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Before this year, every Goldie cigar sold by La Palina Cigars was rolled by one person: Maria Sierra, one of the first women trained to roll cigars in Cuba who started her career in 1967 at the El Laguito factory, where Cohibas are produced.

Now, Sierra has announced her retirement from cigar rolling, and La Palina has turned to Lopez “Chino” Perez as the next exclusive Goldie toreador. Perez worked for 25 years at the Real Fabrica de Tabacos Partagás factory in Havana, Cuba, eventually taking over the role of floor supervisor, a position he held for five years before emigrating to the United States in 2014. According to the company, Sierra has been training Perez for three years to take over the rolling duties on the limited edition line.

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“Chino is an extraordinary roller and was schooled by the very best,” said Sam Phillips and Clay Roberts of La Palina in a joint statement. “We are delighted that he will be crafting the next generation of Goldies.”

In terms of the cigar itself, the newest Goldie comes in as a 6 x 52 toro, and incorporates an Ecuadorian habano wrapper covering an Ecuadorian binder along with filler tobaccos from the Dominican Republic and Nicaragua. Also included in the filler are medio tiempo leaves, the highest priming found on only some tobacco plants that are known for giving the cigar a unique, distinctive flavor. There are a total of 25,000 cigars packaged in boxes of 10, with each cigar carrying a retail price of $22.

There have now been six different releases in the La Palina Goldie line.

  • Cigar Reviewed: La Palina Goldie Toro
  • Country of Origin: U.S.A.
  • Factory: El Titan de Bronze
  • Wrapper: Ecuadorian Habano
  • Binder: Ecuador
  • Filler: Dominican Republic & Nicaragua
  • Length: 6 Inches
  • Ring Gauge: 52
  • Vitola: Toro
  • MSRP: $22 (Box of 10 Cigars, $220)
  • Release Date: July 2017
  • Number of Cigars Released: 2,500 Boxes of 10 Cigars (25,000 Total Cigars)
  • Number of Cigars Smoked For Review: 3

As with past releases, the La Palina Goldie Toro is covered in a golden brown wrapper that is parchment-like to the touch and features a small amount of oil. The cigar features a very well made fan on the cap along with a great amount of give when squeezed, and feels quite dense in my hand. Aroma from the wrapper is a combination of strong peanuts, hay, manure, leather, vanilla and sawdust, while the cold draw brings flavors of strong creamy cedar, leather, earth, grass, peanuts, dark chocolate and slight honey sweetness.

Starting out the first third, the La Palina Goldie Toro has a very obvious and dominant notes of both peanuts and creamy cedar, interspersed with other flavors of bitter espresso, cocoa nibs, gritty earth, cinnamon and hay. There is a touch of banana sweetness on the retrohale, but not enough to really make much of a difference to the profile overall, and there is virtually no pepper at all. Construction-wise, the draw is excellent after a v-cut, and while the burn is far from perfect, it also never comes close to needing to be corrected. The overall smoke production is both dense and copious, while the strength barely reaches a point halfway between mild and medium by the time the first third ends.

The creamy peanut note from the first third increases significantly by the start of the second third of the La Palina Goldie Toro, easily making it the dominant flavor in the profile, along with other notes of lemongrass, coffee grounds, earth, leather and hay. There is just a touch more pepper on the retrohale compared to the first third and the banana sweetness has increased a bit as well. Although the burn has evened up very nicely and the draw continues to impress, the smoke production has been reduced by at least half, although what is coming off of the foot is still quite dense in body. The overall strength is still increasing, and comes close to the medium mark by the end of the second third.

While the creamy peanut flavor is still very much in the forefront of the profile, the cedar note from the first third makes a comeback in the final third of the La Palina Goldie Toro, once again becoming a dominant flavor. In addition, notes of cinnamon, leather, bitter espresso, dark chocolate and earth flit in and out, although none of them come close to overtaking the dormant notes. The banana sweetness is still sticking around, but it is still a very light note on the retrohale, and there is a bit more white pepper compared to the second third as well. Both the burn and the draw are giving me no issues whatsoever, while the smoke production has increased just a bit, bringing it close to the level of what it was during the first third. Surprisingly, the strength has a fairly major increase right before I put the nub down with about an inch left, ending up at a very solid medium buy the time I put the nub down with a bit more than an inch to go.

Final Notes

  • The Goldie line is named after Goldie Drell Paley, who was the wife of La Palina cigars founder Samuel Paley, who founded the company in 1896.
  • Interestingly, while the newest vitola is neither the longest nor the largest ring gauge, it is the most expensive release so far.
  • Either by coincidence or design, there is a definite pattern in the ring gauges of each Goldie released over the past six years: a size under 46 ring gauge followed by a vitola that is 50 ring gauge or over.
  • There were no broken fans or caps on any of my samples, a great achievement considering how fragile they are. Having said that, there were a couple of wrappers that were damaged when we opened the box.
  • Along with the above, the wrapper is extremely fragile, something to think about when smoking, especially if you are in colder climates and enjoying the cigar outdoors.
  • Construction was extremely good, with two of the samples needing just a couple of touchups each and the draw giving no issues at all.
  • The cigars smoked for this review were purchased by halfwheel.
  • The final smoking time for all three samples averaged one hour and 32 minutes.
  • If you would like to purchase any of the the La Palina Goldie Toro, site sponsors Atlantic Cigar, Elite Cigar Cafe (972.661.9136) and Smoke Inn have them in stock now.
88 Overall Score

I have been a big fan of the Goldie blend since I reviewed the original Laguito No. 2 back in 2012, and while some of them have fallen far short of amazing—I am looking at you Laguito No.5—they have all been pretty good cigars. There is no doubt the profile of the Goldie Toro is creamy, but the flavors do become less complex at times, while the banana sweetness is noticeable on the retrohale but not strong enough to become dominant at any point. I have always found the Goldie blend to be more complex and more distinct in smaller ring gauges—not unlike another of my favorite releases, the Quesada España—and the 52 ring gauge Toro falls closer to the good but not amazing side of the aisle.

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Brooks Whittington
About the author

I have been smoking cigars for over eight years. A documentary wedding photographer by trade, I spent seven years as a photojournalist for the Dallas Morning News and the Fort Worth Star Telegram. I started the cigar blog SmokingStogie in 2008 after realizing that there was a need for a cigar blog with better photographs and more in-depth information about each release. SmokingStogie quickly became one of the more influential cigar blogs on the internet, known for reviewing preproduction, prerelease, rare, extremely hard-to-find and expensive cigars. I am a co-founder of halfwheel and now serve as an editor for halfwheel.

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