Brand Owner: Padron Cigars, Inc. (also operates under the name Piloto Cigars, Inc.) – Miami, FL
Factory: Tabacos Cubanica, S.A. – Esteli, Nicaragua
Factory: Tabacos Centroamericanos, S.A. – Danli, Honduras
Model/Vitola: Padron 4000 Natural
Size: 6.5 x 54 (Corona Gorda)
Filler & Binder: Nicaragua
Body: Medium to Medium Plus
MSRP: $6.75 USD
Cigar Insider/Aficionado Ratings:
- 90 – April 2000
87 – November 2001 & June 2007
Fourteen other vitolas available in the traditional Padron line
- Corticos 4.25 x 35 (short panatela)
- Delicias 4.875 x 46 (corona extra)
- 2000 5.0 x 50 (robusto)
- Londres 5.5 x 42 (corona)
- 3000 5.5 x 52 (robusto)
- 6000 5.5 x 52 (torpedo)
- 5000 5.5 x 56 (robusto)
- Palmas 6.25 x 42 (long corona)
- 7000 6.25 x 60 (toro)
- Panetela 6.875 x 36
- Ambassador 6.875 x 42 (lonsdale)
- Churchill 6.875 x 46
- Executive 7.5 x 50 (double corona)
- Magnum 9.0 x 50 (giant)
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 only exception packaged in boxes of 30
or tins of 6.
Sometimes a cigar is just a cigar. That should never be said of a Padron. Jose Orlando Padron has put so much into the cigars that bear his name that both have earned the highest respect from those who know them. Both are Cuban to the core as evidenced by the Padron mantra:
Cuba has no boundaries, barriers or politics. At least not the Cuba we know and love. Cuba is in our hearts. It’s a state of mind. The sun on your face. The smoke that tells your nostrils you are home once again. Cuba is Padron Cigars. Wherever you smoke them.
Hand-rolled Padron cigars, like the man they’re named after, have roots that reach all the way back to 15th-century Spain. Spanish explorers discovered the Central American tradition of smoking string-tied rolls of select tobacco leaves. In fact, the Spanish word cigarro, from which “cigar” is derived, was probably an adaptation of sik’ar – the Mayan term for smoking. The tobacco and the tradition these explorers subsequently introduced to Spain became widely adopted throughout Europe two centuries later. Cigars found their way to North America with the Connecticut settlement in 1633.
Jose Padron’s personal story ranks up there with some of the great American success stories of all time. The Padron family has been involved in the tobacco industry since the late 1800s, when Jose Orlando’s grandfather, Damaso Padron, emigrated from the Canary Islands to Cuba and began growing tobacco in a small agricultural town called Las Ovas in the province of Piñar del Rio. Born and raised there, Jose was trained at an early age in the ways of tobacco cultivation and the fine art of hand rolling cigars. Just like his father and grandfathers before him.
The political tensions in Cuba following Fidel Castro’s rise and the confiscation of the family’s tobacco plantation in 1961 forced Jose to flee with his wife and young children in tow to the land of his ancestors in Spain. Less than a year later, they came to the U.S. through New York and finally settled in Miami, penniless but full of desire to rebuild their lives and to live in freedom.
For over two and a half years, Jose worked an assortment of odd jobs – anything to keep his family fed. One of those jobs was carpentry. You can read an interesting story in the February 2008 edition of Cigar Aficionado about the “little hammer” gifted to Jose and put to very good use in those early days. He managed to set aside a little cash over time, and on September 8, 1964 he launched Padron Cigars with a meager $600 in savings. Jose put everything he owned into his dream: planting the tobacco seeds he managed to secret away from Cuba. Renting a small warehouse in Little Havana, he and a single employee began producing cigars by day, which Jose then sold at night. In 1965, they sold 66,000 cigars. Today, Padron sells more than that every week. Meanwhile, the Padron grandchildren are being trained in the ways of tobacco cultivation and the fine art of hand rolling cigars. Just like the generations of Padrons before them.
Jose Orlando Padron is the Chairman of Padron Cigars, Inc. and Jorge Luis Padron is the President of the company. They operate two production facilities in Central America. Tabacos Cubanica, S.A. in Esteli, Nicaragua, and Tabacos Centroamericanos, S.A. in Danli, Honduras. The difference between the two factories is size and the functions they perform. The Honduran facility functions strictly as a production plant. The Nicaraguan facilities serve many purposes such as warehousing of raw material, sorting and deveining, and fermentation as well as production. There was a rumor circulating early in 2007 that the Danli operation was closing but I have been unable to corroborate that as fact.
Padron Cigars is one among a handful of companies that control every aspect of the manufacturing process from seed to smoke. Emphasis on quality rather than quantity, is one of the keys to the company’s longevity. Jose says, “We’ve never fallen on the trap like other manufacturers that produce, produce and produce to respond to the growing demand, as if we were making churros.” Production is modest, some four million cigars a year, and Jose has no intention of growing into a cigar giant. He says, “We will follow our family traditions and remain faithful to the course we set years ago, continuing to focus all of our efforts on producing quality and not quantity.” Jorge is quoted as saying, “Our philosophy has always been that it takes years and years to build a strong loyal customer base but it only takes a few bad cigars to lose it. With this in mind, we do not lose sight of what it is that has made Padron successful… our products… not a fancy marketing campaign or story.”
From the Padron website …..
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.
As with many popular products, counterfeiting for the Padron’s has been an issue. More so with the Anniversary and 1926 lines but they deal with it across the board. In June 1999, the first fake Padron Anniversary cigars surfaced in Nicaragua. In January 2000, police seized more than 3,000 counterfeit Anniversary cigars and 5,000 fake bands from a Los Angeles warehouse. Two months later, a seizure in Miami forced the Padrons to send a letter to retailers warning about the surge in counterfeiting. Undercover agents seized more than $60,000 of fake cigars in a September 2000 raid that took place in New York City.
“We have to make it as hard as possible for someone to counterfeit our cigars,” says Jose. “We’ve been working on new ways to make the band more difficult to counterfeit and to make consumers feel more secure that they are getting a genuine Padron.” The company has modified its Anniversary boxes with special engraving on the hinges and tey have added an additional numbered band. Padron representatives inform us there was a system to the numbering to help track possible fakes, but it won’t be revealed to the public. Additional measures to hinder counterfeiters are anticipated. For the traditional Padron line, the signature of Jose O. Padron was added, running at a diagonal across the backside of the cigar band.
Cigar Aficionado has published several articles on the Padron’s troubles with counterfeit cigars. They take counterfeiting very seriously and are doing all they can to combat the problem.
The Padron 4000
The Nicaraguan blend in all of the traditional Padron line is the same. The difference is in the size and shape which interestingly yield some distinctly different flavors. All are available in both Natural and Maduro covers. The Padron’s listen carefully to their retailers and consumers. As I understand it, the 4000 (and the 5000) released late in 2000 was due directly to customer feedback and requests for larger ring gauge cigars and the 6000 in answer to requests for a torpedo shape. All tobacco used in the line is sun-grown habano, aged for a minimum of two and one-half years.
Just a note of caution. The Natural and Maduro versions of the 4000 are quite difficult to tell apart visually. I have to put them in separate humidors so I don’t get them confused (not that confusing me is so difficult to do).
Bottom line up front …..
For a line of cigars that gets such little attention, the traditional Padron is a quality cigar at quite the affordable price. Rich and flavorful, it makes for an easy smoke anytime. This is regular “everyday” rotation stuff for me! As George E from the Stogie Guys says, “If your Padron smoking experiences haven’t included this line, you should change that. Soon.”
The 4000 feels quite fat in the hand but nicely balanced. It is well packed with no soft spots but just a bit lumpy. The Colorado brown wrapper has a very dull sheen and a few darker brown spots mottled in. There are a few minor veins but they are pretty small. Aroma from the wrap is a very faint barnyard and from the foot, sweet tobacco. The head is slightly flattened with a single cap which I found unusual since they are hyped as “the heritage of Cuba.” Isn’t that where the triple-cap is tradition?
The Padrons claim to fame is quality and consistency but on the smokes I had for this review, one had a double cap and the other two had single caps. Not really consistent or Cubanesque IMO. One had a spot where the wrapper was not very well smoothed at the head (pictured above). None of these things caused anything but visual distraction.
After the clip, a very nice pre-light draw leaves a touch of sweetness on the lips. Now I’m ready!
The Smoking Experience
The toasting and light come off without a hitch. Very nice aroma for standers by. First couple pulls are a bit raspy, then settles in to a smooth raisiny tobacco flavor with a little twang on the nose. As the stick warms, the core of earthy sweet tobacco continues and yields notes of toasted cedar, leather and spice. Not allot of pepper here. Not allot of flavor complexity either but there is enough rich flavor and aroma to keep me puffing. At the halfway mark, flavors take on a little darker complexion of the same core with the addition of some light coffee bean. The aroma is not unlike the flavor profile and has a slight “twang” to it all the way to the nub.
The 4000 carries a moderate finish with a sweet raisiny edge. Maybe gets a little longer in the last third.
Ash is medium gray and held to about 2 inches. Burn is good with no corrections required. Draw was fantastic throughout. Smoke is cool and lots of it.
Although the first couple tugs may have you wondering, what have I got myself into, I’d say this cigar starts in the medium column and only edges past medium-plus right at the nub. No real nicotine kick that I could detect.
Smoketime was about 80 minutes.
My take …..
Consistently tasty and aromatic at an affordable price. Fits me like a glove. I like these gars and plan to experiment with the other sizes to see what they are like. I am a “robusto” kinda guy and the 4000 is a pretty big stick for me!
MSRP is $6.75 per stick. Online they run between $4.75-$6.00 a stick when you purchase a box. Best online price at the moment is the members price at Little Anthony’s Cigar Store. They run 108.45/26 or $4.17 per stick. An incredible price for this premium cigar. You cannot get the members price until you have an order from the site under your belt. They send you the members login (user/pswd) with your first order. I can vouch for the vendor. Quite the conscientious group down there at LA’s.
Like it … Yes
Buy it again … Yes
Recommend it … Yes
What others are saying about the traditional Padron line …..
Jim Daniels – Cigar Aficionado
The Padron Family: A Nicaraguan Legacy
Seeds of Survival
Despite Wars in Nicaragua and Bombings in Miami, Jose Padron Has Built a Thriving Cigar Business
“It has always been my rule never to smoke when asleep,
and never to refrain when awake.” (Mark Twain)