La Palina Bronze Label | Cigar Reviews by the Katman

Wrapper: Honduran Habano
Binder: Honduran
Filler: Honduran, Nicaraguan
Size: 5.5 x 50 Robusto
Strength: Medium
Price: $9.00 MSRP

Today we take a look at the La Palina Bronze Label.

From Cigar Aficionado:
“What was once an exclusive cigar for members of the Tobacconists’ Association of America (TAA) is now a full-production brand available to all retailers. The La Palina Bronze Label has expanded to three sizes and will hit cigar shops next month.

“When the La Palina Bronze Label was introduced last year, it came in only one size—a 6 1/2 inch by 52 ring gauge Toro. Two sizes have been added: Robusto, at 5 1/2 by 50, and Gordo, at 6 by 60.

“Bronze Label Toro was originally launched as a TAA exclusive size in March of 2017,” said Sam Phillips of La Palina Cigars. “After multiple reorders, we started to receive numerous requests from non-TAA retailers. It made sense to convert the line to full production.”

“The cigars, which are distributed by La Palina, were made in collaboration with Rocky Patel and produced at Nestor Plasencia’s El Paraiso factory in Honduras. The blend consists of a Habano-seed wrapper from Honduras, Honduran binder and filler from Honduras and Nicaragua.

“Packaged in boxes of 20, the La Palina Bronze labels will retail for $8.99 to $11 once they start shipping on the second week of February.”

Gordo 6 x 60 $11.00 / $10.00
Robusto 5.5 x 50 $9.00 / $8.00
Toro: 6.5 x 52 $10.00 / $9.00

An oily cinnamon/bronze colored wrapper adorns the tobacco sausage. Very rustic in appearance with loads of veins along with a lumpy and bumpy exterior. Seams are visible. A slight touch of tooth. An off kilter triple cap. The secondary band states it is the Bronze Label. I can’t read it with all the daylight in the world coming through my window. There is absolutely no way my camera will pick up the words on the band.

From the shaft, I can smell dark cocoa, espresso, malts, red pepper, vanilla toffee, cashews, smoked meat, cedar, cinnamon, dried apricot, and orange citrus.

From the clipped cap and the foot, I can smell very potent red pepper, malts, chocolate, coffee, cinnamon, smokiness, cedar, graham cracker, and vanilla toffee.

The cold draw presents flavors of spicy red pepper, saltiness, vanilla, creaminess, dried fruit, cedar, something bitter, malt, and chocolate.

The draw is really tight. Like sucking through a flat straw. Yes my friends, out comes my PerfecDraw cigar poker tool. It takes a lot of reaming before the tunnel is open for business. I would have had to toss it if not for the PerfecDraw. And this is my only stick. I was given this cigar at my local B&M because the La Palina rep was there and he wanted me to have one stick. So, the reality check is if this cigar is ready. The rep gave me the cigar a couple months+ ago. Should be enough to make a fair assessment.

The char line gets an immediate run. Not a good sign. I buy these inexpensive angled pipe type lighters on Amazon for $6-$9 a pop. They last for 6-12 months and the bent leg allows me to be more precise when I cure a wayward burn line. With my regular Zippo, I end up charring too much wrapper.

There is no big bang at the start of the cigar. It is mild in its approach. Flavors are mostly consumed by a cardboard flavor.
Slowly, flavors of creaminess, chocolate malt, vanilla custard, dark coffee, cashews, smokiness, sweetness derived from a multitude of dried fruit elements, pie crust, and lemon zest.

Now I’m not a big fan of La Palina. Back in the early days; like around early 2013…Bill Paley started sending me lots of the expensive Family Series sticks. I’ve reviewed a total of 10 La Palina brands….WAIT! Jimi’s “All Along the Watchtower” is playing. Stop everything. 1968. I remember being 18 when it came out and I thought this must be the greatest song on the planet. It still holds up today as a masterpiece. If the man had only dealt with his inner demons…imagine if he was alive today and the music he’d be making. He might have determined the direction of modern rock music.

Anyway, other than the expensive Family Series blends, the others all seem pedestrian to this palate. The La Palina Bronze Label seems to be following the same course of accurate indifference.
Strength is a solid medium.
Flavors are nothing to scream “I give up” over.

In fact, there is zero complexity and no transitions occurring on my watch. The finish is non-existent.
I checked around and the big reviewers were so so on this blend as well. Ratings were in the 85-90 range. No one was blown away but they all had La Palina as sponsors. You do the calculus on that. Unless this cigar kicks into high gear by the halfway point, I do believe you know where I’m going on this review.

La Palina blends, for the most part, are overpriced. This should not be a $9.00 stick. At this point, I would put it in the bundle category of $4-$5.
The experienced smoker is going to laugh. But then maybe a couple months of humi time isn’t enough. But I’d at least see some stirring potential. I see none of that.
The char line is just not cooperating. They didn’t even bother using decent rollers.

Queen’s “Fat Bottomed Girls” is playing. Who doesn’t love that song?

La Palina wasn’t stingy on the amount of tobacco stuffed into this tobacco kielbasa. Slow as she goes. That’s right…make the pain last longer.

Smoke time is 25 minutes.

Finally. Flavors come out of hiding. Some complexity kicks in. Transitions are in the placental stage. The finish digs itself out of its own hole and begins to show life.

Coconut. Now I haven’t tasted that in a cigar blend in ages. Fresh coconut. Remember as a kid, your mother would break down and buy you a whole coconut. And you’d spent the afternoon trying to break it open. Only to make a big mess and get about two drops of coconut water. But that fresh coconut was a real treat. I always shared it with my friends and it was a real treat. Man, I sound old.

Now it’s Janis. Most mornings, the classic station plays strictly drek. This morning, it’s on a roll. She would have been 75 this year. Another waste of life.
In my decade in the music business, I saw so many people fucking up their lives with hard drugs. Most survived it and came out the other side intact. Others faded away and left the planet.

I knew going in that it was better than a 50% chance I wouldn’t like this cigar. My gut never fails me.
Flavors are muted and confused. Just a mish mosh of amateurish elements that don’t flesh themselves out to any conclusion. The complexity is halted where it stands. Transitions disappear. The finish is nothing to brag about.
I’m flaccid.

John Lennon. “Imagine.”
I played in a great 5 piece cover band in 1971 and “Imagine” was a powerful and greatly appreciated tune for audiences. I had just converted from playing my Hofner Beatle bass to a Gibson EBO…like Jack Bruce played in Cream. I had it tricked out and added Fender P pick-ups to augment the Humbucker pick-ups. It was the bass I played on the Curved Air “Live” album in 1974.

Do I really have to go back to reviewing the La Palina Bronze Label?
Man, if I had blind taste tested this blend, I’d be swearing up a storm by now.
C’mon La Palina. What the fuck are you guys doing? One miserable blend after another aimed solely at the catalog crowd who don’t do their research.

Bob Seger is playing. Never got into him. When I hear his voice, I want to clear my throat.

This damn cigar refuses to do anything in the impressive category.
I don’t know how any of the big reviewers gave this cigar a rating of 88 or 90. Maybe it was a La Palina Blunt?
At this point, I’d be taking a halfway point photo. Really? Takes too much time and to waste it on this butterball…I don’t think so.
Can a reviewer score a cigar in the minus category?

When you were a teen, did you have a crazy fucked up friend who surprised you with having half sticks of dynamite on him when taking the guys on a small road trip out to the dairy farms in 1966 Orange County, CA? And then made us stop the car while he placed a lit stick underneath a cow minding its own business? Running back to the car and yelling “GO!. Yep, the cow exploded. Never hung out with him again. Not quite a “Me neither.” Found out down the road that he killed himself a couple years later.

On that note, back to the lovely and statuesque La Palina Bronze Label. Oh joy.

Smoke time is one hour.

I need to place a message in a bottle asking for help to get me out of here.
Van the Man is playing. Love that guy.

I keep waiting for something to happen. Nope. What we have here ladies and germs is a one trick pony not suitable for framing.
There is no potential for this blend. D.O.A.

Sometimes, I’m really glad that the big cigar manufacturers can’t stand me. And I don’t have the burden of their sponsorships. I’d have to lie and say what a great cigar this is. But then nobody would ever do that.
General Cigar sent me some little EPC cigarillos to review. You gotta be kidding. But yes they did. Meanwhile, they send all the big reviewers the good stuff but me? I get the drek. And that hay filled flavor experience is alive and well in the La Palina Bronze Label.

I’m getting an unpleasant musty flavor that permeates the entire experience. Blecch.
There is nothing left of the flavor profile. Zero complexity. Zero transitions. And a finish I can’t get rid of. Blecch 2.0.

I was on such a good run lately with reviewing some great cigars. It had to come to an end of course. I truly feel that reviewing a cigar like this is a giant waste of my time. But then you need the truth. So I bear the cross of sitting here for hours to provide honest candor about a product on the market you may be interested in. I’m here to take the bullet for you.

The burn line corrected itself early on so no issues there any longer.

I love my mornings. A first cigar of the day…of my choosing…and a cup of good coffee. Nothing pisses me off more than being forced to smoke a dog turd. Puts a crimp on my day. Nothing tastes as good as that first cigar of the day.

This cigar ain’t going to get better. It is stuck in stasis. Maybe if La Palina added a long pig tail to the cap, it could be sold as a tampon.

It’s now bitter as all get out. Barnyard is the flavor of the day.

I could be out saving lives from the volcano in Guatemala. But no…I’m trying to get the flavor out of my mouth from the La Palina Bronze Label.
I can’t finish it. It is just terrible. ll those wonderful aromas I found before lighting up…where did they go?
Final smoke time: Who cares?

How do I rate this cigar? I could be very sarcastic and give it a zero. But I won’t.
Do yourself a favor and stay as far away from this blend as possible. Don’t even smoke it if it’s a gift. Give it to a friend that thinks Quorums and Gurkhas are great cigars.
(Mic drop)


And now for something completely different:

Charlotte has made a lot of friends while running the Polish deli in Milwaukee. She had both Polish customers and German customers.

So, I heard, “I will be back in a few hours” a lot. She visited her German customers who invited her over to see how the 1% lives. She returned to describe the most delicious food served.

I stopped asking, “What about me? An afternoon of listening to people speak, mostly in German, the whole time was grueling. My own German is rudimentary at best so I feel that these folks are pretty rude for leaving me out of the conversation. I hear you nod your head that you wouldn’t want me in your conversation either.

I got invited to a German Club picnic at Heidi and Michael’s house. It was two clubs. Berliners and Bavarians. (Nazis all)

It was hot and muggy and I hate muggy. Makes me ill. I’m a Californian and didn’t grow up in humid weather. Can’t make the adjustment.

There were around 30 people there. And no shade at all. The 90 year olds snagged it all up.
We sat at the only table being directly hit by the sun. I was schvitzing like crazy. Soaked.

Sitting to my right was a fat Wisconsin woman (Aren’t they all?) and her skinny welder husband. Both thought they were very funny because while no one laughed at what they thought was funny; they picked up the slack and laughed at everything they said themselves.
I wanted to shoot myself.

I was looking forward to some good German food.
Food was served and it was all drek. I couldn’t believe that all these Germans, about 2 years from the grave, couldn’t cook. My mother’s side was German and my dad’s side was Hungarian. I grew up eating the most delicious food handed down from grandmothers. I’d hand over your last testicle to get my hands on those recipes.

I ended up throwing 90% of my plate of food away.

When all the food was eaten, the horror of my life occurred.
One of the guests brought his accordion and sat down right next to me. He then proceeded to play German polka songs while everyone sang in German. Nothing worse than music all played in ¾ time.
I thought I was at a Third Reich Bundestag meeting. And it felt like everyone was wondering why my Jewish star wasn’t sewn to my sleeve.

A woman sat down while Charlotte and Heidi took a walk around Heidi’s huge yard. Apparently, no one….I mean no one….liked this woman. She wasn’t that bad looking. Thin and wearing a loose fitting moo moo. Bleached blonde hair and bad teeth.

The women hated her because she only spoke to the men. Compared to the German folk, I was a little skinny guy. They all ate like someone was going to take their food away from them. One serving after the next. It was like visiting a pig farm. And the pigs knew I was a Jew.

I’m sitting there and she turned to me and exposed a tiny shrunken breast. All I could think of was where was Dr. Mengele when you need him?

In my right ear was loud accordion noise playing polka music that all sounded the same to me. I was packing my Glock because we had some errands to do afterwards. I actually thought of shooting the accordion, the accordion player, and then killing 13 more people. After that, I would be out of ammo.

Meanwhile, Heidi’s son was working on our 1977 Buick Le Sabre. The brake light was on and the dashboard beeped incessantly. He told us there was a leak in the brake line. He spent from 9am-2:30pm working on it. He didn’t replace it but he cleaned the leaks and repaired them with all kinds of goop and tape.
I stayed on his ass to finish it. I kept hearing, “Only 20 more minutes” for hours.

I was only at the party for 2-1/2 hours. Everyone refused to speak English. So I sat there sweating like a pig. My back was killing me from sitting in a plastic patio chair. And now I was getting nauseated from the humidity.
The car was done.

Gert told me that we still needed to take the car in to get the brake line replaced. He spent 5-1/2 hours gluing it together. And when he finishes he still tells us to take it to a pro. What a giant waste of time. But he didn’t charge us a dime so he had a good heart.

I pulled out of the garage and we got about 2 blocks away when the beeping started and the brake light went on. And it stayed like that all the way home.

I will never ask to go visit her friends again unless I can take the Israeli Defense Forces, or Mossad, with me to interrogate them about where were they in 1944.

I had nightmares, last night, of large beer halls and women in dirndls selling 5 gallon sized beers along with huge shaved white radish in a box hanging from their necks. Now that’s some fun. Drinking strong beer and eating white radish. Burp.

My dream smelled like a slaughter house.
And I kept seeing that shriveled breast staring at me and following me to the bathroom and then down the line of the buffet…. calling my name.
I felt all my dead relatives spinning at the speed of sound in their graves.
Do you think killing an accordion player is a punishable offense? Or would that be a misdemeanor? Maybe just a ticket?
Never again.


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17 replies

  1. Interesting take on this smoke. They also just came in my local B and M and I tried one yesterday. The burn line was uneven but I liked the taste. Nothing top notch but for one hour it held my attention. Will do a ” real ” review down the road.
    Funny, how different tastes are. I reviewed the Buenaventura twice because some followers told me it was a great cigar and I do not agree. That is the beauty of cigars. As Jerry Garcia said, ” One man’s poison is another man’s dope.”

  2. “Maybe if La Palina added a long pig tail to the cap, it could be sold as a tampon”


  3. Thank God, Frank.
    This cigar does need a “real” review.

  4. Coincidentally, I scored a La Palina ‘White Label’ piramide from a grab-bag sampler about a month ago, and quite enjoyed it. Strangely enough, there’s virtually zero information on the White Label online, and it’s out of stock at all retailers. I emailed La Palina, but never heard from them (par for the course with cigar manufacturers!)

    Too bad the Bronze Label sucked, but thanks for the review! at least I know to stay away from their regular production smokes…

  5. Hey Charles,
    It sounds like the White label may be strictly an event only cigar. And somehow, the cigar store you bought the grab bag from was dumping them on customers. And it explains why you don’t see it on La Palina’s web site.
    I checked once again and the White Label is an Overrun blend and they just ran out.

  6. Makes sense!

    The sampler in question was Atlantic Cigar’s 10-for-$40 ‘Platinum Grab Bag’. Mostly a case study in what 3+ year-old, limited/out-of-production $8-10 cigars taste like. I’ll get one in place of regular smokes on occasion, if I’m feeling a little rash.

  7. I made sense?
    Alert the cigar industry.

  8. I love a good cigar, myself! Rocky Patel is my favorite brand.

  9. You ever relate to Jack Nicholson in the movie..The Bucket List…when he says.
    Never trust a fart ?
    Me neither.
    But except for the overly priced top of the line La Palinas. ..the rest are crap which reminds me never trust La Palina.

  10. I’m with you brother, TR. The LP rep that gave me the cigar at my local shop sent me an email the next day after he perused my site…and saw horrendous reviews of the cigars he was selling. He liked my style but didn’t like the bad reviews. He was very polite but I don’t think he expected me in the role of the crazy mother fucker perched in the cat bird’s seat; especially compared to the straight ahead reviewers.
    I loved the Family Series but way too expensive. LP’s idea to put out a bunch of relatively inexpensive blends compared to the Family Series is a bust in my eyes. I don’t know why. Laziness? Lack of passion? Or attempting to appeal to those who only buy catalog sticks. You their market share.
    I eventually pissed off Courtney Smith who was Paley’s right hand. Very, very nice lady. But she had had enough with LP and moved on to Cornelius & Anthony. I got samples for a short while until I bashed one of their blends. Then it was goodnight Courtney. I regret burning a bridge but I like my readers over the manufacturers.
    Oops…I just farted…or is it…? Crap.

  11. I can t get into La Palina either. Seemed like they were a big deal a few years ago, but I never found many that justified the hype. The classic line was a good cigar until they changed it. They might be the world’s least essential cigar company at this point. : shrugs:

    And shooting an accordion player is definitely a crime but no jury of your peers could ever convict you for it. It would be like Samuel L. in that movie A Time to Kill. “Yes he deserved to die and I hope he burns in hell! “

  12. I don’t get that attitude from cigar companies. Didn’t you give positive reviews to most of the C&A blends? It speaks so poorly of companies to react like that to a bad review or two. Like, do they want passionate people being honestly enthusiastic about cigars they like or do they want a big circle jerk of PR bullshit where everyone makes sure to say the right things, but nobody has any personal credibility?

    Wait, don’t answer that…

  13. Bro, you are trying to attach common sense to an industry that has no compunction about being greedy or using a huge PR machine to take advantage of any situation and sell sub-par products to their own consumer base. That’s just not stepping on your own dick…it’s fucking insane.

  14. 60? Wow. Good to know. Cigar Page has some La Palinas on sale right now. AVOID

  15. Give it to a friend that thinks Quorums and Gurkhas are great cigars.
    (Mic drop)

    Hahahaha fucking gurkha

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