One of the interesting things about tobacco, aside from the pleasure we derive from its taste and aroma as it burns, is its use in genetic engineering. Nicotiana Tabacum is extremely susceptible to hybridization, to the point that tobacco farmers have to constantly defend against cross-pollination in order to keep their strains pure. It has been said that the reason why Cuban tobacco no longer tastes the same as it did years ago is because of uncontrolled hybridization. I’m not sure how true that is, but that’s the line you’ll hear from the folks in Honduras or Nicaragua who claim their corojo is from the “original” Cuban seed.
Tobacco is an often used plant in biological experiments, because it has many advantages: It is a self-pollinating crop with up to one million seeds per plant, it can produce a large amount of biomass (more than 40 t fresh leaf weight/acre), it has no known wild or cultivated relatives in North America and it is easy to enhance through genetic engineering. By harvesting tobacco leaves before the onset of flowering, the possible flow of genetic material via pollen or seed is eliminated and the contamination of food crops is prevented. In addition, there exists a large-scale processing infrastructure.
Bioengineering is somewhat controversial, and sometimes just plain weird. How about a luminescent tobacco plant?
Or tobacco crossed with carrot? Cigarrot, anyone?
The wrapper for the Padilla Hybrid is a carefully engineered cross between “cuban seed” tobacco and Connecticut Shade, but more importantly (I think) is the fact that it’s grown in Ecuador. I’m sure that has as much to with the fine taste of this cigar as the genetic blend does.Out of the box the first thing you’ll notice is a very smooth shade wrapper of uniform color with small discreet veins. The cigar is a little bit dry, but rolled well with a Cuban style flat head.
The construction here is right on the money. It lights up easily and burns absolutely even with an effortless draw. The aroma from the wrapper is most typically Connecticut shade — creamy, buttery, like Chardonnay. But it’s spiked with some more unusual, but still gentle spices. A touch of cinnamon or nutmeg maybe with a bready overtone. The flavor is nutty but otherwise unremarkable. The aroma is the focal point here.
It starts to burn a little hot at the middle of the cigar and by the two-thirds point the flavor is getting a little ashy. It’s a mild cigar in terms of strength, but about medium in smoke density and mouthfeel.
The flavor and aroma of this cigar reminds me a little of what happens when you blend two single-origin coffees, or two single malt whiskies. While the high points of both elements are present and complementary, if you’re a diehard fan of one or the other the blend might come off as an adulteration.
But I think Padilla has something here. Overall I think this is a great blend of aromas and definitely worth the very reasonable price. If you like Connecticut shade and cigars on the mild to medium side, definitely give this Hybrid a shot.
Do it soon though because they’re going out of production. If you’ve tried one and you like it, be sure to pick up a few boxes now while they’re still available. At 60 dollars for a box of 20 this is a no brainer.