Posted by Jack | in La Palina | on 26 Apr 2014 | at 4:09 PM | 2313 views
Being handed a bag of La Palina cigars to sample and review is like Santa handing me his whole sack of presents.  The top shelf Family Series Alison is the last of that amazing lot and I have been waiting for the right moment to try it out.  Today, with sunny mid seventies weather over the top of Dayton, I decided the time was right.  I did some research and found that the Alison is made in the Graycliff factory in the Bahamas.  Now, I will admit that the Graycliff Professionale is one of my all time favorites so knowing the cigar up for review is made in the same factory got my interest up to maximum.  Let's see how the last of my samples smokes, shall we?
Construction: The red-brown mottled and fairly veiny wrapper leaf is very thick on this cigar.  Just moving it around in my hands you can tell it is a dense and heavy cigar.
Pre-light Aroma and Draw: One of the La Palina lines that are not wrapped in cellophane, the Alison gives off a very unique blend of pepper, leather, and rich paprika.  Easily one of the most unique smelling cigars I have come across.  The draw seems a bit stiff at first but it opens up perfectly as the cigar progresses.
Light and Burn: I had to steal away to the garden shed to light this cigar - the many times mentioned wind around here is in full force today.  The burn is perfect and I had a full two inches of ash before gravity forced it to drop.
Tasting: Starting off, the Alison is very rich and earthy with some leathery spice in there for added measure.  I will be honest...it reminds me very much of a Cuban Partagas.  I get notes of heavy tobacco, minerals, bittersweet chocolate, a minor amount of cinnamon, and some black cherry.  Very complex so far.  I still am having flashbacks to a terrific Cuban Partagas pyramid I smoked many years ago that just blew me away.  High praise for the Alison so far.  It is an exceptionally rich flavored cigar.  I am going to say medium body so far but the density of the flavors makes it seem full tilt.
The second third shows a bit more leather and cedar.  There is still a massive richness to this cigar.  More cinnamon, some coffee, and a floral note shows up as well.  Most of the time a floral note in a cigar is very light and orange blossom in nature but this one is more like a marigold because of the richness of the flavors mixed in.  Dense.  Lush.  This is one fine cigar, folks.  Meant to be savored not just smoked.  Notes of honey, vanilla, and chocolate lay underneath a heavy cedar core as this section of the cigar burns through.
The final third gives off a creaminess with more cedar and a slight touch off roasted nuts.  It finishes long and rich and delicious.  The floral note tones down to that orange blossom note that I have really learned to love in some of the finer cigars I have tried in recent months. I will go out of a limb here - basically because I rarely drink - and say this cigar would pair well with a nice red wine...Merlot, Zinfandel, maybe a bottle of Coppola Claret.  It has a very woody profile after the first third that reminds me of the notes in wine.  Truly an exceptional cigar.
Value: At $22, the Alison is quite pricey.  Granted, it is made at the Graycliff factory which is one of the more prestigious factories around - a factory known for quality since day one.  If you are looking to splurge for a special occasion, this one would easily do the trick.
Final Thoughts: Every La Palina I smoke is better than the one before it.  I am trying to rank them in my head.... While the Classic is great, the Kill Bill fantastic, and the Mr. Sam off the charts, the Alison is even more unique than the others.  It is truly one for the ages.  Loads of complexity and unparalleled construction make this one of the best I have had in a long time.  While the price may scare some away, I urge you to save up and get one of these instead of the Padron or Opus the next time you want a celebration cigar.  Highly recommended and then some.
Wrapper: Ecuadorian Habano
Binder: Costa Rican
Filler: Nicaraguan, Honduran
Size: 6 x 52 pyramid
Gorgeous pyramid shape....
Classy and elegant design on the band....
Mt. St. Helens ash!
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