Posted by Jack | in La Palina | on 05 Dec 2013 | at 10:57 AM | 2139 views
The La Palina story, in case you haven't read, is a really neat family affair.  Samuel Paley founded the La Palina brand back in 1896.  After many years of success, Sam retired in 1926 and closed up shop.  His family resurrected things in 2009.  Since then, La Palina has become known for incredible quality high-end boutique cigars.  On the list of cigars that I have been wanting to try this year, La Palina has been at the top of my list for a while now.  They are not available in my area yet, so I resorted to an online purchase this time. For my first foray into the La Palina brand, I chose the limited release, Mr. Sam, named after the founder.  I am itching to get this thing fired up.  Here we go....
Construction: This is a perfectly constructed cigar.  The wrapper is nearly veinless with a red-brown color and a perfect triple cap.  For a small robusto it is heavy in the hand as well.  Always a good sign.
Pre-light Aroma and Draw: Out of the cellophane, I get some lovely soft spice and sweet tobacco aromas.  The draw is absolutely spot-on perfect.
Light and Burn: The light was one of the easiest I have experienced in a while.  Two matches and I had a perfect fire going.  The burn was almost 100% perfect but I did experience a couple of hot spots that self corrected.
Tasting: Starting off, the Sam is Mr. smooth.  I get a nice rich sweet leather and oak that mixes together well.
The first third has a very unusual sugary flavor that reminds me of Agave.  It's not in your face, but it is quite notable.    There are notes of red pepper, cedar, roasted nuts, and leather in there as well.  Simply mind blowing so far.  I knew this cigar would be good, but this cigar goes to eleven.
The middle third gives some sweet caramel and vanilla on the palate with that delicious agave sugar and oak.  The core still has some rich leathery notes but it is not as overpowering as many leathery flavored smokes I have had this year.  There is a very nice note of pepper in there as well but again, not overpowering.  The blending on this cigar is just stellar.
The last third continues the same delicious blend from the prior thirds with a ramp up in pepper and oak.  While not super powerful in terms of body, Sam is easily full flavored.  Enjoyable to the nub.
Value: At $13 the Mr. Sam is a pricey little fellow.  It is well worth the coin, however.  Considering the limited availability  of this little guy, I would suggest grabbing a few and sitting on them for years.
Final Thoughts: Well, I can say that I have had a La Palina now.  Was it worth the wait?  Absolutely.  The Mr. Sam really impressed me.  As I finish this review, I am nursing the nub and I can't bring myself to put it out.  If that isn't the mark of a great cigar, I don't know what is.  I highly recommend this terrific cigar.
Wrapper: Ecuadorian Habano
Size: 4.75 x 54
Gorgeous Mr. Sam.
I love the La Palina band.  So elegant and classy.
All that remains of my shattered major award.
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