Por Larrañaga: a tale of growth and maturation.


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The panetela is like this kid who's got so much potential, but he's rough around the edges and just not yet sure who he wants to be. Everyone can tell he's brilliant, but they just wish he'd stop trying to talk to them about descartes and klimt. 

 

Then he gets into his late teens and 20s. He's a little more refined now. He's learned that smooth jive and talked himself into more than a few questionable beds. He’s on that Sun Ra tip. He's spicy. You don't see it comin when he cracks you in the jaw for yellin at his dog. He's still got that celestially brilliant character, but he's a complicated lad now. He’s a starving artist. He's a PLMC. 

 

 

Finally he hits his 30s. He's left all the partying and insanity behind him, but he still talks his way into bed - if his rugged good looks don't already find him there. He's given up on resentments toward the world for not conforming to his ideas of utopia. He's happy to just have his role to play and be one with the universe. He's enlightened. He still has that heavy past, but it's made him genuinely kind and sweet instead of bitter and resentful. He's a man, now. He is the man his grandma hoped he would be. He is a PLPC.

 

I’ve left out the picadores, as, although I find it quite a delightful cigar, I don’t think it has the same dna as the other larrañagas. 

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I've become quite enamored of Por Larranaga in the past few years. Here are a few of those that I am currently enjoying: 

PL Petit Coronas: 3 stars

PL Lonsdales German RE: 4 stars

PL Robustos Asian RE: 5 stars

PL Encantos RE: 5 stars

PL Regalias de Londres: 4 stars

PL Picadores: 4 stars

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39 minutes ago, FatherOfPugs said:

The Picadores is a very nice milder, yet flavorful cigar. I've been impressed with those. PLPCs have their day as well, for cheep and cheerful they're pretty good.

Don't get me wrong. I love a picadores. They just don't share the same dna as the panetela, montecarlo, and petit corona, in my opinion. Those three are like a really tightknit family in my opinion - even more like 3 distinct stages of development of the same soul.

I was texting philosophical with @awkwardPause about our shared love of PLs yesterday, and decided to write some prose about how the plp/plmc/plpc seem like a really distinct progression of the same character of cigar.

hence the poem.

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If you like PL Panatela, try various cigarillos and Cohiba Shorts. You may just enjoy the taste or rather the implied value of short filler! Finding what you like, and accepting it, is a big discovery.

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I thoroughly approve, @JohnS! Must have a read of that.

I was going through the tupperdors today (a ritual of mine whenever I’ve been on the road for a while), and came across a box of PL Sobresalientes, the British RE from 2014.

I’ve yet to try one, but they looked gorgeous, even if they are on the chunky side.

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5 hours ago, NSXCIGAR said:

I would agree with the descriptions except that PLPs have been smoking on par with the PLMCs lately. Maybe the best value in CCs today. 

I've never had one I didn't like. They just seem to have a slightly different personality to me. There's an overarching profile in the montecarlos that I, for the longest time, couldn't quite put my finger on. I finally realized it reminded me of a well marbled steak, marinated in chile oil and COCOA, cooked blue. That kaleidoscopic melding of the fatty, bittersweet, spicy and savory (i always taste a sort of pleasantly metallic note - like iron - that i refer to as a beefy flavor - like the blood of a blue rare steak) was present in proportions I haven't experienced in other cigars. The plp has given me the chile and the beef, but never the fat and the cocoa - atleast not the way that the montecarlo delivers it.

5 hours ago, mk05 said:

If you like PL Panatela, try various cigarillos and Cohiba Shorts. You may just enjoy the taste or rather the implied value of short filler! Finding what you like, and accepting it, is a big discovery.

I'm a firm proponent of partagas chicos. They fit a very distinct niche in my smoking pursuits.

4 hours ago, JohnS said:

The growth and maturity of Por Larranaga, as a marca, has certainly seen some interesting times over the years. There's 4 current regular production cigars, but 20 deletions (of which 11 were machine-made) in the post-revolution era, and most of these have been prior to the 1990's and 2000's, when most other marcas, excepting the global brands, had their stocks depleted.

There was a time in the early 2000's when Por Larranaga Petit Coronas (and I believe Montecarlos, but I may stand corrected) were announced for deletion too, but this was averted.

Lately, I have enjoyed reading Zino Davidoff's, "The Connoisseur's Book of the Cigar" and there are a number of great anecdotes in there. One of which no doubt our dear friend, @ayepatz would approve of, is the one of Davidoff describing Orson Welles coming into his shop..."he likes to open every box and even if they're closed, he still buys them. His favourites are Montecristo and Por Larranaga." (N.b, the preceding context to this passage in the book discussing the importance of the cigar connoisseur trusting his merchant with knowing which boxes are good to get, which ones are peaking etc..., much like what many of us do with our host!)

Finally, one of @El Presidente's favourite all-time cigars is a Por Larranaga Magnum. It was deleted in the early seventies, but it holds the distinction of having rare dimensions, 50 ring gauge x 172 mm (or 6.8 inches). It has no factory name, but its common name is a Double Robusto. Wouldn't it be nice to make a comeback?

I would LOVE to see more vitolas represented with PL 'dna'. I'd particularly appreciate if they released a delicoso or laguito no. 1. Good lord... if i could have entreactos with larranaga personality, I would buy them by the master case.

2 hours ago, rcarlson said:

Sun Ra tip.  :lol::lol:  

TBH the whole poem was kind of transferring my own story onto the cigars, lol.

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18 hours ago, JohnS said:

...Por Larranaga Magnum. It was deleted in the early seventies, but it holds the distinction of having rare dimensions, 50 ring gauge x 172 mm (or 6.8 inches). It has no factory name, but its common name is a Double Robusto. Wouldn't it be nice to make a comeback?

Simon Chase recreated this in best efforts via PL Magnifico in 2007. The Magnum is very minerally and floral, with some dehydrated honey finish. There is a Dunhill version of this as well.

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28 minutes ago, NotLawReview said:

I need to get a cab of the PLPCs as I'm a fan of the Panetelas and the MC, just not sure I can take up that much humidor space and keep my hands off of them for the proper amount of time

Trust me... they’re plenty good when young. ?

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15 hours ago, cfc1016 said:

The plp has given me the chile and the beef, but never the fat and the cocoa - atleast not the way that the montecarlo delivers it.

I agree--the PLMC is a more rounded experience from start to finish, but they need time to work out the kinks. No less than 2 years and usually more. I get a lot of dead spots in younger PLMCs and I appreciate the lack of those in the PLPs. The PLP is just lively from start to finish and the best PL with less than 2-3 years without a doubt. Not as complex, but flavorful in every puff and true PL DNA is there.

 

15 hours ago, cfc1016 said:

I'm a firm proponent of partagas chicos. They fit a very distinct niche in my smoking pursuits.

Been a huge fan of the Chicos for over 15 years. I just find the ICT range incomparable to a full-size cigar. Puritos, Clubs and Minis are quick, on-the-go smokes. Even a RyJ Julietas or Monte Joyitas is a much fuller experience than any ICT cigar. That doesn't mean they don't hold their own--the Chicos is a little firecracker stronger than 90% of handmades. A little Cuban gem for sure.

15 hours ago, cfc1016 said:

I would LOVE to see more vitolas represented with PL 'dna'. I'd particularly appreciate if they released a delicoso or laguito no. 1. Good lord... if i could have entreactos with larranaga personality, I would buy them by the master case.

I agree--the PL blend has great appeal and potential. Would love to see some new models in regular production. I appreciate the Picadores but to me they're a bit too refined. I know we'll never get a Coronas or Lonsdale but a Hermosos No. 1, 2 or 3, Coronas Gordas, Campanas or ideally a Laguito Especial would do the marca well I think. This brand having only two long-filler regular production models is a travesty, and forcing us to pay huge premiums for the sporadic ERs that can be inconsistent and hard to acquire.

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52 minutes ago, NotLawReview said:

I need to get a cab of the PLPCs as I'm a fan of the Panetelas and the MC, just not sure I can take up that much humidor space and keep my hands off of them for the proper amount of time

I actually prefer both the PLP and PLMC more than the PLPC when young. I don't think you're missing anything not having the PLPC. Long term, the PLPC is the big kahuna. But that's 5 years at least. And the PLMC is no slouch when aged and also gets a more rounded a bit quicker than the PLPC--around 2-3 years earlier than the PLPC. 

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Just a food for thought before I disappear again. :)

It really depends on how you view Cuban cigars. Personally, I think cigars are very similar to wine. A lot of people you meet will disagree that vintages make a difference, and that depends on their motives, set of experiences, taste, and other qualitative factors. 

I have found PL's post 2013 to be completely unsmokeable, as with almost all Cuban cigars. To me, the raw tobacco is very acrid, sour - reminiscent of underfermented tobacco - sometimes dusty and lacking flavor due to too much poor priming like uno y medio and libre de pie (perfect example, MUO14 Cohiba Robusto).

Granted, China is still learning about Cuban cigars, although seemingly not fast enough - or hasn't learned any lessons from its mistakes in entering Burgundy/Bordeaux. Nevertheless, their skyrocketing demand should not deter you from asking the "why" and "how" of Cuban cigar culture, learning about this lifestyle properly and correctly. Without context, you will never understand anything, make informed decisions about your purchases, or provide qualified assertions. 

So that said, I think you guys should try AT LEAST OEB06-07 and AME12-13 PLPC before opining about "being able to smoke young PLPC," "this is a mongrel," or etc. Without having context of those recent productions, how would you be able to produce a baseline? It would be like starting to drink Burgunday in 2014 and claiming 2011-2013 were amazing years for Burgundy, needing 10 years to mature. Furthermore, who is saying "needs 5 years," "needs 10 years?" PLPC from 2014-2017 does not need any years - these should be smoked as soon as possible before they fossilize into petrified wood. Alternatively, AME13 should be aged for a while since they are truly "mongrels." 

Context is superbly necessary when qualifying. Anyway, back to lurking...

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10 minutes ago, El Presidente said:

There is a line of thought among some that in the world of cigars, everything was a lot better years ago. 

I first came across it in 1996. It hasn't stopped since ;)

 

I was told that the 2012-2013 production crop was a hybrid of final 1996 corojo and cigarette tobacco from the Institute. Add to the factor of amazing weather of 2010-11, it could explain why the cigars were so damned good for 2012-2013.

No good tobacco found in 2013-2016, and that information was available via Granma, but from my research during the past several years, I believe that production in 2019 should be similar to 2013. 2018 stuff is already approaching "ok" from rancid. Look how unctuous Talisman OR was! I am always hopeful~~~

Again, this is just my opinion and perspective!

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I was told that the 2012-2013 production crop was a hybrid of final 1996 corojo and cigarette tobacco from the Institute. Add to the factor of amazing weather of 2010-11, it could explain why the cigars were so damned good for 2012-2013.
No good tobacco found in 2013-2016, and that information was available via Granma, but from what I had read, spoken to, etc in past several years, production in 2019 should be similar to 2013. I am always hopeful~~~

You're flattering arrogance continues to astound me Mr mk, it is very educational.
EML14>AME13
Enjoy your evening.
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