La Palina Nicaragua Oscuro
It’s been a dusty week here in El Paso, but the weather has let up just in time to afford me a little backyard time with a La Palina Nicaragua Oscuro and a bottle of Jester King’s Ambree.
The Good Stuff:
The La Palina Nicaragua line was one of many released at this past year’s IPCPR show in Las Vegas. The line features two blends, both with the same binder and filler, but different wrappers. Today we’ll focus on the Oscuro version of the La Palina Nicaragua. Blended at the Tabacalera AJ Fernandez Cigars de Nicaragua S.A. the La Palina Nicaragua Oscuro features an Ecuadorian Oscar wrapper, Nicaraguan binder, and Nicaraguan filler. Both blends are released in three sizes: Robusto (5 x 52), Toro (55 x 50) and the Gordo (6 x 58). Each come packaged in boxes of 20 running between $7.99 and $9.50 a stick. I picked mine up over from our great friends are Ford on Fifth who now offer online ordering on their site.
Size: 5 x 52
Wrapper: Ecuadorian Oscuro
Pairing: Jester King Ambree (Farmhouse Amber 7.4% ABV)
The La Palina Nicaragua Oscuro starts out with an insanely consistent dark, milky brown wrapper. There are a few areas where the natural webbing in the leaf runs a slight shade darker. The wrapper’s texture is very toothy and grainy showcasing some slight oil. There are a few smaller veins running through the body of the cigar. The wrapper itself is laid seamlessly over itself leading up to a round triple cap. The cigar is polished off with an elegant manilla, gold, and black La Palina crest with the word “Nicaragua” on the front. The cigar also features a bright white and gold secondary band with the “Oscuro” notation on the front.
The wrapper on the La Palina Nicaragua Oscuro gives off a ton of spice and pepper while the foot of the cigar focuses more on the foot as well as some mossiness, and a ton of earthinesss and natural tobacco aromas. The cap cut clean and easily using my Xikar double bladed cutter. The cold draw is really malty with a good amount of spice, pepper, earthiness and natural tobacco.
Holy pepper bomb! I can’t remember a cigar lately that has started out with the amount of pepper as the La Palina Nicaragua Oscuro. It left my tongue and lips screaming after just a few puffs. Luckily the pepper strength began to let up after the first few draws leaving behind flavors of cayenne pepper, bold spice, oak, moss, leather, and coffee with a nice sweetness which mixes in with the pepper on the aftertaste. The draw on this particular cigar is a bit loose for my liking, but it’s not really interfering with the experience. The burn line is a bit thick and some slight waves, but nothing too concerning as it leaves behind a very tightly compacted trail of white and black ash which held on for a bit over an inch before giving way.
The woodsy/oaky flavors really start to take over in the second third of the La Palina Nicaragua Oscuro backed by spice, a bit of sweetness, leather, and earthy/moss. The pepper has completely made it’s exit from the cigar. Another good note is it seems that once the cigar really started to burn the draw tightened up a bit and is now pulling perfectly. The retrohale really reminds you just how much pepper was in this cigar and I really don’t see myself doing it too often. The burn line is still a bit wavy, but I haven’t had to touch it up yet so that’s a win in my book while I close out the second third with a pretty decent nicotine kick.
The pepper has made a bit of a return here in the final third of the La Palina Nicaragua Oscuro. It’s definitely not as bold as the start, but it’s there along with the oak, moss, earthiness, sweetness, and leather. The flavor profile has been pretty consistent, but the strength of each of the flavors have been constantly switching up keeping me on my toes. It took me a little over an hour to take this cigar down to the numb and I experienced no harshness, nor extra heat. The burn line was a bit wavy the entire time but I never once had to touch up or relight.
This blend is absolutely not what I am used to when it comes to La Palina cigars. No, that’s not a bad thing at all. Usually La Palina releases milder, more tame, but flavorful blends but the La Palina Nicaragua Oscuro just poured on both body and strength from the second I lit the cigar up. While I wasn’t huge on the mass amount of pepper in the cigar, I thought the flavor profile was incredible once the pepper faded. Is it something I’d buy a box of? Probably not, but it is something I’d keep a few on hand when I want something big to smoke after a big hearty meal.
This is actually the second batch of Jester King’s Ambree released in 2014. Brewed in Austin, Texas Jester King has become one of the nation’s most sought after breweries. Ambree is a Farmhouse amber which comes in at 7.4% ABV. The Ambree starts out with a very tart mixture of cherry, zesty wood, sweetness, caramel, and spice with a very light mouthfeel before finishing crisp and sour with more cherry and sweetness, spice, and oak. Pairing the Ambree with the La Palina Nicaragua Oscuro may seem a bit strange, but while the Ambree really helped tone down the pepper and spice in the cigar, the cigar helped boost the oakiness found in the beer making for a phenomenal pairing.