Tag Archives: padron

Introduction to the Joys of the Premium Cigar – Padron 1964 Anniversary

I got distracted and forgot it was Wednesday, so I’m reproducing the first article I had published in Prime Living Magazine three years ago. I featured the Padron Padron1964 Anniversary Exclusivo Maduro, and, considering the recent passing of Jose O. Padron yesterday, I thought this would be appropriate. My sincere condolences to the Padron family on the passing of their patriarch, an impressive man by any standard.


Premium cigars are something I’ve grown to love over the last eighteen years. I see hand rolled cigars as an affordable luxury, a daily vacation, if you will, not something I need to have every day. Of course, these are more than just a bunch of leaves rolled up, and when you understand the time and artistry that goes into the cigar, it magnifies the appreciation. As I hold a favorite cigar in my hand, for instance, a Padrón 1964 Anniversary Series Exclusivo from Nicaragua, I realize that the seeds for the leaves in this cigar were planted a minimum of three years ago!


In the short two or three months the plant takes to mature, it’s tended to by people in the fields. Over the course of about a month, the leaves are harvested by hand, carefully and meticulously from the bottom of the plant to the top. After the leaves are picked, they are hung in barns to cure, again, by hand. Once the leaves have turned brown in the barn, another one or two months, they are sorted and placed in piles, called pilons, where they ferment. The temperature in the middle of the pilon is monitored, and it’s rotated, by hand, perhaps several times over several months until the temperature stabilizes and the leaf has the desired color and texture. The leaves are re-sorted, always by size and color and baled up to be stored in a climate controlled warehouse for a year or more. It’s important to realize that, by this point, perhaps one hundred or more people have been involved in the process.


At some point in this whole process, some tobacco genius has figured out that somewhere between three and up to ten different tobaccos from all over the world, different places on the plants, and different levels of fermentation will taste good together. These tobaccos need to be rolled into cigars by skilled artisans, and it’s not as easy as you’d think. In the simplest terms, the roller has to take all the leaves in the cigar’s “recipe” and fold them in such a way that air may be drawn through the cigar, and the leaves are distributed evenly so every cigar tastes the same. Then he has to do this 150 to 300 times a day! AND, other rollers have to do it to! Box after box, year after year. When you think about it, it’s a miracle that cigars can be as affordable a luxury as they are.


At the beginning of this article I mentioned the Padrón 1964 Anniversary Series Exclusivo, a 51⁄2” x 50 ring gauge cigar from Nicaragua. This is a cigar that can be counted on to always have bold flavors of coffee and cocoa, cigar after cigar, year after year. The company that makes these has been around for 50 years, and continues to produce exceptional cigars.They have a bunch of special editions besides this one (look for a 50th anniversary edition this year), and they continue to produce consistently great cigars which are a widely available and a good example of what a Nicaraguan cigar should be. Understanding the myriad steps involved in the manufacture of a hand rolled, premium cigar really enhances the pleasure and appreciation for me.


It’s important to understand that this article was written for a mainstream publication, it was meant as an introduction for those who may not be familiar with the art of the cigar. Until the next time,





Filed under Editorial, Review

Fourth of July Cigars, a La Flor Dominicana and a Caldwell

Monday was the Independence Day Holiday, and my wife and my 29th wedding anniversary. I know, Independence Day, getting married….it’s a bit ironic, but we figured at least we’d always have the day off, and Montecristo_No2there would always be something somewhere to do. over the last 15 or so years I have made a point to smoke a Havana cigar as a form of  celebration and of civil disobedience. I like to think the founding fathers would be pleased if they stopped rolling in their graves long enough to notice. Sometimes this works out great, other times it’s a disaster, and this time was somewhere in the middle. I’ve smoked some fantastic Montecristo No.2s over the last 20 years, and I’ve smoked some sucky ones. This one fell in the middle somewhere, as it was just a good cigar. I had been given this cigar last year, and I don’t know what the vintage was, so maybe I should have left it in the humidor for another four or five years. Most of the problem was with the draw, the flavor was good, although milder than I recall. It had the classic “twang” and a hint of citrus I expect from a Montecristo I could have dug a little further and found a Havana or two with sufficient age, but I was lazy, and the classic Monte 2 called out to me. After a great dinner out with my bride, I enjoyed the heck out of a Padron Anniversary Exclusivo Maduro that is the quintessential dessert cigar!


LaFlorDominincana_AirbenderMaduro_ChiselLater in the week I was moving humidors around and spied a La Flor Dominicana Air Bender Maduro Chisel. I assumed it was the maduro because I think by this point I know the difference, and the natural Air Bender is quite a bit lighter. This is a 6½” x 54 cigar with their patented (or is it trademarked, I’m not certain) Chisel shape, like a torpedo, but with a flattened head, not unlike a pipe mouthpiece. I’ve had success squeezing these to open them, but this time I tried a V-cut across the head. It looked pretty cool, but wasn’t giving me the draw I wanted, so I ended up lopping an eighth of an inch off to open it up a little. While the Air Bender isn’t quite as full-bodied as the Double Ligero line, it’s still a reasonable strong cigar, with rich flavor and a bit of a kick. La Flor Dominicana makes some awesome cigars, and this is one of them. They are almost always satisfying. the Air Bender uses a binder and fillers grown on their own farms in the Dominican Republic, and a very pretty, dark Habano wrapper. These are a treat every time I light one up.


Caldwell_TheKingisDead_DiamondGirlFriday I wrapped up another week with a cigar I had some trepidation about.  Las year I caught up with Robert Caldwell at a local shop and bought a handful of his cigars to try. I’ve enjoyed his Blind Man’s Bluff line, but I had so much trouble with the Long Live the King cigars that I was worried I’d have similar problems with The King is Dead. the Long Live the Kings I smoked had such construction problems that they just pissed me off, both because I hate it when a pricey cigar doesn’t work right, and I hate wasting my valuable smoking time fighting with a cigar. It’s just not relaxing for me to have a cigar that doesn’t work right. So I decided to try this the Caldwell King is Dead Diamond Girl, a 6 ½” x 42 pigtail cigar. The blend information provided on the website is exceptional, it’s listed as: Capa (that’s the wrapper): Negrito Dominicano – 2008, Banda (that would be the binder, sometimes called “capote”): Corojo Dominicano – 2006, Tripa (filler…think tripe, yuck): Corojo Ligero Dominicano 30% – 2006, Tripa: Negrito Viso Dominicano 20% – 2008 and Tripa: HVA 20/20 50% – 2010. I think Steve Saka is the only cigar maker who is more specific in his blend information. This cigar smoked great, with some wood and cocoa flavors and solidly medium bodied to me. I’m glad I finally smoked this one.


That’s it for now. As you can see, I still seem to be grabbing shaped cigars here and there, not sure what that’s all Hemingway Classic SGabout, but I like torpedos and perfectos.  Sunday I stopped by Holt’s in Center City Philadelphia and enjoyed a Fuente Hemingway Classic Sungrown, another pefecto. It was a fantastic cigar, and while I was there  I had the pleasure of meeting and smoking with former Phillies player and broadcaster Gary Matthews, who I saw play countless times in my youth. He was a super nice guy, and apparently a regular visitor to the store. I would have figured him for just a regular patron if he hadn’t been wearing his huge World Series ring, with was hard to miss. I guess I should have gotten a picture with him, but he was such a “regular guy” it didn’t occur to me. Anyway, until the next time,





Filed under Review

Marrero Cigars, Flor de Gonzalez, Macanudo Estate Reserve and Cigars with Friends

Marrero TicoI’ve been working through some more new cigars from the IPCPR show, and I ran across some Marrero cigars that it took me a moment to remember. We ran across the booth late on the last day we were there and got to talking to Joel Vazquez Marrero about his cigars. My memory is hazy on this, but I think these are rolled at the same factory as Vegas de Santiago, MBombay and Atabey, Byron and Bandolero. If this is the case it’s one more bit of proof that this particular factory is producing some excellent cigars. The Marrero Tico Pigtail is 6½ x 56, has an Ecuador Habano wrapper, Indonesian binder and what they call Costa Rican/Proprietary Blend as the filler, as well as a long pigtail, as the name would imply. The cigar was solid, firmly packed with a similarly firm draw, although it wasn’t annoyingly so.  I found it to be on the milder side of medium, with a nice flavor and burn.  It was a nice cigar for my evening walk. I look forward to trying the Tesoro Mio blend in the near future.


Flor de Gonzalez_20th MaduroOn Thursday I had a brief moment of wishful thinking that it was Friday, but reality soon slapped me in the face.  So Friday deserved what I hoped would be a special smoke.  Another booth we stopped at late in the show was Flor de Gonzalez.  We had a brief visit with Yadi, and she shared their 20th Anniversario cigars, which come in either a Ecuador Connecticut or a Connecticut Broadleaf wrapper. My natural inclination is to go with the Broadleaf, which I did and was very pleased. This was a rich, chocolaty smoke with a great burn and draw.  It’s a rubusto, but is 5½” x 50, a little more of a good thing than your traditional 5″ robusto.  I can’t wait to try the other one. I’ve always enjoyed the Flor de Gonzalez line, it seems to fly under the radar in a lot of places, at least around here.


We had some friends over last night, so we spent the better part of the day getting ready, and in the hour or so before people arrived, I sat down with a Macanudo Estate Reserve Jamaica 2015.  This is a very special Macanudo, here is what the folks at General Cigar have to say about it:

To experience Macanudo Estate Reserve is to savor a tradition that spans nearly half a century, for this exceptional cigar hearkens back to the very roots of the brand.
MacanudoEstReserve_closed_LRFor the 2015 release of Macanudo Estate Reserve, the artisans of Macanudo blended a 10 year old Connecticut Broadleaf wrapper from the sun-drenched, highest priming, with proprietary Jamaican tobacco cultivated on small, independent farms and aged exclusively for this year’s small batch offering. The dark, well-oiled wrapper adds a new dimension of complexity to the flavor that ignited the passion for one of the world’s most beloved cigars.
Jhonys Diaz, master blender and vice president of operations said, “We selected a broadleaf wrapper for this year’s release to deepen the flavor profile of the cigar. The wrapper delivers bold notes of leather and earth, while complementing the unique attributes of the Jamaican filler. This is a rich and complex smoke, one that will appeal to the true cigar lover.”
MacanudoEstReserve_open_LRThe Jamaican tobacco tells a story all its own. The varietal used in Macanudo Estate Reserve is called Silver Tongue, a native seed favored by locals. It is an extremely low-yield tobacco and is the most expensive long-filler leaf in the world.
Due to the scarcity of Silver Tongue, this exquisite cigar will only be available until the limited release of 1,800 boxes per size is depleted.
Macanudo Estate Reserve 2015 will be available in three frontmarks, each protected in 10-count boxes and shipping in October. They are:

No. 7 — 7 x 50; SRP per cigar is $17.00

No. 8 — 6 x 57; SRP per cigar is $18.00

No. 9 — 5 x 50; SRP per cigar is $16.00


Macanudo Estate Reserve 2015The presentation is beautiful and goes back to the Jamaican roots of the brand, which at one time was made in Jamaica. I remember having a box of Macanudo Prince Philip back in the 90s that was still made in Jamaica (won it on the CigarWorld.com website somehow, and that was a very long time ago when there weren’t a lot of cigar websites). Anyway, this Estate Reserve was really very tasty and had about the most perfect construction imaginable. The cigar was perfect in every way, and had a nice flavor of espresso and cocoa. I found it to be medium bodied, and I smoked to a very tiny nub.  It’s not a cheap date, but it is one of the most flavorful Macanudos out there.


MillenneumOne of our guests, my old friend Bruce, presented me with a very rare cigar, a Padron Millennium, claiming that he came across the humidor (these came out in 2000 in a humidor of 100, of which there were only 1000 made) in his basement. I believe he gifted me one of these nearly 15 years ago, but I smoked it long before I started documenting my daily smokes so religiously. This was a special blend of the 1964 series and had five year old tobacco at the time they were rolled in 1999. He was concerned that they had been neglected, but upon smoking the cigar all was well. If it was blended to be bolder than the 1964 series, the last 15 years might have tempered the original intent, but it was still a spectacular cigar that had a perfect burn, draw and the chocolate bar creamy sweetness that one would expect.  Quite a treat, and I can’t thank Bruce enough for sharing that special cigar.


TortugaOne of our other guests, Victor, brought some Tortuga Cigars, so I smoked one of my favorites from the line, the Cedro No. 5 as my last cigar of the night.  Talk about a trifecta of exceptional cigars to go along with a night of great friends, food and stories. It’s a treat when you can get three couples together, many of whom haven’t met, and go late into the evening talking about a myriad of topics. Anyway, the Tortuga line is obviously high on my list, and the No. 5, at 5½” x 48, is just about the perfect size and is a great representation of the blend.  After the pair of chocolaty maduros,  this spicy Nicaraguan puro it the spot, and never fails to satisfy. We don’t entertain much, but with our big screened in porch it is something we need to do more.  Thanks again to Victor and Rebecca and Bruce and Shirley for spending the evening with us.


That’s it for now, lots of food to eat from last night yet, some errands to run and some cigars to smoke.  Until the next time,






Filed under Review

Padron, Fuente, Recluse, CAO and Assorted Cigars

Obviously I’ve been off my game for the last week or two, and I’m having trouble getting my head together tonight.  So I’ll just recap some of the high points of the cigars I smoked over the last week. I was grabbing good cigars with little concern for writing about them, just for the pure enjoyment.  I chose great cigars that would allow me the time to contemplate the events of the last week.  I started with a Padron 1964 Anniversary Maduro Exclusivo, which was delicious. It was exactly what one would expect, cocoa with a hint of dark berry and a perfect burn. This is a special cigar, one to be smoked slow and savored. I didn’t even take a good picture, and I’m too lazy to go get one now, you know what they look like!


Fuente_Anejo_SharkWhatever day followed that I smoked an Arturo Fuente Añejo Shark. This is a torpedo that is box pressed up to the taper to the head, which is round. It’s a really unique shape and was a pleasure to smoke. I don’t know why it’s taken me so long to try this line, which is basically an Opus X binder and filler with a Connecticut broadleaf wrapper.  Of course, I love Connecticut broadleaf, it’s sweet and is a nice counterpoint to the savoriness of the filler tobaccos. I have no idea how old or new this cigar was, it was a gift from a business associate, but I will smoke more of these as the occasion arises. I’m not one to chase rare cigars, but I will not hesitate to pick one or two of these up when I see them.  Very good smoke.


Recluse_Amadeus_ToroI also smoked a Recluse Amadeus in a 6½” x 50 Toro size.  This was a pre-release sample from last year sometime, so it didn’t have bands. Otherwise, it was a beautiful box pressed cigar with a Connecticut shade wrapper.  This cigar I chose because my dad was a career musician, and I’ve been wanting to smoke it anyway.  Once again, this was a perfect burning and drawing cigar that has the mellow, nutty grassy flavor of the Connecticut wrapper with a hearty medium bodied tobacco core, not unlike the My Father Connecticut, which i also smoked this week. I wasn’t even thinking when I grabbed it, but it did have some significance to me. Both cigars are excellent medium cigars that are mellowed by the wrapper.


CAO_ColumbiaLast night I snuck in a CAO Columbia Vallenato (my dad had a masters from Columbia University) that is another cigar with a similarity to the aforementioned Connecticut cigars. I love it when a cigar burns straight and even and has a great ash. This is a chunky robusto at 5″ x 56.  It was an enjoyable smoke, and this is the first Columbia I’ve smoked since December when I smoked one while driving to Bethlehem to deliver a 12DOSCG present. Dare I say “creamy” describes the cool, mellow smoke? To be honest, I had my hand on a Concert, but the Columbia called out to me, and I’m glad it did. I like the CAO Concert line, but this Columbia is a far more interesting smoke in my eyes.


As I said, the last week or so has been a blur, and I’m regretting not holding back either Jeff or Anthony’s guest reviews for tonight, but I have to get back in the swing of things. Thanks again to those fine gentlemen for helping me out in a pinch. Fortunately the new cabinet humidor has been behaving, naturally the humidity is reading a little bit lower at the top than the bottom, and I need to either get a larger Cigar Oasis unit, or add another one.  It’s happily sitting in the mid 60% range, and cigars are smoking well out of it, so I’m happy.  Kudos to the folks at 1st Class Cigar Humidors, it was worth the wait.


For anyone interested, my father’s obituary is here. I thank you all for your kindness at what has been a very difficult time.


That’s it for today, until the next time,





Filed under Review

La Gloria Cubana, Padron, Rocky Patel and a New Tortuga Cigar

With so many new cigars to smoke, I decided to go with some old favorites and not so new cigars this week. We had probably the biggest snow of the year this week, and it was only about 10″, but it’s still enough to mess up the roads. Hopefully this is the last we’ll see of the white stuff (I know a lot of the country has seen their fair share this year). I’m celebrating the return of Daylight Savings Time here today as well.  It’s gotten a lot easier now that most of the clocks change on their own, we used to have to run around and change all the clocks manually, and for the CDO (OCD in alphabetical order as it should be) afflicted, getting them all set to the same time is a nightmare. I have a Sony alarm clock that sets itself, but it’s ALWAYS five minutes fast! What’s up with that?  Anyway, enough rambling nonsense, let’s get to some cigar nonsense!


Serie R Esteli_cigarThursday was the day it snowed, and we closed up work at one-thirty, I was home by two-thirty and out taking Macha for a walk with a La Gloria Gubana Serie R Esteli No.54 by three. I never really cared for the Serie R line, they didn’t have enough oomph for me. I know they pioneered the large ring trend back in the late ’90s when they came out (at the time, the Casa Blanca Jeroboam and Puros Indios Chief were the notable giant cigars that were actually real premium cigars). Last year General Cigar Co. released the SErie R Esteli and Black, with the Esteli being brick and mortar exclusive, and the Black only available online. I find the Esteli to be not only right up my personal alley flavor-wise,  but far superior in flavor to it’s predecessors as well as the Black. Comparing it only to the Black, as they hit the market at the same time and seem similar, I find the Esteli to be richer and deeper in flavor, and those flavors are the dark cocoa and espresso with some spice flavors that I really like. Burn was great, draw was great and it’s got a hearty enough Jalapa sungrown wrapper to hold up to a few snowflakes here and there.  I’m a La Gloria fan anyway, but this is among my favorites, I’ll happily smoke these in any size, although my preference is for this size, 6″ x 54, which is the smallest.


Padron_4000MFriday I went old school. I had two Padron 4000 cigars floating around the humidors since last year sometime.  One slightly darker than the other, so one could assume one was the maduro and one the natural. Of course, it’s hard to make these assumptions with Padrons, but I leaned toward the darker of the two. The Padron “thousand series” is the quintessential Nicaraguan cigar. All the Anniversary series are great, but the “bottom of the line” standard Padrons are great on their own. Reasonably priced, almost always available, and consistent in flavor and construction year after year, you really can’t go wrong. The 4000 hasn’t been in the line-up as long as the 2000 or 3000, so this is the first in that vitola I’ve smoked, but it met all my expectations. There’s a dusty cocoa flavor that is the core of Padron, and this cigar absolutely satisfied all my criteria for an excellent cigar.  Maybe these aren’t as pretty as the Anniversary series and have a few rough edges, but for the money these are something that should be a staple in every humidor.


RockyPatel_Fifteenth_ToroYesterday I was poking around looking for a cigar to smoke after the disappointing Flyers loss to the Bruins. the occasion wasn’t deserving of a BSB No.1 Bernie Parent Lord Stanley by Rocky Patel, but next to it was a Rocky Patel Fifteenth Anniversary Toro, so I said “what the heck” and grabbed it for a post dinner walk.  Tonight I get to start taking walks in the daylight again!  I wasn’t sure where this cigar was going to go, having not smoked one before and knowing nothing about it.  What I do know is that it came out a few years ago to commemorate the company’s 15th anniversary (well duh…that was tough to figure out there Captain Obvious) and a little research turns up that it has a Habano wrapper, comes in sizes Corona Gorda, Robusto, Toro, Torpedo, Sixty, Toro Tubo, of which the Toro is a 6½” x 52 with a comfortable box press.  Ask me where I got this one, I couldn’t tell you.  I seem to have amassed a pretty good handful of Rocky Patel cigars over the years, and I can only remember buying a few, the rest must have snuck in. I don’t get samples from RP, except the occasional “here, try this” unbanded sample from my local rep, Mark. Anyway, this was a taasty cigar, nice sweet notes and a solid core of rich tobacco flavor. I liked it and would smoke it again, for sure.


imageLast week Pottery Barn, of all places, listed a cigar case and cutter on their clearance page (that part isn’t particularly surprising, that they had them there in the first place was the surprise. Unbeknownst to me, my wife order them and they arrived this week. I personally would have passed on this offer, although I will certainly use the double tube cigar case. I have several single tubes that I use from time to time, but then I end up with empty tubes that I needed to take home. The tubes might accommodate a 6″ x 46 cigar, but are probably better suited for a smaller ring gauge. The caps fit nice, although the overall fit and finish is a little sloppy, but it kind of fits with the antique brass finish. The cutter is your typical single blade in a metal housing instead of the usual plastic. It seems sharp enough and is certainly a nicer alternative to a throw-away promo type cutter. It would certainly do the job and goes nicely with the case. She didn’t get them monogrammed, but that was available, although checking today it looks like only the cutter is still in stock. I would have liked having an R and and L on the lid of the tubes, just to satisfy my aforementioned CDO. 🙂 I really like the Brass tube that Kevin Shahan in Florida made, if he could make them double like this, I think he’d be on to something.


imageToday I went to have a quick meeting with Victor Vitale of Legacy Brands and Tortuga Cigars. We met at local favorite cigar hotspot, Cigar Mojo.  Victor only had a short window of opportunity, so we met at 11am, when Mojo opened. We each purchased a handful of cigars, oddly including some Tortugas and RomaCraft cigars.  We sat down at a table and lit up the new Tortuga 215 Reserva Connecticut Elegante, a 6″ x 54 cigar presented in a tissue paper wrapped cedar sleeve. This cigar debuted last month, and hasn’t been talked about much.  It’s a mild cigar, wrapped in Ecuador Connecticut (Victor would have liked to use US Connecticut, but there were questions of the sustainability of the blend, and he wanted to be able to make this cigar consistently for years to come). The cigar is on the milder side, a perfect pre-lunch smoke, and I was impressed with the burn, as it left my favorite nice flat ember. It’s a flavorful, well balanced Connecticut cigar, as one would expect from a Tortuga. The very limited Tortuga Regalo with the same wrapper is a great smoke, and this one is the Regalo without the ligero, quite a great cigar.  In the process of talking cigars and tobacco, Victor shared with me a new cigar he’s been working on for the last year, and the first production is already sold out and will be in stores next week. I’m not going to reveal too much more, but it’s something very different for Victor. Watch on Wednesday for more information.


That’s it for now, I would have smoked Victor’s new cigar today, but a migraine knocked me out again and took my afternoon away.  I’m looking forward to getting it smoked for Wednesday’s post, and I’m also hoping to see the new cabinet humidor show up this week. Now I’m off to take my first evening daylight walk of the year!


Until the next time,





Filed under News, Review