In 2021, Tabacalera Palma, the factory owned by Jochy Blanco in the Dominican Republic, would celebrate its 85th anniversary. To commemorate the milestone, La Galera Cigars, the premium cigar brand owned by Blanco, would create a pair of cigars known as the La Galera 85th Anniversary. This would be a joint project that was done by Jochy Blanco and his own son José Manuel Blanco. The father and son duo would each create a cigar that would be released under the 85th Anniversary banner. José Manuel would take the lead in developing a Connecticut Broadleaf-wrapped blend while Jochy would take the lead in developing a Connecticut Shade-wrapped offering. Earlier this month we took a look at the La Galera 85th Anniversary Connecticut Broadleaf. Today we take a closer look at the La Galera 85th Anniversary Connecticut Shade offering.
La Galera Cigars is a premium cigar brand owned by Jochy Blanco. For many years, Blanco has been known as one of the leading tobacco growers and of course as the person at the helm of the 85-year-old Tabacalera Palma factory. For many years Blanco focused on growing and cigar production. That would change in 2016 when he would acquire IndianHead Cigars – a value cigar brand. At the same time, he would establish La Galera – which would be his premium cigar arm.
Without further ado, let’s turn our attention back to the La Galera 85th Anniversary Connecticut Shade and see what this cigar brings to the table.
Blend and Origin
In addition to the Ecuadorian Connecticut Shade wrapper, the remainder of the blend of the La Galera 85th Anniversary Connecticut Broadleaf consists of Dominican Corojo for the binder and Piloto Dominicano and Criollo ’98 for the filler. The Dominican tobaccos used in the blend are grown on farms owned by Jochy Blanco. Production for the La Galera 85th Anniversary line comes out of Tabacalera Palma.
Wrapper: Ecuadorian Connecticut Shade
Binder: Dominican Corojo
Filler Piloto Dominicano, Criollo ’98
Country of Origin: Dominican Republic
Factory: Tabacalera Palma
The La Galera 85th Anniversary is offered in a 6 x 52 Toro. The Toro size is used for both the Connecticut Shade and the Connecticut Broadleaf blends. Both blends are packaged in 20-count boxes, each containing ten La Galera Connecticut Shade cigars and ten La Galera Connecticut Broadleaf cigars.
The Ecuadorian Connecticut Shade wrapper on the La Galera 85th Anniversary Connecticut Shade had a classic light golden brown color to it. There wasn’t much in the way of oils on the surface of the wrapper, but the wrapper itself had a silky complexion. There were also some visible veins as well as visible wrapper seams on the surface.
A straight cut was used to remove the cap of the La Galera 85th Anniversary Connecticut Shade. Once the cap was removed, it was on to the pre-light draw stage. The cold draw primarily delivered notes of cream, wood, and cedar. There was also a very subtle bing cherry note that was present. Overall this was a satisfactory pre-light draw experience. At this point, it was time to toast up the La Galera 85th Anniversary Connecticut Shade and see what the smoking phase would have in store.
The La Galera 85th Anniversary Connecticut Shade pretty much picked up where the pre-light draw left off. There were notes of wood, cedar, cream, and that slight amount of bing cherry. There also was a slight amount of pepper that was present. Early on the wood notes moved to the forefront. The cream, cedar, cherry, and black pepper settled into the background. The retro-hale delivered a mix of wood and spice.
Later in the first third of the La Galera 85th Anniversary Connecticut Shade, there was an increase in the cherry notes. As the cigar moved into the second third, the creaminess that was present throughout the first third dissipated. By the midway point, the cherry notes joined the wood in the forefront.
As the cigar experience moved toward the final third, the wood notes subsided into the background. These wood notes were replaced by some earth notes. The earth notes remained in the forefront with the cherry note. There also was an increase in the cedar and pepper notes. The wood notes that were the primary notes early on were still present in the background. This is the way the La Galera 85th Anniversary Connecticut Shade came to a close. The resulting nub was soft to the touch and cool in temperature.
The La Galera 85th Anniversary Connecticut Shade required frequent touch-ups to maintain a straight burn line and straight burn path. While the touch-ups kept the burn on track, there were more touch-ups needed than I prefer. The resulting ash was nearly white in color. This wasn’t a firm ash, but it wasn’t overly loose or flakey either. Both the burn rate and burn temperature maintained ideal levels.
When it came to the draw of the La Galera 85th Anniversary Connecticut Shade, it was on the open side. Normally I prefer a little more resistance on the draw. While the draw was open, it was not loose. This cigar also delivered ample amounts of smoke.
Strength and Body
The La Galera 85th Anniversary Connecticut Shade definitely started out dialed back – namely mild strength and mild to medium-bodied flavors. The mild strength spiked at the end of the last third into medium territory. Meanwhile, the flavors gradually moved to medium-bodied by the last third.
Throughout the smoking experience, the body maintained an edge over the strength, but the gap closed in the last third.
BANDING AND PACKAGING NOTES
The following are the Banding and Packaging Notes when we assessed the La Galera 85th Anniversary Connecticut Broadleaf. The same exact comments apply to the La Galera 85th Anniversary Connecticut Shade.
La Galera has been moving to standardize a lot of its packaging. In the case of the La Galera 85th Anniversary, the cigars use the primary bands that have been used on the La Galera Habano and La Galera Maduro, but it contains a special 85th-anniversary secondary band. In the case of the La Galera 85th Anniversary, I probably would have changed the primary bands to make them stand out better. Still, the banding scheme is quite nice.
As for putting two different blends in one package, I am also not in favor of it. However, when it comes to how the presentation looked for the La Galera 85th Anniversary, it did look quite nice. I just prefer a one blend per one package model.
Except for a slight kick at the end, for the most part, the La Galera 85th Anniversary Connecticut Shade is a traditional, milder, Connecticut Shade cigar. Personally, I do enjoy a cigar like this. The La Galera 85th Anniversary Connecticut Shade wasn’t a bad cigar, but this is simply a case where the cigar had little “wow” factor. In the end, there are other regular production La Galera cigars with a lower price that I would reach for before this more expensive limited one. In the end, this cigar is a case when I would recommend trying a sample first and seeing what you think.
Key Flavors: Wood, Bing Cherry, Earth, Cedar, Cream, Pepper
Burn: Very Good
Draw: Very Good
Strength: Mild (1st 2/3), Medium (Final Third)
Body: Mild to Medium (1st 2/3), Medium (Final Third)
Finish: Very Good
Value: Try a Sample
News: La Galera 85th Anniversary Introduced at 2021 PCA Trade Show
Brand Reference: La Galera
Photo Credits: Cigar Coop
Originally posted on May 26, 2023 @ 12:17 pm