Photo Courtesy of La Palina CigarsFor those interested in luxury cigar brands and the stories behind them, La Palina Cigars may be familiar to you. The company first got its start in 1896 in Chicago by Samuel Paley and has since gone through many incarnations over the years, with owners finding lasting careers in radio advertising and undergoing a brief hiatus. Regardless of where the company was, it seemed dedicated to family and tradition, ultimately returning in 2010 with a number of choice collections worth taking a look at: the "Family Series," the "Goldie," and "El Diario."
The company is currently being run by Bill Paley, the son of William S. Paley and grandson of Sam Paley. William had jumped on board around 1910 and when he decided to advertise the company via radio, he found himself sucked into the world of broadcasting, which is what had led to the company's break. In June of 2010 Bill decided that it was time for La Palina to be resurrected, re-launching the company with the "1896" cigar series, fittingly in dedication to his grandfather.
According to the brand, in bringing the company back Bill was driven to create the perfect luxury cigar for his family's retreat in the Bahamas, wanting to do his family legacy justice and keep with the signature Paley style. He's constantly striving to bring cigars that feature easy draws and burns, flawless construction, and unwavering quality.
Due to the deep familial ties within La Palina, we love the story behind the "Goldie." The cigar was named after Bill Paley's grandmother, Goldie Paley (who is also the namesake of the entire Paley brand and it's her face featured on every cigar wrapper), and is a limited edition with only 1,000 boxes available. Each box is numbered and costs $150, with a single cigar costing $15. La Palina offers the "Goldie" as a respectful nod to the accomplishments and contributions of women throughout history. Not only that, but the company also promises it is the first cigar to be entirely brought to market by women, with a woman's flair for detail and craftsmanship.
Cigars are often thought of as a male-dominated realm of leisure and La Palina is going against that assumption. The "Goldie" is not only named after a woman but the project is overseen by Sandy Cobas and rolled by master Maria Sierra. According to La Palina, Sierra is "a 95 rated, category 9 roller trained by Fidel Castroís personal roller Eduardo Rivera Irizarri, as well as Avelino Lara, the creator of the legendary Cohiba blend." In terms of the cigar's style, the "Goldie" is finished with a fan cap and blended with Medio Tiempo leaf, which is apparently only found on ten percent of tobacco plants.
The "Family Series" features four luxury cigars that are each named after members of Bill's family. The Babe is named after Bill's mother, Barbara "Babe" Cushing Paley, who was a fashion icon and socialite. According to La Palina, Babe was on the best-dressed list 14 times before finally being entered into the Fashion Hall of Fame in 1958. The Babe, along with the Pasha (named for William Paley), are wrapped "with a delicately flavored Costa Rican capa. This mild-to-medium bodied blend is well balanced with a light and creamy taste that has a hint of both spice and sweetness on the finish."
The Alison (dedicated to Bill's wife) and the Little Bill (representing Bill Paley himself) both have an Ecuadorian wrapper that La Palina promises brings a perfumed velvety feeling. They also say these two cigars are naturally fermented with an aged ligero filler, combining to bring you a smooth smoke with spicy notes.
Lastly, "El Diario" line seems too good to not mention. A straight-forward blend, the company ensures it embodies sweet characteristics of the Honduran rosado wrapper that compliment the "spicy Nicaraguan corojo and criollo filler." Many of the cigars in "El Diario" have been rated incredibly high, with all of them receiving 90's or better. The Robusto was given a 94 by Cigar Journal and was also listed amongst their Top 25 Cigar Picks in 2011. K.B. and Gordo have received a rating of 93 by Cigar Aficionado and Smoke Magazine, with the rest also receiving top marks.
For more information visit LaPalinaCigars.com.