Lancero fans are an interesting bunch, fans of what has sadly become a vitola that is less common on store shelves as the masses gravitate toward bigger ring gauges. When a company announces that it will be making a lancero in one of its lines, the reception is generally favorable and enthusiastic among this group. But what happens when a store announces it is commissioning ten limited edition lanceros from well-known brands?
That’s exactly what STOGIES World Class Cigars in Houston has done and halfway through this year the release list is nearly halfway complete. The store has already released five of its ten planned releases.
- Room101 Namakubi Ecuador H-Town Lancero (7 x 38) — December 19, 2013 — 500 Boxes of 20 Cigars (10,000 Total Cigars) — $9.50 (Boxes of 20, $190)
- Alec Bradley Nica Puro H-Town Lancero (7 x 40) — August 2014 — 500 Boxes of 20 Cigars (10,000 Total Cigars) — $7.95 (Boxes of 20, $159)
- Fratello H-Town Lancero (7 x 38) — February 2015 — 500 Boxes of 20 Cigars (10,000 Total Cigars) — $8.50 (Boxes of 20, $170)
- Quesada España H-Town Lancero (7 x 38) — March 2015 — 300 Boxes of 20 Cigars (6,000 Total Cigars) — $8.95 (Boxes of 20, $179)
- La Palina H-Town Lancero (7 x 38) — June 2015 — 500 Boxes of 10 Cigars (5,000 Total Cigars) — $8.95 (Boxes of 10, $80.55)
For the fifth installment, STOGIES turned to La Palina for a unique blend that uses an Ecuadorian habano wrapper, Ecuadorian binder and fillers from the Dominican Republic and Nicaragua. It’s made at PDR Cigars in the Dominican Republic and limited to just 500 ten-count boxes.
- Cigar Reviewed: La Palina H-Town Lancero
- Country of Origin: Dominican Republic
- Factory: PDR Cigars
- Wrapper: Ecuadorian Habano
- Binder: Ecuador
- Filler: Dominican Republic, Nicaragua
- Size: 7 Inches
- Ring Gauge: 38
- Vitola: Lancero
- MSRP: $8.95 (Boxes of 10, $80.55)
- Release Date: June 2, 2015
- Number of Cigars Released: 500 Boxes of 10 Cigars (5,000 Total Cigars)
- Number of Cigars Smoked for Review: 3
The La Palina H-Town Lancero is Immediately recognizable if you’re familiar with the company’s Black Label line, but as noted in the original story, this is a new blend and as such the bands aren’t indicative of a similarity to that line, and in fact do have a bit of difference when it comes to the trim of the secondary bands. When I see a lancero with the La Palina band, I immediately think of the Goldie Laguito No. 2 or Laguito Especial and its signature fantail cap, which this cigar lacks. It’s a sleek looking cigar, generally well rolled with the occasional bumpy spot and showing a uniform firmness with just a bit of give. The top leaf is a great shade of tan, bringing both butterscotch and caramel to mind, with a slightly darker shade at the head. The first and third samples have a couple light spots on the wrapper that look like water marks, an unfortunate detractor to an otherwise beautiful cigar. The pre-light aroma delivers cereal grain and dry, neutral wood with no sweetness or spice, while the cold draw is easy and has a touch of resistance, offering more neutral notes of cereal and just a touch of pepper for the front of the tongue, with some creamy sweetness showing up on occasion that provides a much appreciated smoothness.
It’s a woody and somewhat peppery start to the La Palina H-Town Lancero, far from overpowering but certainly flavorful and bitey in the best sense of the word. There’s a smooth and fairly mild retrohale that only adds to the positive first impressions of this cigar. The base notes of the cigar seem to be a tightly entangled mix of earth, charred wood and a touch of pepper that produce a smoky and slightly charred leading note that lingers on the palate for a few moments before dissipating. After just a few puffs the cigar takes its first step up the strength mountain, and a fast puffing rate only accelerates that climb. The burn rate progresses pretty quickly, and with it comes a bit more of a mineral note that provides just a touch more bite to the smoke. Combustion has been near perfect, with a sharp and even burn line and plenty of smoke, which begins to take on a bit more complex texture heading into the next third; almost cotton-like in terms of a bigger mouth feel.
The cigar keeps building up a vibrant and tight flavor delivery, with a lingering pepper note that stays on the palate for quite some time, with retrohales providing another pepper hit, and while the strength is pretty decent the finish isn’t quite as lingering—a good things as by the time the cigar has crossed the midway point I’m beginning to feel a bit overwhelmed by all that it has to offer. There is a distinct point in each cigar where the leash comes off and the intensity of the flavor and aroma seem to almost double, particularly with what the nose gets. The cigar was by no means lacking to this point, but this uptick in strength delivers an entirely new experience. In addition to the base notes that have stayed fairly consistent, I’m also getting a good bit of orange zest in the nose; it’s a dry citrus sweetness that is almost unmistakable and provides a brightness and refreshing zing to the overall offering. The cigar continues to burn straight and even with about as much smoke as you can ask for from a lancero.
The final third of the La Palina H-Town Lancero continues an upward trend in strength, as once the cigar hit its turning point in the second third it accelerated steadily towards a much fuller profile. A quick recollection of where the cigar started shows just how far the blend and profile has come, as it’s now much more robust, shedding the creaminess in favor of a earthier, almost grittier profile reminiscent of the refined harshness that I’ve found in some other blends. In the final inches it’s a bit of a challenge to slow my puffing rate down and keep the cigar cool, but the reward is certainly worth it, as the cigar can get smoked down quite far while keeping its more aggressive profile in check.
- My first thought was that the H-Town Lancero looked like Mr. Sam, but then I did a quick search and realized that Mr. Sam has white bands, while the Black Label has the black bands, albeit with a different trim.
- I reviewed the first cigar in this series, the Room101 Namakubi Ecuador H-Town Lancero back in December 2013.
- As I noted in that review, Houston has a number of nicknames besides the obvious H-Town, a list that includes the Bayou City, Baghdad on the Bayou, the Magnolia City, Capital of the Sunbelt, Clutch City, The Big Heart, Screwston, Hustletown and the City of Syrup or Syrup City.
- I found myself comparing not just the blends of different La Palinas that I have tried, but also the factories which they use. I’d be interested to see this exact blend and size produced by El Titan de Bronze (and by the hands of Maria Sierra if at all possible) compared to how PDR CIgars makes it. I’m not implying one is better than the other, but I’d love to do a comparison.
- Final smoking time was one hour and 30 minutes on average.
- The cigars for this review were provided by STOGIES World Class Cigars. STOGIES advertises on halfwheel.
- The only place to get the La Palina H-Town Lancero is from site sponsor STOGIES World Class Cigars. You can also reach them at 713-783-5100. Be sure to mention you heard about it on halfwheel.
While this isn't quite up to the level of the La Palina Goldie Laguito No. 2 or Laguito Especial, it's pretty darn close. The change in strength from the first to second halves is quite noticeable and one of the most distinct features of the H-Town Lancero, and it may be the dividing line for many smokers. I'd take the first half of the cigar almost any day, while the second is reserved is for those times when i want something a bit stronger and more challenging. Either way, this is a well-blended cigar, and one that deserves some serious consideration as an addition to your humidor.