Cigar Review – La Palina El Diario Robusto
Originally founded in Chicago by Samuel Paley in 1896, the La Palina brand was resurrected in 2010 by Samuel’s grandson, Bill Paley, for the purpose of creating a luxury cigar for the Lightbourne House, the Paley family’s retreat in the Bahamas. That cigar was the Limited Edition 1896 Robusto, which was quickly followed by the “Family Series”, both of which were very successful, super-premium stogies. Their latest release, the El Diario, is the first cigar from the brand to be produced at the Raices Cubanas factory in Honduras. El Diario, which translates to “The Daily”, was intended to be just that- a reasonably-priced stogie that you can enjoy every day of the week. Today I decided to fire up the Robusto to see whether or not, in fact, this cigar had that “anytime” appeal it was aiming for.
The stogie had a rustic look and feel to it, sporting a very mottled and veiny, reddish-brown Honduran Corojo 99’ Rosado wrapper. Construction-wise, the cigar seemed solid, no soft spots or any other defects were present upon inspection. Pre-light tasting notes were scarce on this one, though I got a slightly sweet, cedary scent off of the wrapper, and a vague, dry cedar taste on the cold draw. Intrigued, I put the flame to the foot.
The cigar’s initial flavor was grassy and nutty, with some white pepper on the finish. The draw was a lot tighter than I would have liked, but I still managed to pull a good amount of smoke through with a little effort. The stick was burning straight and clean, with a thick “black eyeliner” burn line separating the stogie from its fluffy grey ash. A little further in, the pepper intensified a bit before giving way to lush notes of cedar and cream.
The 2nd third introduced a new smoothness, with pronounced notes of earth and hay playing nicely off of the woody and creamy vibe. The stick also continued to provide a healthy, although subtle dose of pepper in each puff. A slightly crooked burn corrected itself quickly, and the stogie kept burning nice and cool.
In the final third of the cigar, an earthy sort-of syrupy sweetness kicked in that reminded me of the taste of cola. Also, the pepper note changed its color dramatically, morphing into more of a mild red pepper flavor. This last part of the cigar struck me as the most interesting in terms of taste, kind of like drinking a Pepsi with some crushed red pepper in it through a cedar straw. While that may not sound very appetizing, you’ll have to trust me when I tell you it was a nice taste on this cigar.
All in all, the La Palina El Diario definitely passed my “anytime-smoke” test. Its straight-forward, consistent flavors were easily read and enjoyable during the entire smoke, and I could imagine pairing a number of different beverages with the cigar, from dark coffee to a stout beer. Worth mentioning is the fact that even at the very end of the cigar the flavors stayed clean and vivid, which is indicative of the high-quality tobaccos used in the blend. As far as performance is concerned, the stogie gave me very few problems, save for a couple minor burn issues. My final grade for this stogie is a well-deserved B+, as anyone would be fortunate to have El Diario as their “daily” smoke.
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