La Palina "Goldie No. 5" Review: An American-Made Habano a Decade in Waiting

Rereleased at the 2023 PCA Trade Show, a full decade after its initial debut, the No. 5 vitola of Goldie by La Palina was easily one of the more eagerly anticipated limited-release cigars of the show.

And while this flag-capped "robusto extra" was rolled to the tune of 1,000 boxes down at El Titan de Bronze in Miami, there are only ten sticks per box. Luckily, a few boxes did make their way into our walk-in Klaro humidor, where each stick sat untouched for quite some time.

The reason for this was simple: The cigar itself needed some additional aging.

When I smoked one back in the fall, I found it to be a little too green-tasting to be deemed ready for promotion, so we decided to let these smokes sit for a few additional months.

This has done wonders for this ultra-rare premium cigar blend, as that additional aging gave the blend precisely what it needed to iron out its rougher edges. It's a blend that serves as an honorary nod to the women of the cigar industry, as well as owner Bill Paley's grandmother, and one that will likely benefit from further aging.

[Buy 5-Pack]

Unlit Impressions  

La Palina "Goldie No. 5" Review

Physically, I find this cigar to be damn near ideal when it comes to its presence. It feels solid in the hand, almost to the point of being overfilled, with not a single soft spot or uneven crease to be detected. It's also one of the lightest habano-wrapped cigars I have ever encountered, with the Ecuadorian outer leaf being extremely smooth to the touch and quite shiny. 

On the appropriately pigmented band that is emblazoned in bright gold, sits a bust of Goldie herself. The matriarch of the La Palina cigar brand sits smiling a mere few centimeters beneath a flawlessly finished cap that terminates with a tight little pigtail twist and finishing flag.

Aromas down the barrel are mild, with toasted bread, hay, grass, and a tangy cedar sweetness rounding it out. The foot provides a more lively expression, where your nostrils receive nutmeg and clove notes, but only after being hit with smells of brown sugar and more hay. White pepper makes an attempt at being notable too, but ultimately becomes overwhelmed by these other aromatics. 

Cold pulls are very fluid, and provide a deeper expression of what you find in the foot, but with more sweetness and spice. It's a bright, grassy, medium-flavored experience that touches you with a little marshmallow vanilla before disappearing. 

Initial Smoke

La Palina "Goldie No. 5" Review

Unlike the crazy tasty, but rather strong Kill Bill Part 2 by La Palina I reviewed a few months back, power is not what this blend is all about. However, that doesn't mean that it isn't going to give you a little jab just for starters. Black and white pepper, and some spiced cinnamon heat, followed by a little bit of brown sugar and a toasty, buttery Ritz cracker note mark your starting point with this smoke.

1st Half     

La Palina Goldie Review

Within no time, those flavors of buttery Ritz crackers turn to whole grain cereal and honey-coated walnuts, and that rush of dried hay returns. Miniscule amounts of clove and nutmeg are also present, which when blended with the above, turn Goldie into a chewy, delicately spiced cigar.

The golden, honey-colored Ecuadorian habano wrapper does a bang-up job of keeping body and strength on the lower end of medium, allowing flavors to gradually build toward dead-center medium as the first half transitions. 

Speaking of flavor transitions, there really aren't that many to be detected at this point. Just a gentle shift from one flavor to another at times, with some notes staying put and opting for either an increase in intensity or a cake-like bready sweetness. What does become detectable as you go though, is the medio tiempo leaf inside, which cranks up the spiciness of the cigar in minute but notable increments.

2nd Half    

La Palina "Goldie No. 5" Review

Deeper into the second third of the stick, a more round cigar flavor profile takes its turn, and things get a little edgier. The white pepper returns, and with it comes a bitterness that is more of a faint nutty afternote than a bite. This arrives closer to the start of the final third and provides a nice contrast to the other tastes of the cigar.

These flavors ride atop waves of walnut and more grassy flavors, which are pleasant but a little bit of an old hat trick by this point. On a bright note, the cigar remains very light and playful, especially when retrohaled. Doing so peppers your palate and nostrils with potshots of medio tiempo sun-grown strength here and there, balanced by a lingering honey aromatic. It's nothing astounding, but something I would label as refreshing and energetic.

Parting Puffs    

La Palina "Goldie No. 5" Review

This is another one of those cigars that prefers to save the best for last, at least once it has been adequately aged. The first sample stick smoked had a very green-tasting final third and parting puffs were near astringent at times in their tartness and bitterness. 

But oh what a few months of age can do for a cigar, with Goldie now sporting a malted milk finish that tricks you for a moment into thinking that this blend is darker than it is. Increasingly nutty, and rounder than ever, I smoked this last sample stick down to the point where my fingers were on fire.

Ash / Burn / Smoke / Draw 


La Palina "Goldie No. 5" Review

So here's the catch with this blend, while the first cigar needed but a couple of touch-ups along the way, the review cigar seen here was a far more finicky stick. Uneven burns that force you to break out your torch lighter every fifteen minutes or so are never any fun, thus damaging the overall score for poor ol' Goldie.

She also did not give me nearly as much smoke as her open draw teased. I could feel the pull, but each exhale produced but a fraction of the smoke I was promised. The same could be said for the smoke circling from the ash, as it was never more than a wisp.

A certain level of praise is due, however, for how cool this cigar burned, as well as for the sturdiness of the ash itself once it was allowed to build.  

Final Thoughts   

La Palina "Goldie No. 5" Review

Setting this cigar down for a few additional months proved to be a smart move on our behalf. And while there were some glaring issues with the burn of the cigar I reviewed on film, there was little else to gripe about on a major scale.

Sure, the wrapper had some greenish-grey discolorations here and there, and was quick to flake if looked at from the wrong angle, but that's alright. 

Ok, so the second third was a bit of a letdown and merely carried over many of the tastes from the first third instead of embellishing them. But I can overlook that due to the fact that it produces many of the same sensations as the utterly outstanding La Palina White Label. Plus, the final third and parting puffs border on being labeled as outright bliss, so there's that to consider as well.

Goldie is a class act that benefits from a little bit of extra aging and is a smoke that has been (for the most part) well-planned and produced. Smooth and steady, with a light, "golden" energy and flavor make for one very pleasant cigar.

The tough part now is finding a way to get ahold of this blend, because last we checked everyone else was already sold out. If only there were a cigar membership club that had some of these limited-release sticks still sitting around on a shelf somewhere...

La Palina Goldie No. 5 Review

Stogie Specs


La Palina "Goldie No. 5"


Habano (Ecuador)




Dominican Republic & Nicaragua




5 ⅝" x 54 "Robusto Extra"



Pairing Drink

Mitsuya Craft Cola



Leave a comment

Please note, comments need to be approved before they are published.