Last summer we reviewed, with help from our friends, the entire range of the standard Padron series. This was a great exercise in “vertical” comparison, and we had a heap o’ fun doing it. I squirrelled away a few cigars from that test and last night seemed like a good time to see how they’re coming along. The Padron 2000 fit my time slot just right: about 45 minutes around sundown.
Some cigar makers are able to combine flavor, quality workmanship, and aesthetic appeal all in one sweet cylinder of tobacco. Padron is not one of those cigar makers. The flavor and construction of these Nicaraguan puros is not to be denied, but Padron’s reputation is based on consistency and taste, not good looks. This is honestly one of the ugliest cigars I’ve seen in a long time.
Were it not for the Padron band, this cigar would most likely languish on the retailer’s shelf until the owner was forced to give it away or smoke it himself. Calling it butt ugly is being kind to this stick (aside from the fact that as a cigar smoker I do have a certain affection for butts.)
The wrapper leaf is a rich dark brown color — a little lighter than most maduro cigars — and it has a rough texture. Glue spillage gives it a crusty appearance in places. The cap looks like it was glued on by a three year old, and this particular cigar features a poorly applied patch a little smaller than my thumbnail. The roll is firm, but dented in a couple places. It sort of looks like this cigar was made by a committee of crafty Nicaraguan school children. Or more likely, by a torcedor on Friday afternoon with one eye on the clock.
But the draw is good and the burn is fine. And what would you prefer — a gorgeous cigar with deal-breaking construction flaws, or an ugly duckling that performs? Me? I’ll take the duckie.
The aging of this cigar shows in the flavor, which right out of the gate is classic Padron — woody with a touch of black pepper — but it has toned down a little from a year ago. There’s a hint of that sweet pecan flavor I find occasionally in some Padron maduros, and later on some leather and burnt coffee bean. The finish grows substantially at the midway point, and close to the band the aftertaste takes on a strong taste of char.
But all of these flavors seem to be less profound than they were when this cigar was relatively fresh — on the other hand, the smoke is also less aggressive. Compared to the freshies, the aged Padron 2000 maduro is much smoother. I still wouldn’t qualify it as smooth per se, but by comparison it is a much less boisterous smoke.
The burn wavers a little at times, but it corrects itself without prompting from the lighter. Other than that, the construction of this cigar was very good. (It goes without saying that it never got better looking.)
At around 3 USD and change this little maduro is still hard to beat as an everyday smoke, but I think I prefer the boldness of the fresh ones over the slightly more refined character of the more mature stick.
Final Score: 85