Cigar Czars


La Palina Cigars from William C. Paley

Video & Cigar Review By: Gary Manelski

Bill Paley of La Palina Cigars not only knows a lot about cigars, he also knows a thing or three about broadcasting. Bill's grandfather established the La Palina brand of cigars back in 1896. The cigar was retired in 1926, and Bill reintroduced the brand in 2010. And by the way, Bill's father was the founder of the Columbia Broadcasting Company (CBS).

At The Great Smoke cigar event on February 21, 2015, I had an opportunity to talk briefly with Bill Paley about his La Palina brand of cigars, and he agreed to record this short video. I also asked Bill if he would like to make some comments about Brian Williams , who was suspended from his job as anchor and managing editor of the NBC Nightly News, apparently for embellishing some of his news reports. Although not directly related to cigars, I think that the comments made by Bill Paley (CBS) about Brian Williams (NBC) in the below video will be of great interest to our viewers.

Review of La Palina Black Label Cigar

La Palina Black Label Cigar

At The Great Smoke, Bill Paley was handing out La Palina Black Label Robusto (5 x 52) cigars to attendees. Black Label is a bold cigar made with a blend of Dominican and Nicaraguan filler and binder tobaccos, along with a Brazilian wrapper. I found the smoke to be full bodied, having a deep rich tobacco flavor with a hint of pepper and spice. The smoke became a bit smoother after about 15 minutes, with less pepper and more of an earthy and leathery flavor that was still full, and becoming a little stronger. This is a gourmet cigar meant for connoisseurs, and not for beginners.

The cigar had firm draw that was not too tight, and held a long ash. The burn was relatively even, but a couple of touch-up lights were applied during the 40 minutes that it took me to smoke the cigar down to 2 1/2 inches remaining. No relights were necessary.

The price of a La Palina Black Label Robusto is about $10 per stick, which is more expensive than Bill Paley's go-to cigar disclosed in the above video, the La Palina Classic Lancero. I reviewed the La Palina Classic Robusto on back in 2013, and enjoyed it more than the Black Label. The Classic is a medium bodied cigar that would also appeal to mainstream and newer cigar smokers, and not just to connoisseurs. I rate the Black Label with 4 points, but the Classic deserves a superior rating of 4.25 points on a 5-point scale.