Country of Origin: Honduras
Factory: Fabrica de Tobacos Raices Cubanas
Wrapper: Honduran Corojo ’99 Rosado
Binder: Honduran Criollo ’98 (x2)
Filler: Nicaraguan Corojo ’99 and Criollo ’98
Size: Toro- 6 x 50
Through a little research, I discovered that Alan Rubin, of Alec Bradley, was an active partner in blending the El Diario line. And as a consultant, he helped guide the outcome of this blend. William Paley wanted La Palina to be a medium bodied, full flavored cigar. It was to be rich, earthy, and meaty.
The other lines of La Palina (The Family Series) are made by Graycliff. This would explain the hefty cost of the cigars. Thankfully, the prices have come down on that series. A year ago, when I first reviewed the Pasha, it was going for $30. Now they can be had for around $20 each. That's a sizeable chunk.
The El Diario (“The Daily”) was blended to be La Palina’s everyday cigar. Of course, that description depends on your wallet and what you consider an everyday cigar. Most cigar smokers will revel in the fact that a La Palina can be had at $10. But the majority of smokers will deem this a treat, rather than an everyday cigar.
The exotic mixtures of Honduran and Nicaraguan tobaccos are designed to make this a sweet and spicy cigar.
The Honduran Rosado wrapper was blended to work hand in hand with the spicy Nicaraguan Corojo and Criollo fillers. The double binders from Honduras were ensconced to create a Yin-Yang balance.
The Rosado wrapper gives the cigar a nice reddish brown hue. Construction is beautiful. Solid, without soft spots and very few veins. The cap is a work of art.
I sniff the stick and get a strong tobacco smell. Beneath that, is a sweet raisin and cocoa blend. Especially, at the foot.
As I expected, lighting the toro up was a spectacular moment. It’s no secret that I am a big fan of this entire line. So unless someone stuck a banana peel in my cigar, this will be a positive review…how positive? Let’s see.
That first blast was all tobacco and sweetness. A deep earthiness. No other cigar starts like this line. The burn starts off impeccably. Huge clouds of smoke shove through the foot like a pressurized steam vessel.
Flavors are Ceylon cinnamon…floral notes. Sweet, sweet, sweet. That raisin profile is typical of this line. In the back of the throat is cocoa.
A red pepper spice rears itself half an inch in. I like that it builds rather than getting a spice blast at the beginning.
Toros are my favorite size. The only issue I have with them is that they take a bit longer to rest, or age, than the smaller sized sticks.
So far, this is a hearty cigar. All that Corojo and Criollo are doing their job nicely by doing a slow burn.
I begin to get a small erratic burn line. It’s not much and I hope it corrects itself without my help.
The spiciness is beginning to build. But the leading flavor is a fruity sweetness. I can’t tell what it is. Discerning fruit as a flavor is a very subjective thing. One guy tastes raisins and the other, prunes. All I can say at this point, is that is definitely some kind of dried fruit. One way to help discover the origin, is by taking a big puff, swirl the smoke in your mouth, expel, and then take a small sip of water. Water will bring the flavor to a bolder status.
As I begin the second third, spice is the prevalent taste. The expected creaminess shows up. On the retrohale, the spice is like a whole big bunch of Scoville Units.
The char line is back to perfect without help from me.
I’ve smoked, and reviewed, the robusto, the Kill Bill, and the torpedo. The paperwork that came with the samples from Courtney at La Palina state there is a Churchill (7 x 50) and a Gordo (6 x 58). I have not tried those yet.
But I’m going out on a limb and stating that the toro is now my favorite size of the 3 I’ve smoked. It’s heartier. While the others had very similar characteristics, the toro seems to exemplify a bigger and better version. Flavors are deeper and richer.
The body is described as medium, and I concur.
This is my first cigar of the day and it’s going down well. I had my Grape Nuts gravel for breakfast. I wasn’t sure if the cigar might be too strong for my first of the day…but it’s perfectly on target.
As I pass through the second third, I get the same flavors as in the second third. Only now, they are in Cinemascope. Big and wide…like me.
The last third is a monument to flavor over strength. The creaminess, the spice, the delightful sweetness, a hash of cocoa, and other subtle tobacco flavors are just screaming for their place at the head of the line. The complexity is pure joy
Again, I want to thank the kind folks at La Palina, especially Courtney Smith, for the samples. They make a hell of a line of blends and it’s an honor to be allowed to be a small part of that.