Allow me to introduce you to Jochy Blanco. He’s one of the best tobacco growers in the world. José “Jochy” Arnaldo Blanco III is a fourth-generation tobacco grower, a second-generation cigar maker, and the CEO of Tabacalera Palma in the Dominican Republic. It’s in his blood. His great grandfather, Manuel Blanco Lozada, started growing tobacco when he emigrated from Spain to the Dominican Republic in the mid-1800s. In 1925, Jochy’s father, José Arnaldo Blanco II, founded Tabacalera Palma, which made him one of the country’s earliest cigar makers. @tabacalerapalma is their instagram handle. You want to talk about a legacy? The kind of thing all the other guys are trying to claim? This is the real deal. Jochy made the Good Morning/Uncle Paulie’s Deli for us. Jochy does have a brand called La Galera, but our relationship with this farm is going to bring out the best damn cigars they ever made. Jochy is allowing us to rummage through the cigars he makes and pick the winners. Take this French Collection for example. Jochy visits France from time to time to explore vineyards and 300-year-old churches. On a trip about 5 years ago he visited an art gallery, and noticed many Old Master painters focused on religious figures as their subject matter. He was intrigued and started to research these figures, mostly cardinals. He became inspired to make cigars named after a few of them, that would pair well with wines. Art inspiring art. His ode to France and its rich history of wine, art and culture. No one could understand the branding, so they decided against selling them as a line, but these cigars were so damn good Jochy didn’t mind taking up some space and aging them for his own stash. Luckily, Privada came along and started doing some digging. Jochy offered, we tried the sticks and immediately decided to take most of them. He accepted, and this is the cigar you have in your hands. You may not get this exact cigar again, but we will have a few other items from the collection in the shop.
Tasting Notes: On the body I get natural tobacco and cola with vanilla notes. The foot is sweet cedar and rich tobacco. The cold draw is salty with dried apricot. The first third starts with cola, cedar, white pepper, toffee, vanilla and sweet cereal that reminds me of frosted flakes. The second third doesn’t change much but fruitiness is present. Wood, leather, cinnamon, sweet hay, and phantom flavors of violet. It’s getting toasty with roasted hazelnuts and peaty leather. The final third is sweet and buttery and salty minerals appear. There are florals along with a cashew-like creaminess. The cola comes back and reminds me of those gummy coke bottles that no one but me likes. lol.
Pairing Notes: Drink a cola (think RC or A-treat). Try a rum and coke with this. Eat gummy cola bottles an hour before. Cognac or aged rum. Peated Scotch. Dried apricots. Amber lager. After vanilla ice cream. Cinnabon. After red meat. HUGE SHOUT OUT to @tabacalerapalma Show these guys love so they keep letting me raid their vaults!! #weareprivada