Cigar Review: La Palina Goldie Toro (2017)

  • Goldie_straightVitola: Toro
  • 6” x 52 ring gauge 
  • MSRP $22.00
  • Purchased at Burns Tobacconist

Background

It’s the sixth year for the annual La Palina “Goldie” release, a line created to pay tribute to Goldie Paley, wife of Sam Paley, who was the original founder of the La Palina Cigar Company back in 1896. Each year the company releases a limited number of Goldie cigars in a new and unique size, with the years trading off between small and larger ring gauge sticks. The first, third and fifth releases were 38, 40, and 43 ring gauge, while the second and fourth were 54 and 50. This being the sixth installment, it’s time for a larger cigar again…this time a 52 ring gauge Toro.

Each of the Goldie cigars is rolled by only one person: Maria Sierra, one of the top-rated rollers in the world. She worked for 32 years at Cuba’s El Lagito factory and is a Category 9 roller; she now works at Miami’s Titan de Bronze factory.

The Goldie is made of Nicaraguan and Dominican fillers, an Ecuadorian binder and an Ecuadorian Habano wrapper. I fell in love with the Laguito Especial from 2014 and it was one of my top cigars of that year. Last year’s Dalia also caught my attention. I’ve had a couple of the larger ring gauge versions, but they have never captured me to quite the extent of the smaller ones. Let’s see if this Toro can do so…

Note: some background information was taken from Coop’s news story about the release.

Goldie_2Prelight

The overall appearance of the Goldie releases is always great. The cigars are fitted inside individual slots in the box, with no cellophane used. The band is the classic La Palina band. The wrapper leaf is a dark golden color, slightly darker than what I remember seeing in the past for Goldie releases. I laid it with my last remaining Laguito Especial to confirm this and found the new version is several shades darker with less red in the coloration. Each cigar is finished with a neat little flag-tail on the head.

The wrapper had a pleasing amount of oiliness under my fingertips and an aroma that was of clean earth and grass. The foot had a little more earthiness and grassiness, with a little cedar in the mix, as well. Judging from the look and aromas, it’s easy to understand why the uninformed might think this is a milder cigar, but I’ve always found them to be more medium-plus.

I used my favorite Xikar Xi to apply a straight cut to the Goldie and got a fantastic draw from it. The prelight flavors were of wood, earth and hay, with a bit of pepper spice coming through a few seconds after I took the draw.

Flavor

It took just a couple puffs to remind me of just how good this blend is…and how well it scales up to larger ring gauges. I got a strong woody note up front, followed by earth and a sweet hay and slight honey note. The retrohale was peppery…intensely so, actually. But even with the level of spice on the nose, the smoke was overall very smooth and creamy.

As I got toward the end of the first third I got a sense of the body building up from a straight ahead medium to more of a medium-plus place. The flavor profile was solidly cedar, earth and spice as I got deeper into the second third, and there were supporting notes of roasted nuts and sweetness.

The last third started out with plenty of pepper spice on the tongue and nose, along with a slight cinnamon note among the other woody flavors. Earth was present and a mild sweetness persisted.

Goldie_fancapConstruction

I’ve not had a Goldie that was anything short of perfect when it comes to construction; this was no exception.

Goldie_angleValue

I found the Goldie worth the price before the recent price increase (last year), especially in the smaller ring gauge releases. Even last year, I found the Dalia to be well worth the fairly steep price tag. This one…I’m on the fence. It’s great, but not an instant classic like the Laguito Especial or Dalia.

Conclusions

There is no doubting that the Goldie blend is amazing. Even in a 52 ring gauge Toro, it holds up as a very good cigar that under other circumstances would rate higher…but I know just how good this blend can be in a smaller ring gauge…astounding…game-changing, even. But in this size, it’s merely just “very good.” Would I smoke it again? Absolutely. But I can’t see trying to buy up as many as I can afford before they are gone, like I did with the Laguito Especial…and I should have done with the Dalia. Size does matter…and this blend just works better in a ring gauge in the low 40s. So I’ll be waiting patiently for next year…and keeping an eye out for some of the older versions in the meantime.

By-The-Numbers

Prelight: 2/2
Construction: 2/2
Flavor: 4/5
Value: .5/1
Total: 8.5/10

David Jones

David has been smoking premium cigars since 2001. He is co-founder and editor-in-chief of Leaf Enthusiast. He is a full-time retail tobacconist, working for Burns Tobacconist in Chattanooga, where he has also organized the Chattanooga Tweet-Up for the last four years. He is also an independent graphic designer and typesetter. Twitter: @dmjones1009

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