Padron’s 1964 Anniversary cigars are so classic at this point that it’s hard to believe the blend is only fifteen years old. The 1964 was created to celebrate the Padron company’s 30th Anniversary in 1994. It was also, as George Padron added in a CA interview, “something special as we went to nationwide distribution.”
There are currently ten sizes in production, all available in either a sun-grown natural wrapper or maduro. The maduro version seems to be the most popular, but I have to say I like the natural just as well, if not better.
Padron is proud of its seed-to-smoke, vertically integrated operation, so the Anniversary blend is like all the rest of their cigars: an undisputed Nicaraguan puro. Jorge Padron, the patriarch of the family, explains that the cigars are square pressed,
“because they reminded me of the squared cigars in Cuba that I used to smoke. It is the only thing I have actually copied from a good Cuban cigar.”
The cigars I smoked for the review were from 2006. The tobaccos in this blend are aged for four years to start with, so a few more years shouldn’t make that much of a difference. This is a deliciously smooth smoke straight from the factory, but three years in the humidor might have mellowed it even more.
The Exclusivo is the robusto size in the 1964 Anniversary line — a simple 5 1/2 x 50 parejo with an obvious square press. The wrapper is a little dry but consistent in color. As is typical with Padron cigars, it’s a little hard to tell the difference between the sun-grown natural and the maduro wrapper. (In the top photo the maduro is on the left, the natural on the right.) They’re both pretty dark, and a little rough — some of these have really prominent veins, discreetly situated so they run laterally down the cigar. But that’s sun-grown leaf for you. What you lose in aesthetics you gain in flavor.
The cap is sub-par for a super-premium cigar, but at least it’s more attractive than what you’ll find on the Padron standard series. Aesthetically the cigar suffers a little, but the rest of the construction is almost perfect — a firm roll, an easy draw, and an even burn — which is worth noting because this is a square pressed smoke. Even the ash is firm and hassle-free.
This is a smooth, medium-bodied, very flavorful cigar. It starts up with cedar and coffee with cream. After an inch it becomes more complex, adding some sweetness and a silky aftertaste. The aroma is mild but nicely spiced, reminding me in a way of incense. At one point it occurred to me that smoking this cigar is almost like being in church.
The mid-section is a little heavier and exhibits that typically Nicaraguan acidic flavor on the sides of the tongue and back of the mouth. Cocoa notes are up front with some mild spice that keeps pace with a sweet woodsy aroma. The smoke texture is medium-bodied and stays very smooth.
The Exclusivo finishes up with a classically maduro finale — coffee and chocolate with a beautifully creamy texture. This cigar lacks the third stage bitterness that makes an appearance towards the band of most ordinary cigars — only at the very end is there some bittersweetness and a little char.
The Padron ’64 doesn’t get reviewed too often, probably because it’s so well known and because there is a general consensus that it’s a damn fine smoke. It’s a cigar you’d rather enjoy than analyze. It’s not as bold as many other Nicaraguan puros, but it’s perfectly balanced: smooth and creamy, yet nicely spiced. It burns without a second thought. And it’s simply one of my favorite cigars. If you’ve never smoked the Padron ’64 before, you really need to treat yourself sometime.
Average retail is around 11 USD for the Exclusivo.
Final Score: 94
Other Reviews of Note
In the Humidor takes a look at the Exclusivo Maduro
Cigar In Hand grapples with an aged Exclusivo, also Maduro
Nice Tight Ash reviews the Superior Maduro
moki checks out the Natural Exclusivo for Cigar Weekly