I have tasted and reviewed several La Palina cigars during the past year. Generally I like their products as the company has taken a direction to change price points, manufacturer cigars in different factories and create new blends.
La Palina cigars has a long history as a company but not widely known by cigar smokers. They are making a big push in marketing and events so their blends are better recognized.
I purchased the La Palina Illumination robusto at an tasting last year. As always, how and where I obtained the cigar does not impact my subjective judgment. Please make your own decision if you smoke the cigar.
Brand/Name of Cigar: La Palina/ Illumination
Country of Origin: United States
Size: 5 x 52
Filler: Dominican, Nicaraguan
Price: App. 11.50 MSRP. This cigar was purchased at the Cig Zone in Los Angeles, Ca.
Where and When Smoked: Lone Wolf Cigar Lounge, 7/26/2018
Appearance/Construction: A handsome, medium brown hue with a slightly oily feel. Construction felt a bit tight, constricting the middle of the cigar. Attractive double cigar band with the La Palina logo very prominent. Veins are minimal and overall appearance is formidable.
Flavor/Taste and Aroma: First third: Bit muddled in the flavor profile as pepper seemed to dominate with no other flavor or taste showing up. This may change in the second third as a contrast would be appreciated.
Second third: The cigar is smooth with a milder form of pepper showing up. There is a hint of nuts but still not producing enough flavor for me.
Final third: Finally got a pleasant note of tangerine but the smoke is still pretty one-dimensional. However if you like a cigar which broadcasts pepper , this might make you happy.
Smoking Characteristics: Even burn, no construction problems as the ash was a medium gray. Cigar stayed lit with no re lights. This is my expectation for any cigar but especially for a higher price point.
The overall taste was pretty blah. No highs or lows but hopefully you deserve more than that from a cigar. The Illumination did not offend me but not a choice blend.
Final Thoughts and the Numbers: The La Palina Illumination robusto tried to be a superior cigar with good construction and looks but lacked in the flavor and complexity.
The taste would probably get more oomph with another year in the humidor but it was already parked in mine for over a year Was disappointed as I did have very high expectations. This is a pass.
Appearance/Construction: 4 out of 5
Flavor/Taste and Aroma: 3 out of 5
Smoking Characteristics: 3.2 out of 5
Conclusion/Overall Impression: 3.4 out of 5