Padron Series Churchill (Comparison Review)

Padron Series Churchill - 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 Churchill (Natural and Maduro)
Size: 6.875 x 46 (churchill)
Wrapper: Nicaragua
Filler & Binder: Nicaragua
Body: Medium to Full
Strength: Medium to Full
Average Retail: $4.69 USD
Cigar Insider/Aficionado Ratings: Consistently high 80s to low 90s

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 panatela

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 amalgum opinion of cigarfan and lucky7 along with that of the guest reviewer(s). Our guest reviewer for this vitola is:

McCharlie - Club Stogie

Padron Series Churchill – Natural and Maduro

Padron Churchill Natural and Maduro - Actual SizeThe Churchill as a vitola did not originate with the famous prime minister of England; legend has it that before Winston came to prominence the size was in fact named for a different prime minister: Georges Clemenceau of France. As a tribute to his work on the Treaty of Versailles, the cigar that would be Churchill was named the “Clemenceau.” Two decades and one world war later, the Romeo y Julieta factory in Havana produced an unlimited number of cigars for Winston Churchill’s pleasure, and it just happened that his favorite size was the Clemenceau. Finally, after Churchill visited the plant in 1947, the 7 x 47 Romeo y Julieta was renamed in his honor. When the vitola was picked up by other marcas, the vitola itself became known as the “Churchill.”

Or so the story goes, according to Min Ron Nee’s Illustrated Encyclopedia of Post-Revolution Havana Cigars. Officially, the Cuban “Churchill” is vitola number 609, also known as the “Julieta 2.”

But we don’t really expect the Padron Churchill to conform to Cuban standards, and it doesn’t. It’s a bit shorter and a bit narrower than the Julieta 2; in fact, it’s the same dimension as the Delicias, but two inches longer. But that is where all resemblance to the Delicias ends. This is a different cigar altogether.

Natural

The natural wrapper on Padron’s Churchill has a reddish cast to it, a colorado maduro shade that distinguishes it not only from the maduro Churchill, but from the other natural vitolas in the Padron Series. The leaf is slightly veiny, moderately grainy, and otherwise about as rough as most of the other naturals we’ve smoked. It wouldn’t be a classic Padron without a few superficial dings and scratches.

Churchill Natural Wrapper

The head is flattened and as usual the caps tend to be a bit loose. The roll is lightly box pressed but solid, with a few dents here and there. McCharlie noticed that the natural was “slightly less springy” than the maduro, and lucky7 found straggling bits of tobacco bristling from the foot.

Churchill Natural Foot with Stragglers

Pre-light scents were in line with our other experiences: grass or hay on the wrapper, with a richer cocoa-like scent on the foot and the cold draw. McCharlie commented that the “natural smelled like a box of chocolate cookies,” and his sister detected a hint of pecan. (Editor’s note: No cigars for you, sister. Maybe next time.)

The natural Churchill starts up very smoothly, an indication of the manner in which this cigar proceeds to the nub. It produces a nice volume of cool smoke and a solid dark gray ash. We all agreed with McCharlie’s observation about the draw quality in both natural and maduro:

After reading several other reviews on the churchill I noticed many of the reviewers commented about the fairly loose draw of the churchill, which was not the case with these particular churchills. The draw was not too tight, but tighter than what most others I think have said.

Churchill Natural with quarter for comparisonInitial flavors include wood, leather, and a touch of spice. After an inch or so some cocoa flavors settle in and are accompanied by a short and dry finish. At this point there is an aroma of “sweet toasted wood and caramel with the familiar Padron twang,” lucky7 notes, “and it seems incredibly mild for a Padron.” At the conclusion of the first third, McCharlie found “a very nice earthy nut flavor.”

McCharlie went on to say that the middle section features “full bodied nut, wood, and good old tobacco flavors.” Cigarfan noted a “solid core of hardwood with a sweet edge and diminishing bean flavors” while the flavors “turned quite bland” for lucky7. The creamy texture of the smoke is also noteworthy at this point.

Lucky7's Churchill Natural Ash

The last third continues along the same path: simple mild tobacco flavors and a hint of char at the end.

We were all a bit surprised by the mild mannered nature of this cigar, since it’s not what we’ve come to expect from Padron. Lucky7 called the body and strength of this cigar “mild to medium through the first two thirds, building to medium plus at the nub.” Mild to medium is not what most folks will tell you about Padron cigars.

Despite this, it’s a very enjoyable cigar, and a great value at just above $3.00 per stick (box price.)

Maduro

The maduro wrapper on the Padron Churchill is veiny with a very light layer of oil — the color is effectively a dark matte brown with little sheen. The heads tend to be round rather than flat, and a little misshapen.

There are a few other minor aesthetic defects like small holes in the leaf and sloppy cap work, but the roll is firm (if a bit lumpy) and the draw resistance is good.

Churchill Maduro Punch Hole Anomaly - Looks like wood in there!

The prelight characteristics are typical of mild maduro: grass and compost with a touch of chocolate. McCharlie described it as nutty/woody, and his sister thought it was more “tobaccoey” than the natural.

Like many of the Padron maduros in this series it starts up with a mild bite, but in this case it lasts for only a few puffs and then settles into a smooth and creamy concoction of wood, coffee and sugary spices. McCharlie thought the maduro started “like the middle third of the natural, strong earthy nut with a little more coffee flavors.”

The burn is straight and needs no corrections and the ash is a solid light gray with little flaking. The smoke volume is a little thin to start but increases in body and texture to medium at the midway point.

The flavors become more pronounced in the middle section and get toastier: a woody foundation over which a sweet char floats, resembling toffee at times. McCharlie noted diminishing coffee flavors and “more of a nutty spice flavor” in this section.

Churchill Maduro Ash Grain

The finale turns up the heat a little, but the flavors turn darker and somewhat more plain: strong tobacco, burnt coffee, and harsh spice were among the descriptions of the flavors at this point. The finish lengthens, but the aftertaste becomes bitter at the two-inch mark.

Our overall impressions were that this is a fine cigar, if a bit mild, for the first two-thirds, but it goes downhill from there. But like the natural, it’s still a great value.

Conclusion

The Churchill is quite distinct from other cigars in the Padron Series — for one, it is probably the mildest blend in the series. Other cigars in this category might be the Magnum and the Executive, but the churchill was probably the least aggressive of them all. All of our reviewers enjoyed this cigar, even if it wasn’t a highly dramatic experience.

Comparing the two wrappers, McCharlie remarked that

Both cigars were very enjoyable. The natural had more of that smooth wood and nut flavor I really enjoy, perfect for smoking in the morning… The maduro was a little bit stronger, something I would smoke after a big steak dinner. But if I had to choose one box to buy right now it would be the naturals. The natural has more of the good all around flavors I look for in a cigar at this point in my cigar smoking journey.

Lucky7 is on the fence with this one. He found the construction and performance of both cigars to be equally good, and the flavor profiles similar, though the maduro “has a small edge in sweetness and a fruity characteristic,” and the natural “has a unique cocoa aspect.” In the final analysis, he says,

It is truly a toss up regarding preference. I liked them both and will consider adding them to my list of smokes to stock for times when I’m reaching for a milder smoke. Even though the last third is, let’s say, uneventful and bland… for around $3.00 you can’t beat the first two thirds.

Cigarfan enjoyed both of these cigars as well, but rated the natural just slightly higher for the cocoa bean flavor and smooth creaminess of the smoke. Taken together, the Churchills are high on his list of the best of the classic Padron Series.

Many thanks to guest reviewer McCharlie, who almost had to forego his review for the Roundup when he was called into service as a National Guardsman. We would like to single him out for a moment to recognize his service to his country and fellow heartlanders as they struggled to deal with the wrath of mother nature.

Afterword

We all remember the recent flooding in the mid-west where so many were forced from their homes. It was so bad in Illinois, Governor Rod Blagojevich called in the National Guard to assist in shoring up the Sny levee system along 54 miles of the Mississippi River shoreline. If this levee had failed, hundreds of thousands of acres of farmland and several small towns would have been flooded. The levee had not been breached but as McCharlie tells it, the water level on the river side was so high your feet got wet walking along the top of the levee.

Along with nearly 1000 Guardsmen from across the state, our own guest reviewer McCharlie, member of the 182nd Airlift Wing, jumped to action and spent the better part of a month building up the levee and fixing potential leaks. The townsfolk were so grateful for the help, they pretty much kept the Guardsmen fed with good ol’ down home cookin’ saving them from the dreaded MRE (Meals Ready to Eat). Although MREs are much better than they used to be, you certainly wouldn’t eat them given a choice.

With the breadth of flooding and the continued onslaught of bad weather in the region, we thought McCharlie might be lost to the Roundup. Cigars just don’t smoke well in the rain and, even if you can sneak one, taking notes is nearly impossible. We were glad to hear the work along the river was completed in time and are very happy to report McCharlie’s valued opinion is represented in this review. Our thanks to McCharlie and all of the National Guard men and women who sacrifice so much and put in some really hard work whenever they are called. True patriots here on the home front!

… cigarfan & lucky7

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One comment on “Padron Series Churchill (Comparison Review)

  1. [...] Around the Blogs: Keepers of the Flame continues its vertical tasting of the PadrĂ³n line with the Churchill. Stogie Review reviews the CAO LX2. Cigar Jack lights up a Don Pepin Cuban Classic. Cigar Spy pans [...]

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