Padron Series Corticos (Comparison Review)

Padron Series Corticos Natural and Maduro

Skip the fluff and jump straight to the review!

Cigar Stats
Brand Owner: Padron Cigars, Inc. – Miami, FL (website)
(distributor operates under the name Piloto Cigars, Inc.)
Factory: Tabacos Cubanica, S.A. – Esteli, Nicaragua
Factory: Tabacos Centroamericanos, S.A. – Danli, Honduras
Model/Vitola: Padron Series Corticos (Natural and Maduro)
Size: 4.25 x 35 (short panetela)
Wrapper: Nicaragua
Filler & Binder: Nicaragua
Body: Medium to Full
Strength: Medium to Full
Average Retail: $2.11 USD
Cigar Insider/Aficionado Ratings: None listed

Fourteen other vitola sizes are available in the traditional Padron Series along with one which was recently discontinued.

Frontmark

Length x Ring

Shape

2000

5.0 x 50

robusto

3000

5.5 x 52

robusto

4000

6.5 x 54

toro

5000

5.5 x 56

robusto

6000

5.5 x 52

torpedo

7000

6.25 x 60

toro

Ambassador

6.875 x 42

lonsdale

Chicos

5.5 x 36

discontinued

Churchill

6.875 x 46

churchill

Corticos

4.25 x 35

short panetela

Delicias

4.875 x 46

corona extra

Executive

7.5 x 50

double corona

Londres

5.5 x 42

corona

Magnum

9.0 x 50

giant

Palmas

6.25 x 42

long corona

Panetela

6.875 x 36

panetela

All sizes come in lacquered cedar boxes of 26, packaged with cellophane sleeves on individual cigars. Many vendors list a box size of 25. I am not entirely sure why that is. It may be that Padron changed the box count since the initial release. The Corticos are the exception packaged in boxes of 30 or tins of 6.

From the Padron website …..Jose Padron, Sr.

“We deliver only the finest, handmade, complex cigars with the flavor of the Cuban heritage out of which the Padron recipe was born. Our primary mission is the exceptional quality of our product, not the quantity produced. As a vertically integrated, family-owned company, we pay personal attention to every detail throughout all steps of our tobacco growing and cigar manufacturing process. Because we strive to give you, the smoker, the confidence that each cigar is the same ….. perfect.”

If you are interested in more KOTF info on the Padron Story, you can read it here.

The Keepers of the Flame Padron Series Roundup

Cigarfan & Lucky7

This comparison review is one in a series on the original Padron line of cigars. When we have completed reviews on the entire line, a vertical tasting for each wrapper will be published. Each review will be an amalgam opinion of cigarfan and lucky7 along with that of the guest reviewer(s). Our guest reviewer for this vitola is:

Elvis - The Velvet Cigar

Padron Series Corticos – Natural and Maduro

Corticos are the smallest cigars made in the classic Padron series. They are a bit too large to be called cigarillos, which usually have a ring gauge under 30, but by comparison with the rest of the cigars in this series they are certainly the babies of the family. I’ve asked some of my Spanish speaking compadres what “cortico” means and so far nobody has recognized the word. The best we can come up with is a definition for the Portuguese word cortiço, which translates as

an area of urban housing where many people live in conditions of poor hygiene and poverty. Some cortiços can be seen in big Brazilian cities such as São Paulo, Salvador, Rio de Janeiro, and Recife. Corticos differ from favelas in being large houses divided into small rooms, rather than autonomously-built neighborhoods. People who live in corticos are normally families in one very small room who have to share one bathroom and have no privacy.

Elvis, our guest reviewer from the Velvet Cigar, was initially concerned about the small size of this cigar, but he accepted the challenge with good humor:

My assignment was sweet, simple and to the point. “Elvis….” they said, “We want you to smoke the Padron Corticos in both the Natural and Maduro wrappers and let us know what you think.” Well, ok, I thought….hell, for a free cigar I’ll smoke just about anyhing, especially with the name Padron attached to it. But when I got the samples, I must admit I was a bit put off. I thought they wanted me to smoke a CIGAR, not a cigarette!

After all, the Corticos measures just a measely 4.5×35. Did they think I was a rookie here? Yes, I’ve only smoked for about the last 8 years or so, but damn, I think my tolerance and love of a good thick, manly strong cigar is up there with the best of them!

I thought about going back to Mission Control and telling them I wasn’t the best man for the job. I don’t ever smoke Cigarellos or even Lonsdales or really anything smaller than a Toro size. But then again, there might just be a time when I am in desperate need of a quick smoke and this could be just the one…after all, it is a Padron. OK, dammit, I’ll do it!

Natural

Corticos Natural and Maduro - Actual SizeThe natural Corticos is easily distinguished from the maduro — the wrapper is a much lighter shade, milk chocolate in color with a yellowish hue. The wrapper itself is fairly smooth and uniform in color; the only defect is the cap, which is applied a bit carelessly and leaves the head appearing wrinkled. The prelight scent is typical of the Padron series — earthy, sweet tobacco.

What Elvis writes about lighting up the maduro version is just as true of the natural:

Time to light up. Just used a simple guillotine cut on it…it was really too small I though to attempt a punch or V cut. I wetted down the freshly cut end and took a wooden match to it. It lit up perfectly…quickly and evenly. Ahhh…already a plus to smoking a small cigar…no time wasted trying to get the whole thing lit. Take that you 60-gauge monsters! (See my humidor for Edge Battalion and MX2 Gordo…now jealous of this little stick).

The flavor profile here is quite similar to other natural wrapped cigars in the series: it starts up with a little pepper and settles into base flavors of leather and toasted wood. There are some sweet notes that gradually dissipate.

In the mid-section we found a bit of cocoa along with the woody flavors and leathery aroma. The burn tends to tilt a little, but rotating the cigar seems to remedy this slight annoyance. For such a small cigar it pumps out a nice volume of smoke, but it has to be smoked rather slowly, “sipped” as lucky7 says, or else it grows hot and prematurely acrid. As hard as it may be to believe, the Corticos can last up to 50 minutes if smoked in this way (and they kinda have to be.)

The last section is a little rough. Cigarfan found it almost impossible to keep this little guy smoking cool in the last two inches, resulting in a bitter, hot taste. Lucky7 found coffee bean and cocoa flavors to the end, with a little char and pepper on the aftertaste.

Lucky7's Corticos Natural - 1st Ash

Elvis found the same little kick that he found with the maduro,

…with a slightly longer finish that stays burning the back of your throat a bit. The Natural also seems to smoke a little more quickly and the wrapper doesn’t seem to be as thick. All in all this Natural wrappered Corticos is also a nice little taste of a larger cigar experience when you don’t quite have the time to suck down a more traditional, larger cigar.

Maduro

The wrapper on this maduro is surprisingly oily and has the same grain that you can sometimes find on the standard and large size maduros in this line. We agree with Elvis when he says,

I was immediately impressed by the Corticos wrapper. It was toothy, dark and really nice looking. I guess I always assumed that a tiny cigar would be made with less expensive tobaccos. But from the look of it, this wrapper could be the same darn thing they put on the Padron 1964’s! Next, I noticed a very strong, alluring aroma from the unlit cigar that was dead on to a Hershey’s Special Dark candy bar. It was chocolate up and down but with the complex bitterness thrown into the mix that really reminded me of this little treat of a candy bar I occasionally buy and keep in the fridge to nibble on.

The maduro is softer, sweeter, and perhaps simply more flavorful than the natural. It starts up a touch harsh, but then it evens out and presents all the sweet barbeque flavors that you’d expect from the larger class maduros. Corticos Maduro with quarter for comparisonThe core flavors are similar to the natural version: wood and leather (especially on the nose) but the maduro is accompanied by a wonderful sweet char.

The flavor intensifies in the mid-section and the flavor slides to the bitter side of bittersweet. The finish is fairly short and there isn’t much room for development here, but overall this is a nice little stogie up until the last third. If you try to smoke this cigar at a “normal” pace, it will heat up and get downright nasty. Once again, it’s sippin’ time in the final stretch.

Elvis’s impression of the maduro Corticos:

From the very first puff I was really blown away. There was no working my way into this cigar to find the true flavor. It was there from first fire. A very sharp taste of earthy espresso and the aforementioned bitter chocolate. Sharp is really the best word here even if you don’t agree with my flavor profiles…it’s got a sharp bite to it that you get when you take in a puff and then it’s gone. It’s a crisp and clean burst of flavor that nails your tastebuds and then just cuts out. There’s none of the lingering throat burning issues you might have from a similar larger cigar that can be annoying with flavors this big. What’s more is that I got nearly 45-minutes out of this little guy. I did smoke it slow making notes as I went along, but I was pleasantly surprised that this wasn’t a 15 minute cigar.

Corticos Maduro Tin

Conclusion

Overall we preferred the Corticos in the maduro wrapper over the natural. The natural is no slouch, but the maduro brings with it a little more richness and smokes a little bit smoother. They both resemble other cigars in the line, but you have to take care not to hotbox these little fellers. As lucky7 says,

If you are a manly-man, you can probably nub these guys but for the rest of us I think it is safe to say, 2/3 is enough. I like full bodied but not hot nasty char/pepper and bitterness.

Elvis believes that Padron’s Corticos is a good example of why the trend in cigar size is turning to narrow ring gauges:

I have blogged in the past (at www.velvetcigar.net) that I honestly think the next wave in cigars today will be smaller, skinnier sticks. With so much emphasis on the wrapper and all the major makers trying to invent the next new thing in creative wrappers, it only makes sense that having a cigar with less filler would intensify the flavor of that outer shell. This point is definitely proven with the Padron Corticos. Same overall flavors as the 4000, 5000 or 6000 but delivered much quicker in a little stronger setting.

And if you need one last reason to pick up a tin of Corticos on your next outing to the cigar shop, there’s the price: at around two bucks a pop, they’re hard to beat. Just remember, don’t underestimate these short panatelas because they’re small. Smoke them sloooowly, make them last, and they will reward you with all of the flavor you would expect from larger size Padrons.

Thanks to Elvis for his lively and entertaining take on the the modest but full-flavored Corticos. You can keep track of his adventures by checking into The Velvet Cigar, where he and Ironmeden always have something new and interesting up their sleeves.

… cigarfan & lucky7

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3 comments on “Padron Series Corticos (Comparison Review)

  1. [...] Check out Elvis’ review of the Padron Corticos at Keepers of the Flame [...]

  2. [...] the Oliva Serie G. Cigar Jack lights up an Ashton ESG. The Cigar Spy torches up a Don Lino 1989. Keepers of the Flame tries the Padrón [...]

  3. LR says:

    Corticos means short in certain spanish dialogues.

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