In 2010, Tony Bellatto and Craig Rossi started their own cigar brand. They were youthful, just out of school, and had a passion for cigars. They started researching how to create a cigar brand, and what they needed to provide for their fans from a brand’s perspective. Bellatto and Rossi named their brand La Barba, Spanish for “The Beard”, which they thought represented them appropriately. The two wanted to make a brand that concentrated on small batch cigars, and the craftsmanship of premium cigars. They have only released three blends since the organization’s initiation in 2010.
This cigar was reviewed blind (no bands) by a panel of at least 4 reviewers. They did not know what they were smoking beforehand. The scores are an average of all the reviewers' scores with outliers removed. All of our cigars reviewed are shipped to the panelists with Boveda packs to ensure optimal smoking experience.
The 2013 release of Purple was assisted by Christian Eiroa and was produced in the Wynwood Cigar Factory in Miami. This time around Tony Bellatto and Craig Rossi teamed up with Robert Caldwell of the Caldwell Cigar Co. and William Ventura of Tabacalera William Ventura. Today we are reviewing the La Barba | Purple Robusto.
La Barba rolled out a few changes for the brand in 2016 including new branding for all the three of their regular production lines as well as a limited offering, a Dominican-centered re-blend of their unique La Barba Red, and new distribution under Caldwell’s Down and Back LLC. Also in 2016 La Barba Purple wen through some changes, and in addition moving from 10 to 12 count packaging.
Caldwell and Bellatto have collaborated previous to this blend. The Impromptu line of cigars was blended by the pair featuring rare tobaccos in extremely small runs. La Barba Purple uses a few a rare tobacco leaf known as Carbonell. This leaf takes its name from the family that has been growing the leaf in small quantities for about 100 years. The leaf is said to have mild and smooth textures with a robust aroma.
Ring Gauge: 50
Country of Origin: Honduras
Wrapper: HVA Habano Ecuadorian
Binder: Dominican Corojo
Filler: Corojo / HVA Habano / Carbonell
Factory: Tabacalera William Ventura
Blender: Tony Bellatto
Number of reviewers: 5 – Mickey T.(irratebass) John A.(John A.) Jason H.(Jokey Smurf) David F. (dfafjf)Isaac M.(The Nothing)
Age: 4 Months
Release Date: 2014
Contributed by: La Barba
“This cigar had a couple of heavy veins, looked like they were in the binder, that showed through the wrapper in the upper third. There was a hard knot under the cap that did cause cap damage.” –Isaac M. (The Nothing)
“I am only getting bread on both the body and foot.” –Mickey T. (irratebass)
“Once again, as in the the cold draw, I only get bread. Not really much going on flavor wise, but it’s a good smoke regardless.” –Mickey T. (irratebass)
“A great combination of honey, cream, and black pepper create a heavenly combination for the start! The draw is a bit iffy and takes some babysitting to keep the burn alive, a wavy burn line starts as well. The end of this third ends the same way it started.” –John A. (John A.)
“The second portion of this cigar lost all traces of sweetness and picked up a peppery leather note that left a dirty after taste on my palate. It wasn’t unpleasant, just reminiscent of digging and having a flake of clean soil hit my lips.” –Jason H. (Jokey Smurf)
“Pepper spice still present but not building in the 2nd 1/3. Leather and earthy notes increasing. I’m having a hard time picking up more than the slight leather and earthy flavors.” –David Franks (David Franks)
“Ok this cigar is really taking shape now, Getting wood as mentioned before with bread, and some kind of sweetness. Why couldn’t the whole smoke have been like this?” –Mickey T. (irratebass)
“I wish this last third started sooner. Flavors shift to a pleasant fruity creamy spiciness. Leather peaks its head through ever so often and the the fruitiness disappears.” –John A. (John A.)
“This cigar had what I would consider a pretty much perfect draw. I had no complaints.” –Isaac M. (The Nothing)
“A few issues keeping the burn alive, wavy burn, which corrected itself.” –John A. (John A.)
“Cigar held up great. Tight ash throughout the smoke. While it wasn’t a very pleasant looking cigar, it smoked very well.” –David Franks (David Franks)
Overall Strength: Medium
Overall Body/Complexity: Medium
Experience Overall: 89
“The cigar started out one dimensional and stayed that way sadly until the final third. This is not a bad thing really, I was just kinda expecting more from such a great looking stick. I just got bread until about the end and it transitioned into wood, sweet tobacco and of course bread.” –Mickey T. (irratebass)
“It was… good. I can’t say I’d really recommend smoking another nor could I recommend it as a yard gar as it requires too much attention to keep lit. The flavor profile was alright but not complex at all. Overall average smoke that could be easily beaten by the plethora of choices out there right now.” –John A. (John A.)
“I really enjoyed the beginning and end of this cigar… I’m being that some significant rest would smooth this out nicely. As it is, this is worth another try… Particularly with a good stout or IPA.” –Jason H. (Jokey Smurf)
“The best thing about the cigar was the smells I detected before lighting. Flavors were not complex but the cigar did have a enjoyable spice.” –David Franks (David Franks)
“The appearance and aroma of this cigar would have caused me to pass on this cigar in any other situation. In the end, however, I couldn’t get enough. It’s quite different from what I regularly smoke and kept me entertained from start to finish. I was, needless to say, impressed. I was disappointed in the cigar falling off right in the middle, if that hadn’t happened, I would certainly find more immediately.” –Isaac M. (The Nothing)
To view the complete scores and notes, click here.
Blind Cigar Review: La Barba | Purple Robusto
Overall Score – 89 – Good
Blind Cigar Review: La Barba | Purple Robusto
"I really enjoyed the beginning and end of this cigar... I'm being that some significant rest would smooth this out nicely. As it is, this is worth another try... Particularly with a good stout or IPA." -Jason H. (Jokey Smurf)