Padron cigars – what’s the first thing that comes to mind when you see (or hear) those two words? Speaking for myself, it’s not a word; first I get a flash of an image of the cigar, specifically the band, but what really comes to mind is their unique flavor. I don’t know the science of how the brain does this, but I actually taste that earthy, mocha-laced flavor that makes Padron cigars so distinctive. I’m sure the same thing happens when you think about one of your Mom’s special recipes, or a favorite dessert, wine, beer etc. It seems as though things we ingest that we either really love or hate, we can actually taste in absentia, and when it comes to cigars, even though I have a lot of favorites, for some reason Padron cigars just seem to stand out in that particular way.
Practically every cigar smoker I’ve met seems to have a special place in their heart for Padron cigars. It’s like they have this mystique about them, not unlike that attributed to Cuban cigars. The difference is, the Cuban cigar mystique has to do mainly with their pedigree, but even more so, the fact that they’re illegal. The Padron mystique seems to have more to do with that incredibly unique flavor they have. I’d even go so far as to say that the only cigars as inimitable as the finest Cubans are Padron cigars. If you’re an avid cigar smoker, regardless of any other cigars you smoke, even Cubans for that matter, you know exactly what I’m talking about. Perhaps this excerpt from a 2006 New York Times article on Jose Orlando Padrón sheds some light on their ability to produce such highly coveted cigars:
After the revolution in Cuba, most of the country’s big producers shifted operations to the Dominican Republic, but Mr. Padrón swears by Central America, where he says the conditions are most similar to Cuba’s.
- “A Career Seasoned With Cigar Smoke and Revolution” (The New York Times)
Whether it’s their main line, or their Padron Anniversary editions, the consistency and fullness of flavor is beyond reproach. Perhaps Ernesto Perez-Carrillo said it best when we visited him in the DR this past February; we were talking about boutique cigars. Although I’m paraphrasing, essentially he said that “Padron is committed to making only so many cigars per year, and that’s it.” This gives them much tighter control over their production, therefore there’s very little, if any, margin for error.” “And he doesn’t care,” added Carrillo. (Again, I’m paraphrasing.) He didn’t mean that in the apathetic sense. What he meant was, they probably could produce more cigars and make more money, but that’s not what they’re about. They’re only concern is making great cigars, which is also Señor Carrillo’s philosophy. Both the Padrons and the Carrillos have enjoyed vast success and revenues for generations. Why change simply for profit’s sake? As Don Jose Orlando says:
A businessman has to be thinking all the time, dealing with problems. I do it best when I’m smoking.
And he’s smoking some pretty darn good cigars, too.
A few days ago, while admiring the cigars along the Famous Smoke Shop retail store shelves, a colleague of mine said, “There are just too many cigars.” As I continued to browse, I thought about all the cigars I’ve smoked over the years, yet there were still a decent number of them I hadn’t smoked, and I wondered if I ever would. Then came this email from a customer with the subject line, “cigar bucket list,” which inspired me to write this post:
I have a list of eight cigars I’m looking for and wondered if you carried them…
- Liga Privada No. 9 by Drew Estate Parejo Oscuro
- Ashton Cabinet Vintage #10
- Padron 1926 40th Anniversary Torpedo
- Davidoff Millennium Blend Lonsdale
- Benji Menendez Partagas Master Series Majestuoso
- Montecristo No. 2 Torpedo
- Fuente Fuente Opus X Reserva D’Chateau
- Padrón 1964 45th Anniversary Series “A” Double Corona
Now there’s a nice, tasty list if I ever saw one, and there are several cigars on it that I still haven’t gotten around to. Experienced cigar smokers will not only recognize the brands in the list, they’ll also recognize them as being pretty pricey, too. Well, why not? After all, it IS a cigar bucket list.
So, I went back into the store and began poking around, this time paying a little more attention, and realized that I had smoked about 95% of the cigars, by brand mostly, at least once. (I even felt a little sense of accomplishment.) So, I looked at the much bigger list of the cigars on our website, combined that with some web surfing, and finally came up with my own cigar bucket list. Since everyone seems to like Top-10 lists, here’s mine, in alphabetical order.
- Arturo Fuente Añejo Reserva No.77 Shark
- Ashton Estate Grown Vintage 20 Year Salute
- Cohiba Behike BHK 52 (Havana)
- Davidoff Special C Culebras
- Diamond Crown Maximus #2
- Fuente Fuente OpusX BBMF Maduro
- Hemingway Classic Sun Grown
- Padron Family Reserve 45th Anniversary
- Padron Family Reserve 46th Anniversary
- Partagas Serie P No.2 (Havana)
Since I don’t plan on dying anytime soon, the list will continue to grow. Along the way, I’m sure I’ll get to savor most of them and knock them off the list.. In fact, there’s one cigar I was going to put on the list – the Room 101 #305 – but thanks to a recent visit to our offices by Christina Eiroa (of Camacho Cigars),
he just happened to have a box of 101s with him. Who knows? Maybe I’ll get lucky and one or two more will fall into my hands by the good graces of another manufacturer, but I won’t hold my breath.
So, now I turn the list over to you. What cigars would you put on your cigar bucket list? Please be my guest by putting your own cigar bucket list in the comments box.