I’ve had a fair amount of jobs in the past, from Lifeguard to coffee shop manager. But none has been quite like working in a little shop in the Arizonian desert peddling a modest yet diverse selection of cigars.
I’ve learned so much in such a short time, and have met some of the kindest people one could hope to meet. I knew it would only be a matter of time before I wanted to contribute to this wonderful community of people. That being said, I would like to introduce not only myself, but another Mr. Sam as well, and I’m sure you’ll love both of them.
It all started in the late 1800’s when Samuel Paley emigrated from Ukraine to Chicago; he found work in a cigar factory as a lector, reading books and magazines to the rollers as they worked. He began taking an interest in the industry; his free time spent studying the ins and outs of cigars. Needless to say he ascended the rank to roller, later blender. Then in 1896 he opened a shop of his very own by the name of Congress Cigar Company, and produced the product named La Palina, after his wife Goldie Drell Paley.
In 1910 Congress Cigar Company moved to Philadelphia where Sam’s son William S. Paley took on the position of vice president of Advertising shorty after graduation. To help boost sales and also pursue a personal interest, William funded a small radio station program called “The La Palina Hour”. Realizing the potential of radio broadcasting when sales for La Palina improved, William S. Paley went on to acquire five radio stations that would be the stepping stone for the Columbia Broadcasting System, or more famously known as CBS. Sadly though, while the radio business took off, after Sam’s retirement Congress Cigar Company was liquidated in 1926.
Reviving a great brand is no easy task, but Sam’s grandson Bill Paley took it on none the less. His determination to recreate a brand that would hold up to the original brought him to none other than Avelino Lara, the famed Cuban master blender who rolled Cohibas for Fidel Castro. The hard work and unwavering dedication shows in the modern day La Palina. From roller to blender, business owner and radio pioneer, the Paley family has lead an interesting life, and brought a new brand to the vast library of cigars, and their creativity, ingenuity and craftsmanship shows even today in their new blend Mr. Sam. So, let’s get down to business.
La Palina Mr. Sam Corona (5.50” X 42)
Country of Origin: USA.
Factory: El Titan De Bronze
Wrapper: Ecuardor Habano
A beautiful chocolate colored wrapper bares a few veins which are not overly prominent. The gold and white band boldly standing out against the brown of the cigar gives a gorgeous contrast in color, and the band itself brings thoughts of a simpler time of speak easies and jazz parlors of the 1920’s with the picture of a fare woman surrounded by gold and flowers shows the luxury, excellence and strive towards perfection that is synonymous with the Paley name.
The Aroma bares a heavy scent of leather and barnyard, notes of spice and oak with subtle hints of chocolate and an almost sweet Spring Cherry Finish. Cold draw reveals similar tastes with a more peppery bite on the palate.
The First 3rd:
The Mr. Sam starts off very bold in flavor with pepper and oak taste coming to the forefront, with a lasting earthy cocoa finish. The taste and aroma is almost reminiscent of forest oak after an early rain, a wet earthy musk mixed with the peppery oak through the easy pull of the draw creates a delightful harmony across the palate.
The Second 3rd:
The Cigar begins to mellow out with the earthy cocoa coming more in to play, leaving the spice and oak just a suggestion in the background. Finishing bold and robust the Mr. Sam wastes no time in leaving a lasting impression. The burn line holds very true throughout the first 3rd, a long ash curling and mixing with white and gray, without burning too hot like some other coronas show the care and attentiveness that the craftsmen put in to this cigar.
The Last 3rd:
With the Cigar coming to its last legs, the Mr. Sam holds true to its fine craftsmanship and still delivers a wonderful heavy earth and cocoa taste blending and mixing with the oak and spice culminating in harmony and balance.
Putting aside the look, aroma and fine points of taste, at the end of the day the most important thing is to have a great cigar, and that’s just what this is. It goes without saying that Mr. Sam will be sticking around for a while.