La Barba Purple

9-19-14

La Barba Purple Lancero (7x 38)

Wrapper: Havana Vuelta Abajo Equadorian Habano

Binder: Dominican Corojo

Filler: Dominican Corojo, Havana Vuelta Abajo Habano, Dominican Carbonell

Blenders: Tony Bellatto, Craig Rossi, Robert Caldwell

La Barba Purple is the sophomore release for the La Barba brand. The original release (Red) garnered the number 5 spot in this site’s top reviews of 2013 with a score of 9.4 of 10. Though there are a few changes to the brand since the initial release, the spirit of the brand is fully intact.

The 2013 release featured the likes of Christian Eiroa and was produced in the Wynwood Cigar Factory in Miami. This time around Tony Bellatto and Craig Rossi teamed up with Robert Caldwell of the Caldwell Cigar Co. and William Ventura of Tabacalera William Ventura (the same factory that both Caldwell Cigars and Rodrigo Cigars are produced). Caldwell and Bellatto have collaborated previous to this blend. The Impromptu line of cigars was blended by the pair featuring rare tobaccos in extremely small runs.

The theme of rare tobaccos continues in La Barba Purple. Included in the blend is a rare tobacco leaf known as Carbonell. This leaf takes its name from the family that has been growing the leaf in small quantities for about 100 years. The leaf is said to have mild and smooth textures with a robust aroma. It is one of the Dominican’s better kept secrets.

La Barba Purple is a good looking cigar. The silver and purple color scheme applied to the original styling of the La Barba band yields an elegant presentation. It is bold but not over done. The vein structure is evenly spaced with none of them dominating the surface of the cigar. The seams are evident, giving the wrapper a thick look. This is accentuated by the triple cap. The feel of the wrapper says otherwise. The seams are unnoticeable to the touch, a sign of good construction.

DSCN0049

The wrapper is soft to the touch almost like a velvet. Its unlit bouquet is a strong woody barnyard. The lick on the cap is oily with a hint at sour and a bit of spice. Cut with a double guillotine. The draw is near perfect on resistance, only slightly to the tight side. This cold draw has an earth and licorice quality to it. The tobacco brings a spice to the lips that seems to linger.

Light with a soft flame.

The first few puffs are mildly sweet in vaguely caramelized sugar way. The undertones are an undefined umami, maybe it leans to a black tea. There is a pepper note that fades in and lingers long on the finish. Through the nose there is a heavy spice that overpowers what wants to be a wood impression.

As the cigar settles in, a more wood note takes over. There are still black tea/umami undertones with a very light caramel style sweetness to it, but the focus is more to the wood side of things. All of the spice seems to hit later in the puff and is most defined on the finish. It is a good white pepper in both flavor and spice level.

The middle third brings a tighter draw. The flavors are still abundant and the firmer draw is not ideal but it is still very enjoyable. The flavors have shifted to more of the sweeter caramel notes with the wood taking a back seat. The cigar is very smooth on the palate. All of the spice takes place on the retrohale and dropping off in the finish. This middle third has a cleaner finish than the previous third with a very light white pepper and a new found wood note that was covered by the pepper in the first third. This combination of wood and caramelized sugar is fairly unique; most likely the Carbonell’s sweetness coming through.

This particular cigar is not conducive to a slow smoking style. The vitola and blend seem to go out if not puffed on at a decent pace. There is no room to set it down and forget about it for a few minutes. Needless to say, during the middle third a complete relight is needed. This is the only burn issue. Beyond that the burn is even and self correcting when it does stray a touch.

The final third has more pepper all around. It is still distinctly white pepper. It is warm and inviting. It slowly cannibalizes other flavors. The first to go is the black tea/umami flavor that is now delegated to live only late on the finish. The next to go is the wood flavors. The transition is slow and seamless.

The cigar ends this way. A nice warm spice on the palate with a longer pepper finish.

Burn to the nub

time 2hours 5 minutes.

Burn: 9

Draw: 9

Taste: 9

Aftertaste: 9

Construction: 9

Balance: 10

Feel: 9

overall: 9.1

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~ by kuzi16 on September 22, 2014.

One Response to “La Barba Purple”

  1. Thank you for the write up!

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