medium Minus
Strength: Medium to Full (1st Third), Full (Remainder)
Body: Medium to Full (1st Third), Full (Remainder)
Finish: Very Good
Value: Buy Multiples
Photo Credits: Cigar Coop