La Palina owner Bill Paley told halfwheel he enjoys controversy. If that’s the case, he’s having a great trade show. My booth visit to La Palina not only included the witnessing of a few Cubans—José “Pepín” García, Abdel “A.J.” Fernández and Hirochi Robaina—but it also included seeing Paley take out an iPad to read talking points that sounded as if a legal team had most certainly looked through them a few times. That being said, all that controversy was unrelated to any new product that La Palina had on sale, which isn’t to say they didn’t have any.
La Palina Red Label
It’s the new line, a partner to the company’s Black Label that they introduced last year. Both are made by Abe Flores at PDR Cigars, although Red is supposed to be a bit milder than the Black Label. It uses an Ecuadorian habano wrapper over an Ecuadorian binder and Nicaraguan fillers.
The company is still looking at an August 1 shipping date. Pricing is $9-11.50. More details here.
La Palina Family Series Miami
I’ll admit, I sent most of my time playing around with the magnetic 10-count box, but there’s more to the new Family Series. For those wondering, the magnetic lids are study, even when attached to the bag, and when all four magnets are engaged, it requires a bit of pop to open.
All three sizes—Allison, Babe and Pasha—are offered in the 10-count boxes, and the Pasha is offered in the 20-count box with cigars in coffins below.
The blend is definitely different to the original, which makes sense given the factory has changed from Graycliff to El Titan de Bronze. As for which I like better, the jury is still out. More details here.
A little more than two weeks ago La Palina announced that they would be partnering with Hirochi Robaina, the grandson of the famed Cuban grower, Alejandro Robaina, who had been working with Cubanacan. The announcement was a bit misguided; Paley told us at the time that Hirochi wasn’t going to be an employee of La Palina, rather, they would be working the La Corona factory in Estelí, which is owned by Omar González Alemán, who also previously worked with Cubanacan and Robaina.
A few days later, González stated he was no longer working with Cubanacan and then the latter began to respond, criticizing everyone from Gonzalez, to Robaina, to us—albeit not by name.
As for Paley, he said he still looks forward to working with Robaina on cigars. He said that he’s never been to Nicaragua, but always wanted a Nicaraguan cigar for his portfolio. Now he has the chance. Paley wouldn’t say much beyond his prepared remarks, a good sign that litigation could start. For those wondering, Paley was clear at this time La Palina has no connection to the HR 1845 brand that Robaina owns and previously sold through Cubanacan.
When I spoke to Robaina, he said he was happy to be working back in the sates and planned on heading to Nicaragua next month. Both Robaina and Paley indicated that no product has been developed, but they are eager to begin starting soon.