Behind The Stick:
The La Barba 'Purple' comes to the market as a second release from Tony Bellatto and Craig Rossi of La Barba Cigars, although word has it that a few 'behind the scenes' guys by the names of Robert Caldwell of Caldwell Cigar Co. and William Venturas son, Henderson, ended up adding a little something to the blend to really make this cigar what it is today. Manufactured at the Tabacalaera William Venture in the Dominican Republic, it was not surprising to hear this collaborative masterpiece has been making more than just waves within the cigar community.
Comprised of a rare and limited tobacco from Henderson and William Ventura called "Carbonell" - This leaf has gained it's notoriety from the family that has been growing the leaf ( of course in small quantities ) for over 100 years. It has been toted as one of the Dominicans top secrets due to the mild kick yet smooth and rich aroma. While a quick search on the Carbonell name returns cigars rolled by the family using their signature 'sweet leaf' it also boasts the companies history going back to 1907 were the usage of this tobacco has limited documentation. One reference commented that it was a perfect pair for Canadian Blended Whiskeys - I wonder how it goes with a good American Bourbon!
You all know me - this sounds great on paper and I am sure will draw a lot of business, but if the tobacco isn't 'unique' and different then it all comes down to hype and the people who are pushing the word. Of course I did a little research on this cigar and I have to say, if my experience is anything similar to the forums and facebook groups - I am anticipating quite the treat!
Big thanks goes out to Matt "Mooch" Richards - if it wasn't for you I would never have had a chance to try one, yet alone an original release. Thank you again!
Size: 7x 40
Wrapper: Ecuador Habano
Binder and Filler: Domincan Corojo, Dominican HVA, Dominican Carbonell
Price: $9.00 / single
Factory / Country of Origin: Tabacalera William Ventura
Release Type: Limited
Release Date: September, 2014
Evenly packed from head to foot with just a little bit of give at the foot, the La Barba Purple Lancero doesn't feel over-packed but this thing is a rock! The head clipped easily and the cold draw is perfect - just a little bit of resistance. After the first inch or so the draw did close up to the point where I had to get a draw tool and run it through the cigar to open it up. The burn was a little crazy at the start, an experience I contribute to the draw but after tending to issue the burn slowly corrected itself without the need for a touch up. From the half way point till the end the burn was straight with just a thin mascara burn line as the barrier between wrapper and ash. Even with the distractions, they did not cause an issue with the enjoyment of the cigar.
The La Barba Purple Lancero starts out with a lot of pepper - not a 'blast' but a bit more powerful than I was originally anticipating. After the first inch the spice starts to settle down, not necessarily 'go away' but goes from screaming in your face to yelling in your ear. Notes of wood, sweet earth and a dash of black pepper build the core of the flavor profile. If that doesn't sound decadent enough, the organic Dominican 'mineral' tangy bite and finish are very apparent seemingly fighting the spice for front stage.
Add to the already diverse range of flavors this cigar provides and add in some subtle yet varying notes of cracker, almond, cedar, caramel and a rich earthiness that carried on even after a few sips of water. The last third is where this cigar really seemed to come alive - the flavors were the most defined. A richness and almost increase in texture to the smoke - refined elegance with a subtle hand.
For me, the draw is what got in the way of the experience. I wouldn't say the cigar was plugged but it certainly was not an open draw. It started out perfect, just a little bit of resistance similar to drinking a milkshake through a straw, - eventually the draw tightened up to the point I had to get a draw tool and run it through once. No problems after but enough to make that mental note "bring the draw poker". I would not rule this cigar out just based upon this, but from perusing the forums and facebook groups it appears that the tight draw on the lanceros is not an uncommon occurrence.
The reason people scream about this cigar so much is that allegedly the complexity ( or flavor changes ) are not only noticeable but also change with intensity and flavor delivery throughout the entire cigar, not just a specific portion that has the 'wow' factor. I have to admit, while I am a fan of the smaller ring gauges and especially the lancero vitola, this specific cigar just has a unique, rich and flavorful delivery that makes it hard to say anything positive for fear that I wont be able to secure the rest of them that are available on the market as you all rush out to buy them! One of the problems with great boutique smokes - for those who are like myself and procrastinate to smoke our first - when you realize what you have been missing out on there are no more available.
If you have had the chance to try a La Barba Purple Lancero - please let us know what you thought!
Every Cigar Has A Story, Every Smoke A Memory