At PipesandCigars.com, we’ve proudly carried La Perla Habana for a long time. Even though my tastes run to big, bold cigars, I’ve really enjoyed La Perla Habana Morado, with a Cameroon wrapper, and Black Pearl, a satisfying maduro. One thing that Doug Wood, the creator of LPH, has is a sense of history, and last year, he realized that the city of Havana would be 500 years old, since it was established in 1515. The idea behind his brand is to pay testament to the classic Cuban cigar, so when he came up with the concept of celebrating Havana’s anniversary, he determined that this would have to be a very special cigar to be called La Perla Habana 1515.
He approached AJ Fernandez to help him bring his idea to fruition, and why not? After all, AJ was born and raised in Cuba and learned the art of crafting fine cigars from the legendary Don Alejandro Robaina, who helped re-establish the industry in Cuba. They selected a rich Ecuadorian Habano wrapper to begin the project. This silky medium-brown capa makes for a striking appearance, and is a remarkably flavorful leaf. An Ecuadorian Sumatra binder was added for spice and sweetness, and the package was completed with a Pan-Nicaraguan blend of long-fillers from Esteli, Jalapa and Condega. I was told that this would be well-suited to me, due to my full-bodied preferences. I was given a 6.2″x52 torpedo (not my favorite vitola) to sample.
To say that this is an attractive cigar wouldn’t do it justice. The milk chocolate colored wrapper is finely-veined and shiny. The band is tastefully done, pulling in classic elements from the La Perla legacy, and it’s clad in cedar from the band down with “500 Anos” and the founding date and 2015 printed on it. It’s finished off with a nice foot band. I clipped the tip of the torpedo and checked the draw, which was just about ideal. The pre-light draw smacked of earthy notes along with a dark fruit hint. I toasted the foot and began to give it a run.
The first few puffs revealed a nice touch of sweetness and spice. As the cigar progressed, the main flavors were espresso and earth with some sweet wood notes. There was a bit of white pepper in the background, which gave it a pleasant balance. The construction was spot-on for the first third of the cigar, and the flavor became a bit richer further on, but remained balanced. As it approached the halfway point, the burn got a bit crooked, but it evened out pretty quickly. The spice began to develop a bit more, and the sweetness took on a darker character.
About two-thirds of the way, a bit of cocoa crept in and the cedary notes faded a bit. The sweetness remained and the pepper was even more noticeable. This suited me fine, as I like cigars that morph as I smoke them. I often find that torpedos can get a little hot near the end, but this one never did, and the burn remained solid. The last bit was even more spicy, but it remained balanced. It’s certainly full-bodied, but it never became overwhelming, and I could definitely see keeping this one in my rotation, but next time, it’ll be a toro for me.