For the fifth installment of its Goldie series, La Palina again returned to the El Titan de Bronze factory and roller Maria Sierra to produce a size called the Dalia, a 6 3/4 x 43 vitola that in more general terms might be referred to as a lonsdale. Sierra, a noted roller who started her career in Cuba, would again be tasked with rolling each of the 25,000 cigars produced for this release.
The blend also remains the same, an Ecuadorian habano wrapper over an Ecuadorian binder and fillers from the Dominican Republic and Nicaragua. What would change however—and change fairly notably—is the price. The La Palina Goldie Dalia would become the most expensive of the five releases, with an MSRP of $20 per cigar.
The Goldie series debuted in 2012 with the La Palina Goldie Laguito No. 2, a 6 x 38 petit lancero. The line, like many in the La Palina portfolio, gets its name from a member of the Paley family, in this case Goldie Drell Paley, the wife of Sam Paley, who founded the original La Palina brand. Goldie is also the grandmother of William S. Paley, the current owner of the brand.
- La Palina Goldie Laguito No. 2 (6 x 38) — July 2012 — $15 (Boxes of 10, $150) — 1,000 Boxes of 10 Cigars (10,000 Total Cigars)
- La Palina Goldie Laguito No. 5 (5 5/8 x 54) — May 2013 — $18 (Boxes of 10, $180) — 2,500 Boxes of 10 Cigars (25,000 Total Cigars)
- La Palina Goldie Laguito Especial (7 x 40) — May 2014 — $16.50 (Boxes of 10, $165) — 2,500 Boxes of 10 Cigars (25,000 Total Cigars)
- La Palina Goldie Laguito Robusto Extra (6 1/10 x 50) — June 2015 — $18 (Boxes of 10, $180) — 2,000 Boxes of 10 Cigars (20,000 Total Cigars)
- La Palina Goldie Dalia (6 3/4 x 43) — June 2016 — $20 (Boxes of 10, $200) — 2,500 Boxes of 10 Cigars (25,000 Total Cigars)
- Cigar Reviewed: La Palina Goldie Dalia
- Country of Origin: U.S.A.
- Factory: El Titan de Bronze
- Wrapper: Ecuadorian Habano
- Binder: Ecuador
- Filler: Dominican Republic & Nicaragua
- Length: 6 3/4 Inches
- Ring Gauge: 43
- Vitola: Dalia
- MSRP: $20 (Box of 10 Cigars, $200)
- Release Date: June 20, 2016
- Number of Cigars Released: 2,500 Boxes of 10 Cigars (25,000 Total Cigars)
- Number of Cigars Smoked For Review: 3
There is something unique about the wrapper on the entire La Palina Goldie line that I just love; it is soft and incredibly smooth—but not overly oily—a combination that creates a distinct feel in the fingers. As one would and should expect given the line’s genesis, the roll quality is fantastic, smooth and even both visually and tactilely. If you’re desperate to find a visual distraction, the veins of the wrapper are about all you can take issue with, though they are so unobtrusive it becomes an exercise in undue nitpicking. From the foot I get a bit of warm banana bread with dried fruits behind that, almost reminiscent of a holiday fruitcake, and one sample has an aroma reminiscent of white cake. The draw is nearly perfect—a touch loose when not completely dialed in—and offers a touch of pepper, a bit more banana and an interesting sharpness at the tip of the tongue that I can’t quite place.
The La Palina Goldie Dalia gets things started with a medium-plus introduction in terms of flavor and strength; there is a decent bit of pepper and warmth from the smoke but well short of overwhelming, and the first puffs and retrohales are balanced and engaging, with the latter vital to providing the complete picture of the cigar’s offering. Smoke production is a bit a lacking at the outset; while there is plenty for the palate and nose, what is produced dissipates rather quickly and the cigar puts out little to none while it is at rest. After a sharp start, there is a very soft texture is beginning to evolve from within the smoke, which seems to soften the flavors just a hair while leaving a lingering finish on the palate, at least until the first clump of dense white ash drops off at just under an inch in length and clears the way for a more pronounced black pepper to step forward. There is a marked advance in the strength of the cigar, and unfortunately in harshness as well, as each puff imparts a bit of throat scratching pepper that detracts from the otherwise enjoyable flavor and aroma, which starts to put forth the famed banana note this cigar is known for at the transition to the second third. Trace notes of honey also appear at times, though can easily get overlooked.
While I have never considered the Goldie line to be particularly strong, the start of the second third has me questioning my previous assumptions about this blend, particularly so with every retrohale. There’s an increase in pepper, light and bright on the senses without much gravitas to settle on the tongue; at its cleanest it is quite enjoyable if a bit mouth drying. The ash’s bright white color continues to be impressive, with its density almost equally so. Heading towards the midway point, the Dalia has found a spot of medium-to-full flavor and medium strength that works quite well for the blend, establishing itself as very engaging without being commanding or overpowering. Through the midway point a bit of banana comes along, though evoking a memory of a frozen banana rather than one at room temperature, minus the cold, of course. The harshness, while much less significant, is still present at the transition into the final third, turning more into a slight tickle of the back of the throat than an all-out scratch. There are also spots where the finish becomes a bit heavier and prolonged on the tongue, though it seems to correlate with the amount of pepper and not what traces of sweetness can be found.
Hopefully you are a person who can retrohale, as being able to do so is a key part of getting the full experience that the La Palina Goldie Dalia has waiting. The depth and complexity of the pepper experienced via the tongue is fractional compared to what the nose is able to experience, and the two in concert give the full sense of what the cigar offers. There no real semblance of sweetness in the final third, save for a very faint touch of banana that pops up from time to time, but if you missed it earlier or are hoping for a reprise, you almost certainly won’t find it in this segment. The closing inch is hampered by the heat giving the flavor an unfavorable char, requiring a very slow rate of puffing to avoid, but one that helps squeeze out every last bit of flavor and aroma from this stick
- This is one of the few examples of a cigar where the roller is given almost as much attention as the cigar. Maria Sierra began her career in Cuba in 1967 and was trained by Avelino Lara, who is often credited with creating the Cohiba blend, and Eduardo Rivera Irizarri, who was Fidel Castro’s personal cigar roller. She is considered to be a category nine roller, which means she can roll any cigar in the Habanos S.A. portfolio. In recent years, category nine has not been offered for new rollers.
- La Palina also uses El Titan de Bronze for the Family Series Miami, though that is rolled by multiple rollers at the factory.
- I really hope that everyone that smokes the La Palina Goldie Dalia—or any of the Goldie releases—takes the time prior to lighting it to really hold it in you hands and feel the connection to the person who rolled it. While premium cigars are hand rolled, it’s rare to know even the name of the person that created a cigar in this case you not only know her name but can fairly readily visit her should you be in Miami.
- The construction on all three cigars smoked was absolutely fantastic.
- I’m not one to recommend pairings, but I found myself wanting some sweetness from a beverage to help soften out this cigar at times. As a fan of rum, there seemed to be the possibility to create some interesting and enjoyable pairings between that spirit and this cigar.
- Each Goldie that I smoke makes me wish the entire portfolio of sizes was readily available. The limited production forces me to rely too much on memory, which as we all know can be affected and not always as accurate as a true head-t0-head comparison.
- Final smoking time was one hour and 40 minutes on average.
- The cigars for this review were purchased by halfwheel.
- Site sponsor Lone Star State Cigars (972.984.6786) currently has the La Palina Goldie Dalia in stock.
My recollections of previous La Palina Goldie releases don't include the word sharp, so I found myself a bit puzzled by why that word kept coming up in this review. After finishing all three samples, I went back and looked at the tasting notes my colleagues had from the other sizes of the Goldie series, and I found myself identifying with pieces of each review, though this size gives the blend its own unique spin, as does the normal variation from year to year of the tobaccos being used. This lonsdale vitola--which I seemed bound to like based on size alone--didn't seem to shine as well as the original No. 2 or even the girthier Robusto Extra. Maybe it's the size, maybe it's the fact that I have so many memories of the previous four releases that are clouding my judgment, but the Dalia vitola left me wanting more of the previous releases than it did more of this one.