El Sublimado: Recognizing how well Cognac pairs with cigars, the makers of the original El Sublimado (www.texascigarbrothers.com) created a process for infusing tobacco leafs with Hardy Noces d’Or Grande Champagne Cognac. The cigars debuted in 1993, but they vanished from the market when the company that made them dissolved. A few years ago, some 10,000 to 12,000 of these cigars were found still aging in the Honduran factory where they were rolled, together with enough of the original tobacco to roll about 5,000 more. The cigars now are available only through Texas Cigar Brothers. The Ecuadoran-grown wrapper, Indonesian binder, and Dominican filler emit a mild and mellow flavor accented with a layer of spice and a touch of sweet fruit from the Cognac.
La Palina: Although the late William S. Paley founded the Columbia Broadcasting System (CBS) in 1928, he got his start in business working at his father’s cigar company and selling radio advertising for the family’s flagship La Palina brand. That was the inspiration that prompted Paley’s son, William C. Paley, to return to his family’s roots by bringing back the La Palina brand a few years ago, albeit with entirely different tobaccos geared for today’s tastes.
The success of the resurrected La Palina cigars led Paley to recently introduce a line extension called El Diario, which means “the daily” in Spanish, and reflected Bill Paley’s goal of producing a cigar that could be enjoyed every day. However, the combination of El Diario’s Honduran Corojo 99 rosado wrapper, Honduran Criollo double binder, and Nicaraguan Corojo 99 and Criollo 98 filler have created a much fuller flavor, one that is more suited to the nocturnal hours.
Five shapes were initially introduced: Churchill, torpedo, gordo, toro, and robusto. But the latest entry, a petite corona, provides a hefty dose of sweet, earthy spice in a small package, as its 4¼ x 40 size concentrates the flavors with every puff. In fact, it was while Paley was test smoking these petite powerhouses that his coworkers came up with the tongue-in-cheek name, Kill Bill, from which the KB shape derives its name. Available in a handy four-pack ($35) or singly ($8.75), La Palina’s El Diario KB provides a 20-minute interlude that makes it a pleasure to wait while the valet searches for your car.
Cohiba Black: A slightly sweet, spicy cigar that gets its name from its brownish-black Connecticut broadleaf maduro wrapper. The filler is composed of Mexican and Dominican leaf, and the Dominican binder has been aged for three years in hardened palm fronds called tercios, which dramatically intensifies fermentation and taste. Insider’s Tip Now that General Cigar has won its trademark battle against Habanos, this was the first of the new non-Cuban Cohiba cigars that have been brought out. Our favorite shape is the 6 x 54 Supremo. Note Prices are per cigar and average suggested retail and do not reflect local or state taxes