Cigar Review: La Palina TAA 2016 by La Palina Cigar Company


La Palina TAA 2016 by La Palina Cigar Company

La Palina Cigar Company is stepping into the realm of TAA exclusive and limited edition cigars with its induction into the Tobacconist’s Association of America. La Palina’s TAA 2016 cigar was first publicly introduced in 2016 at the annual TAA meeting in Puerta Vallarta, Mexico, where several retailers that make up the Tobacconist’s Association of America met with manufacturers to discuss different TAA exclusive blends and cigar industry news. Sole TAA approved cigars are only available and sold by TAA member retailers.

The cigar, dubbed as “Bill’s Blend” has been rolled for the past few years just for the personal smoking pleasure of La Palina’s owner, William C. “Bill” Paley. Now being made for the public’s enjoyment, it is rolled here in the United States of America at the El Titan de Bronze factory in the Little Havana neighborhood located in Miami, FL, which is also the same factory that the Goldie, Mr. Sam, and the Family Series Miami cigars come from.

La Palina was originally created by Samuel Paley, Bill’s grandfather, in 1896 after opening his own cigar factory in Chicago (later moving to Philadelphia in 1910) called Congress Cigar Company. After 30 years of creating cigars, Samuel retired from the business in 1926 taking Congress Cigar Company and La Palina with him. In 2010, Bill Paley went back to his family’s tobacco roots reviving the La Palina brand and bringing back his grandfather’s creation.

The La Palina TAA 2016 cigar comes in only a 6X50 Toro size and features an Ecuadorian Habana wrapper, an Ecuadorian binder, and fillers from the Dominican Republic and Nicaragua. It has been released as a limited edition cigar with just 1,000 boxes of 20 cigars produced with a retail price of $10.99 per cigar.

“‘Bill’s Blend’ is proudly hand-rolled in the United States of America, in Little Havana Miami. We are wonderfully pleased by this cigar. ‘Bill’s Blend’ highlights La Palina’s commitment to the brick and mortar side of our business, and is the essence of ‘Made in America.’”
-Bill Paley

The Review

Immediately extracting the La Palina TAA 2016 from its cellophane prison, I’m getting nuances of wood and dry tobacco from the wrapper leaf. From the foot of the cigar, I’m smelling the same aromas with a more sweetened tang to it. It appears to be in perfect condition. There are veins visible on the light brown wrapper, but hardly noticeable upon the touch. The seams are tight and almost smooth as my fingers slide around the cigar. It’s soft when I give it a gentle squeeze without being too soft. It has just a little give. There are two separate bands on the cigar. The main band is a portrait of Ms. Goldie with a black/white background. This is surrounded by an outer edge of very small light red/white vertical lines. There is then a second outer edge of golden art surrounding the inner image. Finally, it is all outlined in a dark blue hue on the outside edge. Within the golden artwork, on top of the main portrait, are the words “La Palina” in the same dark blue hue as the outlined color. On the bottom of the portrait, also etched in the golden artwork in the dark blue shade, is “est 1896.” Flanking the main photo on the band and making its way around the rest of the band are several golden fluer de lis with a dark red background and very small horizontal black/gold lines moving across it. Above and below this is what appears to be a white mesh background outlined by an initial gold color with the dark blue on the outermost edge. The secondary band is a very simple looking one. It appears to have a white mesh all the way around with “TAA 2016” on the front in large font. It it outlined with a dark red color and the outermost edge is of the dark blue color.

I used my normal straight cut, which went without a hitch with minimal loose tobacco falling. The cut was effortless and smooth. The dry draw is bringing notes of dry wood and sweet tobacco to my palate. Let’s light her up now, shall we.

Once I toast and light the La Palina TAA 2016, there are flavors of dried wood initially. Slowly moving into the first third, there are notes of dried fruit starting to play a role in this smoke. The ash is building into a nice white hue. The burn-line is smooth for the most part. There is one small piece that is burning just a little slower. I think it’ll catch up though. At about the halfway point of this initial part of the cigar their isn’t any flavor changes coming to my palate. Maybe later in the smoke their will be a nice surprise. The retro-hale is nice and smooth with no burn to the nostrils. I’m also getting some wood on the retro-hale. The ash is still hanging in there as it burns closer to the middle part of the stick. The burn-line is starting to even itself out, too. The flavors linger lightly on the palate long after each puff. So far, this has been a nice smooth medium strength cigar with medium flavor smoke. Although their hasn’t been a myriad of flavors, the dried wood and dried fruit are tasty with this cigar. The smoke coming off the foot has a burnt wood aroma to it. Closing out this initial third, the burn-time was 25 minutes.

Moving into the second piece of the cigar, the ash is still holding on to the foot. The burn-line has evened itself out nicely at this point. Well, the ash fell JUST into this second third. The smoke is light in my mouth with a low temperature. There is a creaminess coming into the profile around the halfway mark of the cigar. The dried wood is still the leading flavor with the dried fruit behind it. The ash is growing again with the same white tint to it. There are no flavors left behind on the lips. Although their are still no big flavor changes, it’s still an enjoyable smoke. The burn-line continues to burn nicely with a smooth burn around the circumference of the cigar. About a half an inch from the final sector of this exclusive smoke the second ash lost its grip from the foot and fell to the ground. The retro-hale is still nice and smooth with no burn and continues to bring those woody notes from the first third. This second third has had a burn-time of 45 minutes.

Burning into the final section of the La Palina TAA 2016, there hasn’t been any flavor changes yet. The dried wood is still leading the flavor profile with dried fruit behind it and the creaminess is still in the game as well. The cigar also hasn’t moved from its medium body and medium flavor description. Nevertheless, this has been a nice morning smoke to start off my day. The third ash is once again burning a nice white color. The burn-line is also spot-on around the cigar. There is still no flavor left on the lips after each puff. This cigar has presented a nice, smooth, and effortless draw throughout the smoking experience. About halfway through this last part of the stick it is becoming full flavored while remaining medium in strength. The final ash fell about halfway through this final part of the stick. The final burn-time for this last third was 35 minutes. I smoked this cigar till I started to burn my finger. Their was only about an inch left of the cigar.

“Bill’s Blend” was a really nice smoke to have in the morning. I thoroughly enjoyed the smooth, rich flavors of dried wood, dried fruit, and the creaminess that was present in the profile. It had a great, smooth draw as well. It was a lengthy smoke at 1 hour and 45 minutes. During this time, there were no touch-ups or re-lights needed. The burn-line evened itself out nicely after a small part burned a little slower at the beginning. It held itself together very well with it’s great construction. It had a nice low temperature until the burn-line started to hit my finger at the end. I’d recommend trying this limited edition cigar if you haven’t already. I found it to be quite a pleasant cigar to smoke. I think the La Palina TAA 2016 is deserving of a rating of 93. Let me know what you think of this exclusive blend. Till next time, my friends.

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