Hello fellow lovers of the leaf, I recently returned from overseas, just in time to attend a very special event. I had the distinct pleasure and privilege of meeting Jorge Padron, President of Padron Cigars and son of founder, Jose Padron. I missed the opportunity to meet him last year when he came through Baltimore because I was deployed again so I made sure my schedule didn’t conflict this time, though it was a close one. I had been very much looking forward to this event, not only because it was an opportunity to meet Mr. Padron, but also because he was bringing with him the new Padron Family Reserve No. 45. Ever since reading the posting about them by Jorge Armenteros in the Tobacconist University Forum, I have been anticipating the opportunity to enjoy what was certain to be a fine cigar.
Jorge Padron was an extremely personable man. He had a very genuine smile on his face the whole time and shared several stories with me. Two of my favorites were the stories of when, after graduating college, he told his father that they should replace the plain brown bands on their cigars with something more flashy to increase sales, following which his father put him in his place in no uncertain terms; and of how his cousin, who he says the family just refers to as the “crazy cousin”, defused a bomb someone had placed in their Miami facility about thirty years ago.
So on to the good stuff. The 45 is a Nicaraguan puro made from tobaccos aged at least ten years! Now that’s good anejamiento. It is being offered as a box-pressed, parejo (6 x 52 – Toro vitolla) in both natural and maduro, which frankly can’t be visibly differentiated. The appearance was beautiful. The wrapper was dark and consistent with no visible flaws. Its construction was just right; firm yet slightly flexible, and recovered immediately from the squeeze test, all characteristics of a high quality, well-made cigar. It also had a very interesting feel, not silky but perhaps best described as sleek with a fascinating texture that close examination revealed to cover the whole wrapper. I enjoyed the pre-light aroma very much, which can only be described as subtle and understated with a hint of sweetness.
I made a punch-cut and tested the draw, which was perfect. It offered just the right amount of resistance without effort and the draw-volume was excellent. It lit easily and evenly, signaling that the best was yet to come. From the very first puff the 45 was full-bodied, robust, balanced, and strong, but in no way overpowering. It produced copious amounts of thick, blue-grey smoke, characteristic of quality tobacco, that you didn’t want to blow out as much as let it just roll out of your mouth. It had a creamy overall mouth-feel while producing a spicy tingle all around the tongue. It burned evenly without any problems or even a re-light and produced an attractive, firm and dense, light-grey ash with dark undertones. As it continued to smoke, the flavor and strength mellowed but lost none of the complexity or balance all the way to the end, and I smoked it down to the nub. Jorge told me he smoked about one thousand cigars while trying to reach the right balance and flavor for the 45. It shows because in my opinion, this cigar has umami.
My overall opinion of the Padron Family Reserve No. 45 is that it is an outstanding cigar. I recommend you enjoy it slowly and on a full stomach because the strength in the beginning was undeniable. It is complex and balanced throughout and deserves your attention while being smoked. In my area, after taxes they came out to $27 and change each. I really wanted to buy a whole box and let them continue to age in my humidor but I just couldn’t get away with it right now so I grabbed a handful and will be sorry to see the last one go. Bravo-Zulo to the Padron family for the 45.
I wish you Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness.