|Padron Family Reserve 85th|
In 2008, Padron Cigars launched their Family Reserve line with an initial release called the Padron Family Reserve No. 44. The significance of the 44 was to represent the 44th anniversary of Padron cigars. The plan was for each year, a new blend to be released commemorating the company’s anniversary (up until 2014 – the 50th Anniversary). In 2009, the Padron Family Reserve No. 45 would go on to win Cigar Aficionado’s Cigar of the Year – and in many people’s eyes this was well-deserved as it received many accolades. Fast forward to 2011 and many people were now anticipating Family Reserve No. 47. When I came back from IPCPR, I learned that the Padrons made a decision to rename the No. 47 the Padron Family Reserve 85th. The significance of the 85th is to coincide with company founder Jose O. Padron’s 85th birthday. After a delay, the Padron Family Reserve 85th has begun reaching retailer’s shelves. I’ve had an opportunity to sample this new cigar. Overall, I felt the Padron 85th is still a very good cigar, but it is hurt by following in the footsteps of the very good earlier blends in the Family Reserve series. I guess in a boxing analogy, the Padron 85th is more of a TKO as opposed to a KO.
The Family Reserve series is highlighted by using some of the best tobaccos the Padrons have. The tobaccos have been aged a minimum of ten years. In the 44th, 45th, and 46th Anniversary releases, the cigar has been produced in both a natural wrapper and a maduro wrapper. Currently (at the time of this assessment) the Family Reserve 85th is only available in a maduro.
Let’s analyze the Family Reserve 85th in more detail:
Like the others in the series, the Family Reserve 85th is a Nicaraguan puro. The beautiful Nicaraguan maduro wrapper is stunning.
Wrapper: Nicaraguan Maduro
The Padron Family Reserve 85th is available in a single vitola – a 5 1/4 x 50 box-press robusto. In addition to individual cigars it will be sold in five packs or boxes of 10.
Preparation for the Cigar Experience
I went for my usual straight cut into the cap of the Family Reserve 85th. When I started the pre-light draw, it took me a little while to disseminate the flavor profile. At first I got some very generic wood notes. As I worked on the dry draw, I detected molasses notes and a hint of cedar spice. The end result was a satisfying pre-light draw, so it was on to fire up the Family Reserve 85th.
The initial flavor notes of the Padron Family Reserve 85th provided an extension to what I eventually got from the pre-light draw, but with more body – namely the notes of molasses and cedar spice. The molasses soon morphed first into some classic cocoa notes and then quickly to an espresso syrup. The cedar spice developed into a combination of black pepper and cedar. Later in the first third, some chocolate notes emerged in the background behind the espresso and spice.
In the second third, the spice really kicked up a notch and became the dominant flavor. In addition to picking up the spice on the tongue, it was definitely present through the nostrils. The espresso notes played a secondary role at this stage of the smoking experience.
On the last third of the cigar, the spice toned down a notch. The espresso notes remained and the chocolate notes I found on the first third resurfaced. Given this still had a good chunk of spice, it is hard to say this was a smooth finish, but the taste was not harsh either. As for the nub, it was a little disappointing for a Padron – it was soft, but cool. Usually with a Padron, I can always count on a firm, cool nub.
Burn and Draw
Padron (and not just limited to the Family Reserve series) cigars are known for high quality with the attributes of burn and draw. I have to admit, the Padron Family Reserve 85th did not burn the way I expected. While the burn temperature and burn rate were ideal, the amount of touch-ups seemed higher than most Padrons. It was very hard to say this had a razor sharp burn during the first half. Things did improve in the second half as I had a much better burn in turns of straightness.
As for the draw, no issues here. The cigar drew like a champ and maintained the high standards I have come to expect from Padron.
Strength and Body
The Family Reserve 85th is going to have some kick to it in terms of nicotine profile. While it won’t hit you hard, it still will provide some nice strength. This cigar definitely falls into the “full” range of the strength scale. As for body, lots of depth to the flavors produced – a definitely full-bodied smoke in my book. The Family Reserve 85th does a good job at balancing the strength and body – namely not sacrificing the flavor at the expense for providing a full strength smoke.
While there were no issues with the flavors in my book, I have had stronger flavor profiles with other high end Padron cigars. Still I’ll go on record and say this was a good cigar. The touch-ups on the burn were a bit of an issue. While this is a $20.00 cigar, I would still deduct the same amount points of the score for the burn issues if this were a $2.00 cigar. This is a definite smoke for the seasoned cigar enthusiast. Unless a novice cigar enthusiast prefers spice, I’d probably steer them away from this one. I’ll probably still pick up another Family Reserve 85th, but would still rather reach for a No. 44 or No. 45.
Assessment: Nice to Have
Source: This cigar was purchased from City Cigar Company in Charlotte, North Carolina.