Wrapper: HVA (Habana Vuelta Abajo Ecuador)
Binder: Dominican Corojo
Filler: Corojo, HVA Habano, and a rare varietal known as Carbonell.
Size: 5.75 x 46 “Corona Gorda”
Price: $9.00 (From Cigar Federation 10% off = $8.10)
Today we take a look at the La Barba Purple.
And for those not fluent in Spanish, La Barba translates to “The beard”.
From Cigar.com web site:
“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.”
The Purple was released in September of this year.
The La Barba guys released the La Barba Red, their first blend, in 2013 and was a big hit. It was produced in Honduras.
The La Barba Purple comes in 5 sizes:
Robusto: 5 x 50
Corona Gorda: 5 3/4 x 46
Toro: 6 x 54
Magnum: 6 x 60
Lancero: 7 x 38
And prices range between $8.00 to $12.00.
As you can see in my photos, the wrapper shimmers like sunlight. It is near flawless. Tight seams, a minimal amount of veins, a perfect triple cap, and a silky smooth wrapper. The cigar band is catchy with its classic design and retro look.
I clip the cap and find aromas of spice, sweetness, nougat, caramel, cedar, and hay.
Time to light up.
At first, the flavors are a bit on the neutral side but quickly remedied by black pepper, cocoa, rich earthiness, orange blossom, and then BAM! The black pepper becomes red pepper and smacks me like Scarlett O’Hara smacked Clark Gable. (Fade in the music)
The La Barba Purple is a stout and hearty stick. Solid, baby. Two snaps up. While it may be the smallish Corona, methinks I’m in for a long ride.
A bit of salty pretzel forms. There are other flavors but the unique blend has them at arm’s reach for the moment. I swear I can taste fried chicken. I must be losing it.
There is some graham cracker, brown sugar, cream, a bit of coffee, raw ginger, something citrus, and cedar.
The blend is nothing like I’ve tasted. It rests weary on my brain when a flavor profile stumps me.
The cream and the orange blossom remind me of a childhood popsicle: the Creamsicle. Vanilla ice cream on a stick covered in orange flavored popsicle. You really had to be in the mood for one of those because the orange popsicle would begin to come apart too quickly and messily like Keanu Reeves, in the lab, when he landed on earth.
While most of the flavors seem to revolve around sweet factors, there is a savory quality to balance things out. A campfire meatiness.
I noticed on the Cigar Federation web site that the La Barba Purple Corona is called out at 5.5 x 44. But on the La Barba web site, they call it 5.5 x 46. I measure it and am going with the people who produced it.
The flavor profile makes a big shift at the 1-3/4” burned mark. Just about the start of the second third. Flavors are exuberant. Their gnarly little fingers reach out in a needy way to get my attention. The creaminess is very strong. The red pepper has waned a bit but is still potent. There is graham cracker, nougat, nuts, toastiness, orange blossom floral notes, caramel, café latte, cedar, a deep rich earthiness and a mineral taste from the soil.
The first third was merely kick starting the La Barba Purple.
The price point. It is hard to be judgmental on a new boutique brand. Even with important friends to help them, costs are going to be over and above the norm.
$9.00 for the La Barba Purple is not necessarily too much. The leaf stats are unique. The flavor profile is very unique in its character and nuance. Yet, it has not reached the coveted flavor bomb status. Yet. The balance is nice. There is a semi-long finish.
A smokiness becomes prevalent.
My exercise in not chomping fails miserably and I clip the cap so you don’t need an airsick bag.
I haven’t smacked my lips this much since I saw my first nude photo of a woman as a young boy.
I’m all slathered up. The flavors are as listed but there are more that come from the interesting tobacco leaves used in the blend. The normal flavors have been tweaked to boggle the mind. And it takes very little to boggle this mind. Ask my high school teachers.
The floral notes are exquisite. The sweetness is scrumptious. The savory items are down and dirty. In its own exclusive category, the La Barba Purple is a flavor bomb.
The char line goes wonky on me. Just won’t relent. I’ve had to touch it up a number of times. Not good for a $9 stick. I expect better.
I am at the halfway point.
No change in flavors or in the spectral line.
The chocolate, nuts, and toastiness have moved forward a short bit after I wrote that last sentence.
The La Barba Purple seems more complete now. It is an official flavor bomb.
The last half is sweet spot.
Now I see why this is a $9 stick. Besides that it is a new blend from a new brand. The attention taken to blend this cigar must have been a head knocker. I would have like to have been a fly on the wall while they discussed blending options.
I must admit, I had never heard of Carbonell before. But then I live in Milwaukee. Cheese and brats. But no Carbonell.
The La Barba Purple has been a slow smoke. It has taken 45 minutes to get to the halfway point.
This is why I pound away at small is good. I rant and piss and moan about how I hate those big redwood trees. First, they don’t have the flavor intensity of a corona or a robusto. And second, they take hours to smoke.
And yet dear readers, that is what some followers send me over and over again. They don’t want them so they send them to me. I generally just donate them to Cigars for Warriors where they will be truly appreciated; unlike me who has a disdain for them. It’s just my style, that’s all. They wouldn’t make Gordos, or bigger, if there weren’t a customer base for them. I will take a Corona nine out of ten times. Plus, I prefer a smoke last no longer than 90 minutes. I must have ADHD because I get bored with a cigar if it is longer than that.
I take a sip of water and there is a flavor explosion.
The La Barba Purple has moved to Flavor Bomb 2.0. What a fantastic cigar!
I guarantee that the Magnum in this line doesn’t have half the character as this corona.
I’m just dying from joy now.
One last time: Cream, caramel, chocolate, nuts, toastiness, orange blossom, cedar, brown sugar, and café latte.
I recommend the La Barba Purple but there is a hesitancy. The char line has been miserable since the start of the second half. It even goes out on me once.
The upside of the big ring gauge stick is that you can generally put it down for a while and come back to a lit cigar.
I am disappointed that the char line goes wild.
The nicotine is really hammering it home now.
The strength hits medium/full.
I only bought one La Barba Purple. I had to use the donated money wisely. And at $9 a stick, it seemed prudent to buy only one.
So I don’t know if I just got an errant stick. Or they are all like this…with the char line issues.
I recommend the La Barba Purple because it isn’t fair to judge it on just one stick for its failings. If I were a rich man, I would have gotten a 5 pack. That is the only fair way to judge the construction.
If you go to Cigar Federation to snag some, tell them the Katman sent you.
John “Hawk” Larson is a good kid. Katie made a good choice. He is on the Milwaukee PD SWAT Team.
The kid and I talk to each other on a very superficial fashion. I don’t know why. It is what it is. I try to make a connection but the kid harbors something against me and won’t tell me what it is.
Katie is our only kid and we spoiled her rotten growing up. But we moved around a lot as new job opportunities arose for me in construction management. That is the only thing she has thrown in my face. I try to reason with her and tell her there are millions of kids, now adults, who grew up the same way. Either because pop was in construction like me or were military brats and they turned out just fine.
But now, she considers Milwaukee home. She met her fiancé here.
She called to say she was bringing over a gift.
We sat down and I saw it. A cat carrier. Oh God no.
She brought us a 5 month old Russian Blue. Just like the one we had for 19 years.
Katie knew I was depressed and thought I would enjoy this and would bring some happiness into my life. Yeah, right. One more thing to be responsible for.
I was furious. You don’t give someone an animal without talking to them first. We have her dog that she dumped on us because her fiancée didn’t want it when she moved in with him. Ebba is a good dog. A boxer. And I love her to death.
But goddam it…a new cat?
We had to change our sleeping arrangements last night. The dog sleeps on the bed with us. That wouldn’t work.
So I slept in another bedroom with the cat. Closed the door. And since the cat is young, he kept me up half the night because every time I moved my legs or feet, he played with them. And he isn’t declawed. So it woke me up.
During our 30 year marriage, we’ve had lots of cats and a few dogs. And each time one died, Charlotte and I cried for days. I didn’t want this again. I didn’t want the boxer but there was no place for her to go.
I made the comment to Katie that I didn’t want to experience another animal dying on us. She said, “He won’t die on you. You are….uh….uh…”
What she meant to say is that the cat will probably outlive me. But she caught herself before she said it.
I was forced to get up early this morning. 7am. I know, I know. When I worked, early for me was 3:30-4:00am. Being in construction meant you got up early even if you were management.
Here is what always happens. We get an animal I don’t want. It grows on me and becomes my pet. More so than Charlotte’s. I dote on it. I learn to love it.
So when an illness or accident takes it down, it destroys me.
I guess I don’t have any say in this newest matter just like before.
The cat is cute and I will learn to love it.
The no kill shelter where she got it named it Sebastian. Who the hell names a cat Sebastian?
It’s young enough for us to change its name. We’ve done it before.
So now we have a new cat named Shmuel. You laugh. It is the Hebrew for Samuel.
שְׁמוּאֵל This is in case you want to email me and ask how the cat is.
I love Katie to death. She is my little girl and always will be. And the last to carry the Kohn genes. There is no one left. Being a remnant of the Holocaust really fucked up my blood line.
Maybe Shmuel will carry it on too.
Categories: CIGAR REVIEWS