Tuesday, August 19, 2014

La Perla Habano Morado Belicoso
Size: 6.2 x 52
Wrapper: African Cameroon
Binder/Filler: Nicaraguan
Price:  $9.50

I have conflicted feelings about this cigar, and really the whole brand.  I first discovered LPH Black Pearl in 2006.  I tried the Cobre first—didn’t like the first one, but really enjoyed the second. Next came the Rojo.  My review at the time praised the flavors but noted my frustration with construction issues.  For many years thereafter, La Perla Habana disappeared from the online cigar sites, but I still ran across them from time to time at brick and mortar shops for around $10 each.  About two years ago, all of a sudden, they were back on Cigars International and CigarBid at ridiculously low prices. I grabbed a box of these 93-rated Morados for less than $2 per stick.

After a year of aging, they have been a mixed bag. The best cigars in the box have developed a nice faint toothiness on the wrapper.  These cigars have a pungent pre-light aroma of oak and pepper.  Once you light up, you get an initial blast of pepper (like a Pepin black label) followed by nuts (like a Gran Habano #3) with that special tangy Cameroon under-note. Some of these cigars, the ones with the toothy wrappers, stay on the full side of medium-full; others lose the pepper spice altogether and then slip into a rather nondescript medium body. 

Some cigars burn straight and true, while others draw tight and require frequent touch-ups.  I’ve noticed about half these cigars seem to have been rolled too tight, especially under the band.  Cigars with this problem tend to dry out between the cap and the band, meaning they burn fast and hot at the foot, but the draw is still not loose enough. 

This cigar pairs well with anCnoc 12-year old single malt, a light-body scotch with pronounced lemon citrus flavors.