Caution: WIDE load Greeby You recognize that mug to the left of this review? You should. No, I’m not that cocky of a fellow. But I am the poor schmuck who got dubbed John Freebie in the catalog. An event that has forever changed my life… alas, It hasn’t been all bad. I quickly became a bit of a CI celebrity. For starters, the Bethlehem locals love me. When I go to the bar, people shout, “hay…you…you that guy from the catawog…from international cigars place.” Close enough, yeah…that’s me. And besides riveting conversations at the bar, I’ve also made quite a bit of headway with the ladies. Man…I really started cleaning up. Both my Mom and my Grandmother put me up on their fridge. I never got that kind of attention before. But now, a new chapter of my time at CI is being written right now. That’s right, this is my first staff review. No more coffee runs and cleaning the bathrooms for me, I’m in the big leagues. I better not botch this too bad, or the days of rockin’ Scrubbing Bubbles cologne is just around the corner. For the longest time, the boss man has been giving me the hairy eyeball to do a staff review. So, after he damn near had a conniption-fit, I knew I better get my rear in gear. I made my selection, and began writing at a feverish clip. But then Jeff threw the new La Perla Habana WIDE on my desk, and like all new product, I had to give it a whirl. After just a few puffs, I deleted what I had jogged down and started over. This, I decided, was the perfect cigar for my first review. To be blunt, big ring cigars aren’t my bag. My max is usually around a 55-56 (luckily the Robusto in the line is a 55-ring, for the guys out there that feel the same way). So you can understand my hesitation when I went to snip this 5.5”x62 chunky Torpedo. A quick snip on my part revealed a draw that was just right – not too tight and not too loose – a perfect medium. The cigar itself felt solid too, packed with tobaccos and containing only one soft spot. The pre-light draw was chocolaty, slightly sweet, and had a bit of a hay-like note. I quickly toasted the foot, and lit it with ease. I took a puff or two, and after the third…I was hooked. Rich, smooth, and dense smoke immediately swarmed my palate. A nice dose of molasses intertwined perfectly with cocoa and hints of toasty tobacco. What really took me by surprise was the smoothness...it was like slicing through butter. At this point I had to get my hands on the stats. And to say I was impressed is putting it lightly. At play is at three country long-filler mix from Honduras, Nicaragua and Costa Rica, all snugly presented within a Pennsylvania Broadleaf wrapper and a Honduran binder. No wonder this thing was so damn tasty…it’s a friggin’ cornucopia of delicious tobaccos. I kept at this thing for a solid hour and a half, with the profile remaining at an even keel, never backing down, and yet never overpowering. Medium-bodied and delightful. In the end, I was disappointed I had to put it down, because I only had two complaints. Although flavorful, it wasn’t overly complex. There was ample flavor there, yes, but it never truly shifted or transitioned into anything else. Sometimes that’s a good thing, and I think it works for this cigar. But sometimes you need that roller coaster ride to keep you on your toes. This qualm, coupled with the enormous ring-gauge, took it down a few pegs for me. But if you’re into girthy cigars, I’d say this one deserves a few extra points. All around, La Perla Habana WIDE was a nice surprise. One thing is for certain, I’m jonesin’ to give the Robusto size a go. You can’t smoke the box, it’s a true statement. But when you’re investing in a box of cigars, it’s worth noting. And in this instance, it’s hard not to mention. WIDE fuses the traditional La Perla Habana model, with a more modern approach. Sounds like it could yield some funky results, but LPH pulled it off. What can I say…I guess I just like the pretty ladies. The biggest shock was when I checked out our everyday price. In a box for around $3-$4 apiece. Considering the smoke time on this bad boy, that’s a helluva value. All in all, it’s unlike anything I’ve seen from the La Perla camp. Give it a whirl, I think a lot of you guys are gonna dig it.