In 2014, Padrón Cigars celebrated its fiftieth anniversary in business. To no surprise, the company unveiled some new cigars to mark the occasion. These new cigars were the first new lines released by Padrón since 2011. Front and center of these releases was the much talked about new limited edition line of cigars called Padrón 50th Anniversary (sometimes called “The Hammer”). This is an ultra-premium cigar line that features some of the best tobaccos secured by the Padrón family. Consistent with Padrón releases, the Padrón 50th Anniversary is available in a natural and maduro option. As a part of the Padrón 50th Anniversary release, these cigars are packaged in a ultra-premium luxury humidor. As much as the cigar and the packaging have been talked about, the price point of this offering has also been talked about as the whole package for one of these blends carries a retail price of $5,300.00. Earlier this year, I took a look at the Padrón 50th Anniversary Maduro. Today I take a look at the Padrón 50th Anniversary Natural. Like the Maduro, this is a tough cigar to separate from its high price point, but overall the Padrón 50th Anniversary Natural still ranks as one of the best cigars released by Padrón.
The humidors were first unveiled at the 2014 IPCPR Trade Show. At the time, while the final price point was still to be determined (although a $4,000.00 to $5,000.00 price point was expected), the Padrón 50th Anniversary Humidor was the talk of the trade show. The cigar lived up to our expectations of our prediction for being the hottest cigar at the trade show and Padrón was able to sell them. The humidor was designed by Nelson Alfonso who is well known for his work with Habanos on the Cohiba Behike and for his innovative packaging with Selected Tobacco. A total of 1,000 humidors have been produced and given there are 50 cigars per humidor, the initial allocation totaled 50,000 cigars. The same humidor is available for the natural and maduro options of the Padrón 50th Anniversary cigar.
Each Padrón 50th Anniversary Humidor has a unique serial number. Consumers who buy the humidor are given a certificate of ownership with a unique serial number. Consumers are also requested to register the humidor with Padrón. The owners of the humidors have the option (i.e. they are not required) to refill their humidor. Buyers are directed to their local retailer where the humidor was purchased to fulfill their refill. It has been reported there will be a slight color variation to the band for the refills – namely the original cigars have a red serial number while subsequent ones will (reportedly) have a black serial number. Finally, Padrón has said the ownership of the humidor is transferable.
As mentioned the Padrón 50th Anniversary package carries a price-tag of $5,300.00. This presented an interesting dilemma for the retailers who have chosen to carry them. There is no doubt the humidor is a collectable piece and has a significant value on its own – and that being said, many retailers have targeted trying to market the humidor as a whole in that price range. It’s an understandable case that once they break apart the humidors, the package as a whole loses value. For the retailers that have chosen sell the cigars outside the humidor, the problem became what will be the price point of each cigar minus the humidor. Some retailers have opted to just divide by 50 and sell the cigars. What I discovered was earlier in the year, many either would not break apart the humidors or they would price the cigars with the humidor price factored in (i.e. at $106.00). As the year progressed, I did see some retailers take out the pricing of the humidor and the cigar became priced ranging anywhere from $40 to $106.00.
As mentioned there were several releases that have surrounded the Padrón’s 50th Anniversary celebration. It is important to know that there are four distinct blends that have been released for this occasion. These are in two distinct lines – with each done with natural and maduro option. One line is an extension to the Family Reserve series (the No. 50). The other is a whole new line – which is the limited edition 50th Anniversary Humidor we are discussing today.
The Padrón 50th Anniversary cigar has also been referred to as “The Hammer”. This refers to a gift of a small hammer that company founder José O. Padrón received from a friend named Raul Fernandez. Padrón would use the hammer to work in carpentry and he used to money he made on that job to eventually open his first factory. The factory was opened in 1964, thus the small hammer is an important part of the Padrón legacy and the Padrón 50th Anniversary release references this.
Without further ado, let’s take a closer look at the Padrón 50th Anniversary Natural and see what this cigar brings to the table.
For both the Padrón 50th Anniversary Maduro and Natural, the tobaccos in the blend have been aged for 10 years.
Wrapper: Nicaraguan (Natural or Maduro)
Country of Origin: Nicaragua (Tabacos Cubanica S.A.)
Both the natural and maduro Padrón 50th Anniversary will be in one size – a 6 1/2 x 52 box-pressed toro. As mentioned there is a total production of 50,000 cigars for the initial release. Company President Jorge Padrón told Cigar Coop that a single roller rolls the Padrón 50th Anniversary. The roller produces about 250 cigars a day.
The Habano wrapper Padrón 50th Anniversary Natural has a dark caramel color to it. Depending on how the light hits the wrapper, it may give off a cinnamon colored tint. There is a thin coating of oil on the surface of the wrapper. While the visible veins and visible wrapper seams are on the thin side, there is a little bit of ruggedness to this wrapper.
There is a single band Padrón 50th Anniversary – and the design is the same for both the Maduro and Natural. The front of the band has a rich, cream / pearl-like color with gold trim. Sitting on the cream background is the Padrón logo which features a maroon-colored oval with the text “Padrón” in gold script. Below the logo is the text “50 Years” in an almost white gold cursive color. To the left is the text “1964-2014” also in a white gold color. There is an etched cream colored hammer to the left and right side. The upper part of the band has a maroon striping going to the far left and far right. On the left side to he maroon stripe is the text “HAND” in gold font. On the right side is the text “CRAFTED” also in gold font. To the right is Jose O’ Padron signature in gold font.
The lower part of the band serves to validate the authenticity for the Padrón 50th Anniversary. Normally this is a separate band on cigars such as the Padrón Family Reserve, Padrón 1964 Anniversary and Padrón Serie 1926 cigars. This section is off-white colored with a dull yellowish font. In a wallpaper mode is the Padrón scripted logo and the text “AUTHENTICITY GUARANTEED BY JOSE O PADRÓN”. Each Padrón 50th Anniversary cigar has a serial number. As mentioned the serial number for the initial batch is in red font. My serial number was a red colored 038378.
Preparation for the Cigar Experience
Prior to lighting up the Padrón 50th Anniversary Natural, I went with my usual choice of a straight cut to remove the cap. Once the cap to the cap was successfully removed, I moved on to the pre-light draw phase. The cold draw Padrón 50th Anniversary Natural delivered a mix of sweet natural tobacco, caramel, and a light cedar note. While it wasn’t what I would categorize as a revolutionary pre-light draw, this was a case where the flavors complemented each other very well and delivered an outstanding pre-light draw experience. At this point, I was ready to light up the Padrón 50th Anniversary Natural and see what this cigar would bring to the table.
The Padrón 50th Anniversary Natural started out with notes of natural tobacco sweetness, cedar, and black pepper. Early on the natural tobacco sweetness and cedar had the edge. The pepper moved quickly to a background note and was joined by notes of coffee and grass. Meanwhile the black pepper was quite prominent on the retro-hale.
Throughout the first third of the Padrón 50th Anniversary Natural, the natural tobacco sweetness and cedar continued to hold in the forefront. The coffee notes surfaced from time to time. By the second third, I found the coffee notes displaced the natural tobacco sweetness as a primary flavor. The natural tobacco sweetness joined the grass and pepper notes in the background. The cedar notes also remained primary into the second third. During the the second third, the retro-hale also delivered a nice cocoa sweetness.
By the last third of the Padrón 50th Anniversary Natural, the primary notes became more earthy. I found the cedar notes moved into the background. There still were some coffee and pepper notes in the background while the grass and natural tobacco sweetness were more distant notes. This is the way the cigar experience came to an end. The resulting nub was firm to the touch and cool in temperature.
Burn and Draw
Given the Padrón 50th Anniversary Natural is an ultra-premium cigar, I expected this cigar to score very well when it comes to burn and draw. This was exactly what I got from this cigar.
The burn path of the Padrón 50th Anniversary Natural remained straight from start to finish. The actual burn line also remained on the sharp side. This was a cigar that did not require an excessive amount of touch-ups. The resulting ash had a mostly light gray color. The ash itself was firm and came off the cigar in nice clean chunks. I found the combustion to this cigar to be excellent as this cigar had an ideal burn rate and ideal burn temperature.
The draw to the Padrón 50th Anniversary Natural was excellent. I found the draw to be open, but not overly loose. This made the Padrón 50th Anniversary Natural a low maintenance cigar to smoke.
Strength and Body
From a strength perspective, I found the Padrón 50th Anniversary Natural to fall to be medium. The strength level pretty much stayed in this range from start to finish. As for the body, I found the Padrón 50th Anniversary Natural started out medium, but gradually increased along the way. Even though the second half saw some of the sweetness diminish, I still found the flavors weighted heavier on the palate and the cigar progressed to medium to full-bodied. In terms of strength versus body, I found the body to have a slight edge throughout the smoking experience.
The Padrón 50th Anniversary Natural is an excellent cigar. It’s going to go down as an upper echelon release by Padrón. As good as this cigar is, I still found it to fall a little short when compared to its Maduro counterpart – which is a cigar that will go down as an all-time great. For the first two thirds, I found the Padrón 50th Anniversary Natural to give the Maduro a run for its money. The Natural did lose a little steam in the last third, but it still made for a very enjoyable cigar.
Like the Maduro, this is not cigar I’m going to recommend spending a $106.00 for, nor one that that I am going to tell people to buy a $5,300.00 humidor. No tobacco product fits that price point. However with some retailers making this cigar available at a price “closer” to reality, it is a cigar you might want to pick up as a special occasion cigar. It’s still a cigar I can recommend to any cigar enthusiast, and it’s one worthy of fighting Chuck Norris for.
Body: Medium (1st Half), Medium to Full (2nd Half)
Assessment:4.5 – Fight Chuck Norris For Them
News: Padrón 50 Years – The Hammer (2014 Preview)
Price: $40.00 – $106.00 (Depending on Retailer); Filled humidors have an SRP of $5300.00
Stogie Geeks Podcast: Episode 122, Episode 159, Episode 166
Stogie Feed: Padron 50th Anniversary Limited Edition Natural (Paul), Padrón 50th Anniversary Natural (Will)