When you’re first getting into cigars, and you would like to try something beyond the cheap brands in terms of flavour and experience, there’s a good chance your local tobacco shop will point you towards a Padrón. This brand has established itself as the source of good value, high quality entry level cigars. José Orlando Padrón, coming from a long family history of tobacco growing in Cuba, started his own cigar company in 1964 using American tobacco. As his market changed he needed a more reliable supply of materials and took a big risk, opening a cigar factory far from home in Estelí, Nicaragua. The basic Padrón series has been made with this source since 1970. José survived some serious roadblocks along the way, with a burned down factory, civil war in Nicaragua, and American trade embargoes.
Build: Handmade with all Nicaraguan wrapper, binder and filler
Size: 127 x 19.54 mm (5″ x 50)
Price: $4 USD
The wonderful thing about Padron cigars, especially this entry level brand, is that the experience builds with every point of the smoking experience. First the price, which is cheap, lowering your expectations. The outer appearance will raise your interest though, since despite being lumpy, crooked and veiny, the wrappers do have a deep colour and good sheen. The prelight aroma is suberb and rich, bringing to mind all of the volcanic material that produced the soil the tobacco was grown on and the other great produce of Nicaragua. Cocoa, coffee, rich spices and earth.
The draw is clean and slightly loose. After lighting, the cigar starts fairly full in flavour and body. Dominating the palate are flavours of ground cocoa and beef, almost like a rare steak with a rich gravy. I expected to tire of the strength but found that as I progressed through the smoke it didn’t cloy or leave bitterness in my mouth and since we had appetizers on the table it was very bearable. A predictable creaminess joined the party in the last third, and the burn was even the whole time. I didn’t get right to the nub but I left this cigar feeling very positive about it and having now tried several Padron cigars this is a brand I will continue to follow.