Reading into Padron’s historical ratings really requires an Excel spreadsheet. When you consider what this company has done, their history is unmatched. I cannot think of a company with a small portfolio, which has review after review of high ratings from the cheapest to most expensive cigar. Across the board from bloggers, magazines, reviewers, critics, you will always find Padron. When I think of the best maduro on earth, I think of PAdron. When I got into cigars after quitting cigaretees, a ’64 maduro hooked me, and my cigar habit grew. My first aging project was with Padron londres in the natural, and ’64 maduro’s. I quickly learned what distinctive changes took place over time, and my collection grew exponentially. When other cigars failed, Padron delivered. When other premiums had construction issues, Padron was perfect every time at set my expectations for what I wanted out of a premium cigar. Padron taught me so much, that I figured it was time to give back and review some of the gems in my collection as part of my Super Premium reviews for 2014. I will start with the 40th natural, which was given to me by a friend in an exchange of cigar gifts. I dedicate this review to Lord Ripon, as a gesture of thanks, a celebration of life, and taking the time to detail a moment in time relaxing with the finest tobacco on earth.
Dry Draw: distinct stone fruit notes
First Third: To say this cigar had a life of it’s own from the getgo is an understatement. Immediate flavors came to life, sharp and precise. Stone fruits hit my tongue up front, with a sharp pepper note on the tail of the retro that weakened the senses without overpowering them. The draw rolled off my tongue in a dense fashion, leaving the slowest developing finish I can remember as of late. As I sat and pondered what notes were hitting, the finish grew, and grew as opposed to dissipating. As lame as it sounds, the taste of tobacco was heavy on the palate, like that amazing smell you get when you open your humi. Slight hints of cocoa, tea, faint honey, pepper, stone fruit, and sugar cookie all were on my notepad. I found it hard to really pinpoint one for any given period, because they all seemed to drift in and out with unmatched complexity and distinction.
Second Third: The sugar cookie really began to stand out, while a pronounced black pepper finish settled on my lips and tip of tongue. The stone fruit flavors still seemed to float in every draw. As the I worked towards the middle, the pepper flavors finished long, and the 40th begged to be smoked slow. Billows of smoke were delivered on every draw, only one was puff needed to entice the palate and crush future expectations of super premium tobaccos. Hints of cream on the intake, turned into post draw pepper laying siege around the palate. It seemed as if the pepper never settled on the palate, back of mouth, or mid tongue, just the outside of the mouth and lips. This was the best pepper note I can think of, and my mind likens it to the proper use of Serrano. Serrano can be unmistakably hot and overpower a dish, but when used properly with balance in a dish, Serrano adds heat and complexity. The cream reminded me of custard at this point as well, and I must say, the balance of all the notes were superb.
Final Third: The custard and cream notes seemed to join up like Voltron and create a cherry cream soda at this point. The pepper really calmed down a bit, but still snuck in and out of the profile. While the middle was medium-full, this third backed down into a smooth medium, with cocoa coming back in, and the tea. Every draw was different really; a doppelganger of sorts, changing from one cigar into another, then back again, at a methamphetamine paced change. For now, I will enjoy the last inch and a half as my notepad was drenched in detail.
Nevermind: I had to come back, at the end I swear I tasted cherry syrup. I want pancakes and ice cream right now for no damn reason. My Lord that was good…
Construction: Perfect in every way
Final Thoughts: The 40th delivered a Super Premium experience in spades, and I would not hesitate to buy these. No question this is the type of cigar worthy of the distinction of Cigar of the Year, as it achieved in 2004 from Cigar Aficionado. Balance, depth, complexity, full body, full flavor, distinct notes, distinct changes…, I mean what more could one ask for when they spend money. The Padron 40th Natural is one of the best cigars I have experienced, and oddly enough, I normally do not gravitate to the Padron natural in the Family Reserve and special releases really. I have been through boxes of 80th, 45th, and 85th in the maduro, but this really takes the cake in terms of complexity. Hands down the 40th curb stomped the Opus X Lost City toro I just reviewed. Padron never ceases to amaze me, and a review of the 80th will come next. Thanks to my buddy Rip, if you know him, then you know. I was not surprised to see he bought the 40ct humidor, as I would as well if I had the capital.
So Jeff and Jessica if you are reading this, interview at IPCPR? I would love to hear stories about a brand with such rich tradition.