Padron 50th Anniversary Maduro

I feel compelled to start this review with a small disclaimer. On this planet there is no a single scenario surrounding a cigar that could cause one of them to command a price tag of $106 in a tax-free state. That price would be ridiculous even if the field growing the tobacco was fertilized from the personal out house of Jose Oliva, Watered by the tears of Nelson Alfonso, and if each leaf was massaged by Jose Orlando Padron himself. That being said I did not buy one…I bought 4, making me either the biggest sucker in the US or the only person who didn’t cough up the full $5400, who owns more than one. I know what you are thinking “If you feel this strongly about a cigar NOT being worth the price of admission, why are you reviewing it?” The answer to me border’s on genius!

I have been married for just shy of ten years. My wife is über supportive of my cigar smoking (since it pays the mortgage) and has, on occasion, smoked along with me. Being that its summer time my 20-year-old daughter is home from Southern New Hampshire University, making my “on the deck alone time” a faint memory. That is until I proudly announced to my small house hold what I paid for each of my 4 Padron 50th Anniversary Maduro cigars. Apparently setting fire to $106, worth of cigar, commands respect in my house making it an absolute first! My request for 2 solid hours alone with said cigar was met with a resounding yes from both my wife and daughter…in fact, they did me one better they left the house for the entire time, which in retrospect may have cost me more than all four Padrons put together. Lets face it, how many times will I get this opportunity in my lifetime?

So with my single malt Auchentoshan American Oak Scotch, my Deep “V” Colibri cutter, my 3.2 lbs Yorkshire Terrier, and my single jet Black Label lighter I began a 2+ hour journey through the most expensive cigar I have ever and most likely will ever smoke.

From the first puff to the last this cigar had a consistent taste and aroma – the scent of Burning Pine that is just shy of being fully seasoned and the fatty tang of freshly roasted pine nuts. White pepper eases its way on to the center of my tongue at about puff number five but doesn’t stay too long.

Strength wise She burned at a solid Medium plus to Full bodied with pockets of Very full-bodied that brought me right to edge. That said as it built-in strength it also added a sweetness that helped to ease the pain.

As I closed out the first third of the cigar the ash landed squarely on my chest and rolled to a stop in the crease of my shirt. This boost of oxygen to the ember also boosted the flavor. The pepper has subsided at this point and a caramel meets sugar-beet sweetness takes over. The flavors do not change suddenly like the mixes at a hip-hop club. They are 4 in the morning drug induced rave transitions where you don’t simply hear the music you can see it, taste it, and feel it with every fiber of your being. At no point is there one distinct or over powering flavor, rather flavors are layered and although at first I wanted to fight this ride its much more fun to kick back, relax, and see where the smoke takes me.

At the half way point our friend, White Pepper, has returned and brought with him the tannic flavor of unsalted and un-roasted almond skin. This gives way to the sweet and milky center of the almond only 3 puffs later. I am one hour in and my neighbor (who grew up hating the “stink of cigar smoke”) is now sitting on the deck up wind quietly enjoying the aroma of my cigar. This cigar may have magic powers!

Now I am at the band and given this was an non-cello smoke the band slides right over the v-cut end with ease. Bring on the flavor of dark roasted Mt. Everest coffee filtered through fine cedar saw dust and a heaviness in my chest from the strength of the nicotine. I still have about $45 to go and I plan on leaving as little as possible on the table. The final third sees the rise and fall of coffee, walnut meat, ripe peaches, and clover honey with a warm tingle of clove and nutmeg on the finish. Shortly after removing the band she calmed back down to a solid medium bodied medium strength smoke where she stayed till she was too hot to handle.

In conclusion, although absolutely over priced this cigar preformed like an expensive and over priced cigar should. The burn was extra ordinary and never needed to be corrected. Perhaps because I was extremely attentive to my smoke, she never went out on me. Although a roller coaster ride of flavors and strength, there was a consistent aroma of seasoned pine burning and an underlying flavor of freshly roasted pine nuts. I would purchase this cigar again if I could replicate the experience of 2 solid hours of solitude but this is not a smoke that lends itself well too much else. Construction, draw, burn, aroma, taste, strength, and balance were all at or above the performance you would expect from a Padron but the price does play a considerable roll in my rating. If this cigar was $35 it would have scored a solid 98 but at $106 it only rates a 95. The experience of having 2 plus hours by my self with my scotch and my dog sitting in the shade on a warm summer afternoon however, this makes it ALL worth it!

Pre-light taste:
Ripe Plum, Cedar, Musty horse stall

The wrapper is quite toothy with raised white bumps that stay on the ash as it burns. Given that it’s a maduro, which is inherently thicker than other wrapper leaves, I have to hand it to the rollers at the Padron factory. This wrapper was undoubtably applied by the best in the world yielding as close to seamless as you can get given how thick it is.

The burn:
At or near perfect with a well-defined and a very thin “mascara line” indicative of a wrapper that is well over 5 years old. The ash held strong for almost 2 full inches at a time. The smoke had a sweet beginning and finished with a tannic middle ground similar to the bitter-sweet experience of drinking Tonic water.

Virtually flawless

Sweet and pleasant to the point of converting a cigar smoke hater into a “this cigar lover” (I was invited to let my neighbor know the next time I “light one of those bad boys up” so he can sit outside and enjoy the aroma along with me)

Well balanced and well aged tobaccos combine to make this a very tasty cigar. Although taste is ver subjective, I can’t imagine anyone not enjoying the hell out of this. There was a lot going on and yet all of the flavors were tied together with something familiar and consistent.

Rating: 95 (this would have been a 98 but I can’t in good conscience ignore the price)

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