La Barba is a relatively new cigar company run by Tony Bellatto and Craig Rossi. The company was started back in 2010. The quote below was pulled from their website and seems to wrap up their vision in a nutshell.
La Barba embodies the idea of the individual, focusing on the idea that everyone is different, their palates included. We will offer a dynamic array of small batch, limited edition products as well as a core group of static products. Focusing solely on quality and small production.
The La Barba Purple is the second release from Tony and Craig. Tony has worked on a few additional projects like Impromptu Cigars collaborative with Robert Caldwell.
La Barba Purple
Size: 5 x 50
Wrapper: HVA Habano Ecuadorian
Binder: Dominican Corojo
Filler: Corojo, HVA Habano and a rare varietal called Carbonell
Factory: Tabaclera William Ventura
Samples for review provided by La Barba Cigars
Quick Note: For this review I used the Cigar Federation rating system.
You can view it in detail here.
Pre-Light: The la Barba purple has a simple yet ornate look about it. The band is purple and gold (Laker fan?) and features a open straight razor. The logo reminds me of Sweeney Todd which is one of the few musicals that I actually like. But that is neither here nor there.
The HVA Habano Ecuador wrapper has a bright golden (almost orange) color to it and smells of cedar, mild spice and a caramel sweetness. The cold draw was clean and offered up notes of graham cracker and a bold white spice.
Beginning: The cold draw warned that the Purple was going to start out with some spice. A bold white pepper spice dominated the retrohale while notes of caramel and cedar rested on the tongue. The white pepper dominated the first half inch or so and I was worried that this trend was going to continue. After the half inch mark the white pepper mellowed just enough to let the caramel, cedar and a new toasty bread note to gain a foothold.
Middle: The complex profile put on an impressive balancing act. The white pepper was mainly present on the retro while the caramel, cedar and toast were present on the tongue. The strength was the medium range, but grew to a medium plus as the I approached the final third. The caramel sweetness combines exceptionally well with the toasted bread note on the finish.
End: The white pepper came back with a vengeance! The white pepper had been present on the retro since the first puff and toward the end it took up residence on the tongue as well. Unfortunately, this led to the pepper dominating all the other flavors.
Final Thoughts: I think the La Barba Purple is a special and unique cigar. The flavor profile was right up my ally with just enough strength to take m out of my comfort zone. The end was a bit of a disappointment, but I attribute this to it being a somewhat "fresh" cigar. The cigar I smoked came from a "samples" batch and I don't believe it had the same amount of "rest" time that the full run of Purples will. With that being said, I really enjoyed the Purple and feel like it will climb my Top New Release list as the year goes on.
Rating: 90 AKA "Box Split"
I really dig the flavor profile that Tony and Craig came up with. The balance of sweet and spice was impressive and I feel the aging potential is great. The La Barba Purple is a really good cigar now and I think it will be fantastic as time passes. Keep an eye on La Barba and grab some of the Purples when they are released in September.