Out of the Humidor

La Palina 1896 Limited Edition

Bill Paley is the grandson of Samuel Paley, who arrived in the U.S. from the Ukraine in the late 1800s and began working as a lector in a cigar factory. Eventually, Sam traded his books and newspapers for a chaveta (a semi-circular blade) and tobacco leaves and began working as a roller and then a blender. In 1896, Sam opened his own cigar shop in Chicago and named it Congress Cigar Company.  The shop had an adjoining factory that made cigars daily to sell in the shop.  Its house brand was “La Palina” (a Spanish take on his surname) and honored Sam’s wife Goldie Drell Paley, whose beautiful likeness adorned the cigar’s label.

In 1910, The Congress Cigar Company moved to Philadelphia and welcomed Sam’s son William S. Paley as VP of advertising. To help drive awareness for the cigars, William created the “La Palina Hour,” a local radio show.  He enjoyed the experience so much that he decided to purchase a few stations of his own and formed The Tiffany Network.  Later, the Tiffany Network became the initiation for a much larger company called Columbia Broadcasting System.

The “La Palina” brand changed hands over the years after Congress Cigar closed in 1926. Today, Bill Paley has brought the brand back. Bill’s love of cigars, particularly Cubans, led him to the great Avelino Lara, a famous Cuban master blender who left Cuba to work as the head of the Graycliff Cigar Factory in Nassau, Bahamas.  Together, Bill and Avelino worked to create the ideal blend, and as a result, the La Palina brand is alive again.

The first release of the La Palina 1896 Limited Edition will be a limited production cigar—one size, one blend.  The 5.75-inch x 52 robustos will be packed in boxes of 10 cigars ($190 for a box), each one adorned with an updated band embossed with gold but featuring the same likeness of Bill’s grandmother, Goldie. A blend of tobaccos from Nicaragua, Honduras, Costa Rica, and Ecuador, the cigar smokes with wonderful finesse offering a rich, balanced taste that would make Bill’s forefathers proud.