Padron Series Panetela (Comparison Review)

Padron Series Panetela - 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 Panetela (Natural and Maduro)
Size: 6.875 x 36 (panetela)
Wrapper: Nicaragua
Filler & Binder: Nicaragua
Body: Medium to Full
Strength: Medium to Full
Average Retail: $3.50 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 reviewers for this vitola are:

Kevin - The Box Press

Alex - Cigar Jack

Padron Series Panetela – Natural and Maduro

Panetela Natural and Maduro - Actual SizeThin ring gauge cigars are enjoying a renaissance in popularity recently, due in part to the outstanding wrapper leaf currently grown in Nicaragua. (It is interesting to note that the majority of lanceros in production for the American market are using Nicaraguan Habano wrapper leaf: Don Pepin Garcia, Illusione, Gran Habano Corojo, La Flor Dominicana Coronado and Oliva Serie V are a few that come to mind.)

The lancero has been a standard in the Cuban cigar pantheon, exemplified by the Cohiba Esplendido, but the Padron Panetela is thinner yet – nearly as narrow as the Corticos, but of course longer.

The wrapper to filler ratio in a smaller ring gauge cigar highlights the wrapper’s aromatic qualities, so it’s no wonder that it has made the comeback that it has among experienced cigar enthusiasts. On the other hand, the thin cigar is prone to construction flaws: a tight draw and hot burn chief among them.

Natural

Padron’s natural Panetela falls in line with many other naturals in the Classic Series: it’s rough and ready to rumble, or as Kevin puts it: “Sometime before it was slipped into its cello sleeve, it sustained more nicks and cuts than Arturo Gatti on a bad night in Atlantic City.” He counted “no fewer than four spots where binder was visible through the wrapper tears.” Alex noted bumps and veins on the wrapper, and the KOTF guys held their cigars to the light and — after careful consideration — just said, “Yep.”

Kevin's Panetela Natural Wrapper Tear (oh no, a cut above the left eye - wiil he be able to go the distance?)

Panetela - Band OverlapThis thin cigar is lightly box pressed and the standard size bands tend to overlap themselves. As lucky7 remarks, “it looks like some young boy trying to wear his daddy’s belt.” (Maybe Padron should use the smaller Corticos style bands on these?)

The pre-light characteristics were unremarkable aside from a draw that was clearly inconsistent from cigar to cigar. Some were quite tight, others fairly loose. Barnyard scents and a hint of leather dominate the pre-light aromas.

The natural Panetela starts up with the smooth flavors of leather and spice, but Alex was expecting more:

The initial flavor notes on this cigar weren’t very strong. There were definite leather hints and some spice, but not much else. As the cigar progressed in the first few minutes, the flavors got stronger, but leather was definitely the predominant note, with hints of spice in the background. I gave it a few long, languid puffs and cleared my palate a couple times, but the leather and spice was all that I could note in the flavor profile, much to my annoyance.

Kevin found a little more complexity, but was similarly underwhelmed:

Initial flavors are leathery with hints of hardwood and raisin in the background. Between the leather and a dry texture, it is reminiscent of some lighter DPG blends but with a shorter, less satisfying finish.

Kevin's Review Pair (Maduro top/front)

Lucky7 and cigarfan found the first stage of the cigar smooth but uneventful: toasted wood flavors serve as a foundation, over which there are sweet tobacco flavors and a slightly fruity aroma. The texture is creamy and quite pleasant.

The mid-section continues along the same course, though Alex reported diminishing spice and “…a strong leather note which left a sour aftertaste in my mouth.” Kevin powered through a tunneling start to be rewarded with “a powdery cocoa flavor that begins to come through and mix nicely with the leathery base.”

Cigarfan detected some cocoa as well, while lucky7 noted a little bitterness and a short finish. Otherwise there didn’t appear to be much development.

Alex's Panetela Natural

The last third picks up the pace with a lengthier finish, flavors of burnt wood and char, and a little more pepper. Kevin greeted the return of raisin and hardwood from the first stage of the cigar, while Alex managed to squeeze some enjoyment out of an otherwise mediocre experience:

…the spice notes came back with a vengeance and pushed the leather into the background about halfway through the cigar. The spice here was mostly peppery, with some slight char notes. At this point I finally started to enjoy my smoke and settled back into my seat.

Kevin's Panetela Natural Wrapper Grain

The natural Panetela is a straightforward, even tempered cigar that is a bit of an underachiever in terms of construction and performance. Kevin sums it up when he says that “it fits squarely in the middle of the spectrum for me. It’s a whisper above average…but it isn’t demonstrative enough to make my regular rotation.”

Maduro

The maduro wrappers were typical of Padron maduro: just a couple shades darker than the natural, with a little more oil, a fine layer of grain, and a pre-light scent of compost, chocolate and coffee.

Kevin's Review Pair (Maduro in front)

A couple of the maduro Panetelas had what appeared to be loose wrappers, where the wrapper seemed to warp and separate from the roll. They looked like they might unravel immediately on cutting, but they actually stood up pretty well once cut and lit. Panetela Natural with quarter for comparisonThe draw on these tended to be a little firmer than the natural, but they also seemed to burn a little better.

The maduro starts up with a pronounced bite and a strong peppery aroma. As Alex says, “This cigar hit with nice strong flavors and never looked back.” Kevin noted:

“…a sharp, vegetal funk from the outset. I hit this one very slowly for the first two inches, just enough to keep it lit, as I was concerned this bite might contaminate the entire smoke.

Lucky7 remarked that after the initial blast wears off it mellows to a “core of chocolate and coffee, with notes of toasted wood and spice, along with a sweet aroma and a familiar twang on the nose.” Cigarfan found some sweet notes here, but felt that these were overwhelmed by pepper and a hot burn.

Alex's Panetela Maduro

These flavors remain constant through the middle third as the smoke takes on a creamier texture. Alex, who greatly preferred the maduro, says:

By the time the smoke got to the middle section, the leather had pretty much disappeared. The strong spice kept strong, while the coffee and molasses notes played in and out. Also in the middle section came some delightful tastes of hickory and dark chocolate…that created a nice complexity.

Panetela Maduro Wrapper Grain

On the other hand, cigarfan agreed with Kevin when he said that

It became more smokeable after a third, but it retained a thin, sharp bite. At halftime, it still tastes green to me. Compared to the natural, the maduro was certainly stronger and more peppery, but not pleasantly so.

The reviewers who liked the way this cigar started liked the way it smoked to the end, and those of us who were put off by the raspy introduction never really found a way to make friends with it. Alex enjoyed the “spice and hickory notes until my fingers got too hot to keep smoking,” while Kevin found the maduro to be “aggressively young.” And lucky7 simply warns, “be ready for some nasty stuff if you don’t slow down for the last third.

Conclusion

Many cigar smokers are partial to Padron cigars in maduro, which has given Team Maduro something of a home field advantage throughout the Padron Roundup. Panetela Maduro Foot (looks almost juicy, doesn't it?)The extra fermentation gives the maduro an added dimension that is lacking in the natural, but at the same time can create an unbalanced smoke if the blend isn’t just perfect.

Alex overwhelmingly preferred the maduro Panetela:

I preferred it to the natural wrapper completely. This isn’t usually a vitola that I would smoke, but for this cigar, I can see myself making an exception. This was a great cigar.

Lucky7 found both wrappers enjoyable, but marginally preferred the maduro: “I would probably go for the maduro because it has a more complex flavor profile, but both these ‘gars are quite a nice smoke.

Panetela Maduro Ash with GrainOn the other hand, cigarfan agreed with Kevin in his assessment that the natural was a more balanced cigar. As Kevin puts it,

I expected to like the maduro better than the natural, but that’s not how it panned out. Where the natural was easygoing and seemingly well aged, the maduro was aggressively young. The burn and draw were above average, but I hold out little hope for the flavor.

In the contest between the natural and maduro Panetelas we appear to have a draw! Try them both and decide for yourself, or take lucky7’s advice and consider the Corticos as an alternative:

Where the Corticos had good flavor to the nub, the Panetela was rather bland in the last third. Considering the cost, the little Corticos is just as big a bang for the buck and it takes up less humi space.

Thanks again to Alex and Kevin for participating in this bout of the Padron Roundup. Both provided some excellent photos in addition to their reviews. Alex regularly contributes reviews and commentary to the Cigar Jack website, and Kevin is the wizard behind the curtain at The Box Press. Be sure to check ‘em out!

… cigarfan & lucky7

KOTF’s own lucky7 had to try his hand at what has become known as a Brian Hewitt tradition. Heck, why should Brian have all the fun anyway! Considering how much work these are to capture and prepare, lucky says “this may be the one and ONLY KOTF Burning Tower of Padron Series Panetela!”

Lucky7's Burning Tower of Panetela

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2 comments on “Padron Series Panetela (Comparison Review)

  1. Kevin says:

    Slammin’ tower, lucky7! Thanks again, guys, for inviting me to participate. It was a blast.

    Best, K

  2. [...] smokes the Ashton ESG. Cigar Spy lights up a Cabaiguan. Cigar Inspector inspects a Oliva Serie V. Keepers of the Flame continues its vertical review of the Padrón line with the [...]

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