In 2010 William C. “Bill” Paley re-launched La Palina CIgars, originally founded as the Congress Cigar Company by Bill’s grandfather, Samuel Paley, in 1896. La Palina, which translates to “The Paley Lady,” was named for Sam’s wife, Goldie Drell Paley. It was Bill’s father, William S. Paley’s interest in promoting the original La Palina via radio advertising that led him to the broadcasting business, and ultimately the creation of the Columbia Broadcasting System (CBS).
Cigar Stats: The Family Series, produced at the Graycliff factory in Nassau, Bahamas, consists of four vitolas: Pasha (7¼ x 50) named for Bill’s father, Babe (5¼ x 50) named for Bill’s mother, Alison (6 x 52) named for Bill’s wife, and the one up for review today, Little Bill (4½ x 52) named for Bill himself. All four sizes use a Honduran and Nicaraguan filler with a Costa Rican binder. The Pasha and Babe sport a Costa Rican wrapper while the Alison and Little Bill get the added intensity of an Ecuadorian wrapper. Suggested prices range from $19-$22.
Appearance: Little Bill feels well packed and looks expertly crafted. The dry and veiny, medium-brown wrapper is surrounded by an elegant band with a portrait of Bill’s grandmother adorning the label.
The Smoke: The first half-inch of this diminutive cigar caught me off-guard with a mega-blast of peppery spice. Once that dies down the smoke becomes very smooth and creamy with hints of cedar and coffee, balanced by a sweet, woodsy flavor. The burn was a bit uneven but nothing that altered my enjoyment.
Verdict: The $19 price tag is well out of most cigar enthusiasts’ comfort zone, but if you’re looking for a special occasion smoke that justifies the forfeiture of an Andrew Jackson, Little Bill delivers. To learn more about La Palina Cigars, visit www.lapalinacigars.com. – Jason Zahner