Just before the 2015 IPCPR Trade Show, two high profile Connecticut Shade wrapper cigars were announced – the Drew Estate Undercrown Shade and Padrón Damaso. These cigars were significant releases because each of these companies was not known for making Connecticut Shade cigars. In fact, with Padrón, the company had never offered a cigar with that wrapper in its portfolio. With the Padrón Dámaso, this wasn’t a matter of using having a “Connecticut Shade” cigar, but it was more of a providing an offering to tap into the segment of the market that enjoys milder smokes. Recently, I’ve had an opportunity to smoke the Padrón Dámaso in the No. 12 (Robusto) size. Overall, not only did I find this to be a milder cigar from Padrón, but a very different cigar than the company has produced.
The name Dámaso pays homage to Dámaso Padrón, the grandfather of company founder José O. Padrón. Dámaso was the person that got the Padrón family in the cigar business when he moved from the Canary Islands of Spain to Cuba and began growing and cultivating tobacco in the Pinar del Rio region.
With the Dámaso, it breaks many of the rules when it comes to the Padrón formula. While Padrón releases are known for a natural (habano) and maduro offering, Dámaso is only offered in one wrapper – Connecticut Shade. Another deviation from the Padrón formula is that it is also a rounded vitola as opposed to a box-press. Dámaso also marks the first new line launched in seven years by Padrón Cigars since the debut of the Padrón Family Series back in 2008.
Without further ado, let’s take a closer look at the Padrón Dámaso No. 12 and see what this cigar brings to the table.
Back in August, company president Jorge Padrón told Cigar Aficionado, the Connecticut Shade wrapper comes from Ecuador.
Wrapper: Ecuadorian Connecticut Seed
Country of Origin: Nicaragua (Tabacos Cubanica S.A.)
The Padrón Dámaso is sold in 20 count boxes. Each cigar is packaged in cellophane (another change in direction for Padrón). Each vitola name represents an age of four of company founder José O Padrón’s grandchildren.
No. 8: 5 1/2 x 46
No. 12: 5 x 50
No. 15: 6 x 52
No. 17: 7 x 54
The wrapper of the Padrón Dámaso No. 12 has a light brown color with a slight colorado tint to it. The surface of the wrapper has a light coating of oil on it. While there are some visible wrapper seams and some thin visible veins, overall I considered the the No. 12 to have a have a smooth surface.
There are actually three bands on the Padrón Dámaso. The primary band is white in color with gold and maroon trim. Sitting on the front is the gold scripted Padrón logo. On the left side of the band is the text “CRAFTED” in gold while on the right side is the text “BY HAND” in gold. There are also some gold adornments on the left side of the band.
The primary band sits on top of the Padrón Authenticity band. This features the scripted Padron logo in gray and the text “AUTHENTICITY GUARANTEED BY JOSE O PADRÓN” in a gold(ish) font. Each Padrón Family Reserve cigar has a unique serial number located on that second band in black font. The cigar in the photo contained the serial number 004887.
There is a secondary band toward the middle of the band. It is primarily white in color with gold trim. On the center of the band is a maroon colored belt-buckle-like shape featuring the text “DAMASO” in gold. There are some gold adornments to the left and right side of this band.
Preparation for the Cigar Experience
For my Padrón Dámaso No. 12, I went with my usual choice of a straight cut to remove the cap. Once the cap was successfully removed, I proceeded with the pre-light draw. The cold draw was of no surprise when it comes to Connecticut Shade cigars as it delivered notes of cream, cedar, and a slight citrus component. Overall I considered this to be a solid pre-light draw. At this point, I was ready to light up the Padrón Dámaso No. 12 and see what this cigar would bring to the table.
The Padrón Dámaso No. 12 picked up with the pre-light draw left off as I detected more notes of cream, cedar, and the citrus note. The citrus note provided some sweetness to this cigar, but it was not overpowering. The cream moved into the forefront quickly while the cedar and citrus notes were secondary. Meanwhile, I picked up the cedar notes on the retro-hale.
During the first half of the No. 12, I found the cream and citrus notes alternated in the forefront as to which was the primary note. The cedar notes remained in the background as secondary note, but still present on the retro-hale.
The last third of the Padrón Dámaso No. 12 still saw the creamy notes primary. I found the cedar notes had now advanced to the forefront joining the cream notes. The cedar provided a little more in the way of spice, but the Dámaso was still far from a spice bomb. The citrus notes were now secondary. During this stage of the smoke, there was a little more acidity to the citrus notes, but these notes still maintained sweetness. 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
Padrón Cigars are certainly well-known for its quality and consistency across its lines. The Dámaso No. 12 certainly falls into this category as it scored nicely for burn and draw. I found the Dámaso to take a straight burn path from start to finish. The burn line itself was on the straight side – and did not require an abnormal amount of touch-ups. The resulting ash was firm with a charcoal gray color. While the Dámaso maintained an ideal burn temperature from start to finish, I did find each time I smoked the Dámaso No. 12 it did burn a little faster than I prefer. Overall, the quicker burn rate didn’t have any other adverse effects other than a quicker smoke
The draw to the Padrón Dámaso No. 12 was open, but not loose. This was a low maintenance cigar to derive flavors from.
Strength and Body
Tapping into the market segment for milder cigars was the goal of Padrón Cigars when the Dámaso was created – and a cigar on the milder side is exactly what was delivered. I found the No. 12 to be a mild strength cigar from start to finish. In terms of body body, I found this cigar pretty much stayed on the upper end of mild to medium from start to finish. When it came to strength versus body, I found the body had the edge for the duration of the cigar experience.
Overall I found the strength and body level to work with the combination of flavors delivered by the No. 12. Any additional strength or body (or even less strength and body) probably would not work with this cigar.
On the plus side, the Padrón Dámaso No. 12 delivers some good flavor and has excellent construction. As mentioned, it also achieves its goal of delivering a mild cigar. The milder cigar and flavors from this cigar are very different than you would expect from Padrón. On the flip-side, the one big drawback of this cigar is that it lacked the complexity I have come to expect from a Padrón cigar. At $13.50, this is positioned as a more premium cigar and does not come at a low price point. While price is not factored into the numeric score, it does factor into our Assessment rating. In both cases, the complexity factored in the calculations of the rating / score. This is still a cigar I would encourage cigar enthusiasts to try – particularly those who like a milder smoke. As for myself, I’m most curious to see what age does to this cigar; so while it won’t be something I readily reach for, it will be something I revisit in the future.
Body: Mild to Medium
Assessment: 2.5 – Try One
News: Padrón Dámaso Launched at 2015 IPCPR Trade Show
Source: Purchased, with one additional cigar provided by manufacture
Stogie Geeks Podcast: Stogie Geeks News for June 26, 2015, Episode 151, Episode 158, Episode 166
Stogie Feed: Padron Damaso No. 17, Padrón Dámaso No. 12