At the 2021 Premium Cigar Association (PCA) Trade Show, La Galera Cigars released a pair of cigars known as the La Galera 85th Anniversary. The 85th Anniversary refers to the anniversary of the Tabacalera Palma factory, the facility owned by Jochy Blanco. To commemorate the milestone Blanco and his son José Manuel Blanco each worked on a blend to be a part of the 85th Anniversary cigar. Each of the releases was inspired by their own fathers. For Jochy’s blend, he consulted his father’s notes, while José Manuel went to his own father for some knowledge. In the end, Jochy would develop a Connecticut Shade blend for the La Galera 85th Anniversary while José Manuel would develop a Connecticut Broadleaf blend that also became part of the 85th Anniversary release. Today we take a closer look at the La Galera 85th Anniversary Connecticut Broadleaf release.
For a long time, Jochy Blanco’s Tabacalera Palma has been producing cigars for many brands. That would change in 2015 when he acquired 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.
Blend and Origin
In addition to the Connecticut Broadleaf wrapper, the remainder of the blend of the La Galera 85th Anniversary Connecticut Broadleaf consists of Dominican Corojo for the binder and Piloto Dominicano and Criollo ’98 for the filler. The Dominican tobaccos used in the blend are grown on farms owned by Jochy Blanco. Tabacalera Palma is the place where the La Galera 85th Anniversary Cigars are produced.
Wrapper: Connecticut Broadleaf
Binder: Dominican Corojo
Filler Piloto Dominicano, Criollo ’98
Country of Origin: Dominican Republic
Factory: Tabacalera Palma
The La Galera 85th Anniversary is offered in a 6 x 52 Toro. The Toro size is used for both the Connecticut Broadleaf and the Connecticut Shade blends. Both blends are packaged in 20-count boxes, each containing ten La Galera Connecticut Broadleaf cigars and ten La Galera Connecticut Shade cigars.
The wrapper of the La Galera 85th Anniversary Connecticut Broadleaf had a roasted coffee bean color to it with a slight Colorado-red tint. There was a light coating of oil on the surface of the wrapper. Upon closer examination of the wrapper, there was some mottling that is visible on the surface. The wrapper had some visible veins as well.
Prior to lighting up the La Galera 85th Anniversary Connecticut Broadleaf, a straight cut was used to remove the cap. Once the cap was removed, it was on to the pre-light draw ritual. The cold draw delivered a mix of leather and cedar along with some pepper. Overall this cigar did not excite me nor have me doing handstands. Since the pre-light draw is not factored into the numerical merit score or value rating, there was no loss of points here. At this point, it was time to toast up the foot of the 85th Anniversary Connecticut Broadleaf and proceed into the smoking phase.
The La Galera 85th Anniversary Connecticut Broadleaf opened up with coffee, cedar, pepper, earth, and herbal notes. As the cigar moved into the first third, the coffee and pepper notes moved into the forefront. The cedar, earth, and herbal notes settled in the background. On the retro-hale, there was a combination of pepper and cedar.
As the La Galera 85th Anniversary Connecticut Broadleaf moved into the second third, the flavor profile did not change up much. The coffee and pepper notes remained primary with the cedar, earth, and herbal notes secondary. There wasn’t a large gap between the primary and secondary notes. Once the cigar moved into the second third, there was a slight increase in the cedar notes.
The final third really didn’t see much of a change either. It remained coffee/pepper primary with cedar/earth/herbal notes secondary. This is the way the La Galera 85th Anniversary Connecticut Broadleaf would finish up. The resulting nub was slightly soft to the touch and cool in temperature.
Overall the burn of the La Galera 85th Anniversary Connecticut Broadleaf performed quite well. This was a cigar that required only a few touch-ups along the way to maintain a straight burn path and a straight burn line. The resulting ash wasn’t overly firm, but it wasn’t loose nor flakey. This was an ash that had a classic salt and pepper color complexion. The burn rate and burn temperature were both ideal.
The draw of the La Galera 85th Anniversary Connecticut Broadleaf also performed quite well. This was a draw that had a touch of resistance to it. If you have read many of my assessments, you know this is the resistance level that I enjoy. At the same time, this was a low-maintenance cigar to derive flavor.
Strength and Body
For the most part, the La Galera 85th Anniversary Connecticut Broadleaf delivered a medium-strength and medium-bodied smoking experience from start to finish. The cigar actually started on the upper end of medium for strength and body to start, but did diminish slightly for the bulk of the cigar experience before picking back up at the end. Throughout the smoking experience, the strength and body didn’t move out of the medium range.
Both the strength and body balanced each other nicely with neither attribute overshadowing the other.
BANDING AND PACKAGING NOTES
La Galera has been moving to standardize a lot of its packaging. In the case of the La Galera 85th Anniversary, the cigars use the primary bands that have been used on the La Galera Habano and La Galera Maduro, but it contains a special 85th-anniversary secondary band. In the case of the La Galera 85th Anniversary, I probably would have changed the primary band to make them stand out better. Still, the banding scheme is quite nice.
As for putting two different blends in one package, I am also not in favor of it. However, when it comes to how the presentation looked for the La Galera 85th Anniversary, it did look quite nice. I just prefer a one blend per one package model.
Jochy Blanco has been growing some of the best tobacco and making some of the best blends for many years. With La Galera Cigars he has established an excellent brand. The problem I’ve seen with La Galera is they are not working the consumer engagement channel very well. As a result, many people are missing out on some very good cigars.
In the case of the La Galera 85th Anniversary Connecticut Broadleaf, this is a cigar that delivers very nice flavors and excellent construction. The drawback is that there isn’t a lot in the way of flavor transitions. In the end, this is a cigar I would definitely recommend to any cigar enthusiast. As for myself, this is a cigar I would certainly buy and smoke again.
Key Flavors: Coffee, Cedar, Earth, Pepper, Herbal Notes
Complexity: Low to Medium
Finish: Very Good
Value: Buy One
News: La Galera 85th Anniversary Introduced at 2021 PCA Trade Show
Brand Reference: La Galera
Photo Credits: Cigar Coop