If it sounds too good to be true, then it probably is. The truism is never more apt than in the cigar world. The earnest gentleman on the boardwalk who swears those Cuban Cohibas are genuine and that he’s willing to part with them for only $200 a box? Think again. Most of us are not so gullible, but at the same time we like to think that we know a good deal when we see one. Online vendors use good marketing tactics to take advantage of this natural impulse.
An interesting post appeared recently on The Velvet Cigar questioning this practice, and it’s well worth reading. Like the author of that post, I am a regular and mostly satisfied customer of Cigars International. I can neither confirm nor deny any of Ironmeden’s facts, but from time to time I think we’ve all harbored suspicions about those “exclusive” blends from upper tier cigar makers. The question is unavoidable: why would a reputable producer of premium cigars which normally sell in the 10 dollar range suddenly decide to make a 3 dollar cigar for a discount vendor?
I don’t have the answer to that question, but as an intrepid aficionado of the cheap smoke I’m willing to throw the dice. So here I go again.
The Padilla Miami Maduro “Edicion Limitada” is a Cigars International exclusive, along with three other “small batch” blends that are all packaged together and sold as a sampler pack. The Miami Maduro doesn’t appear to be available apart from this sampler.
There is no official information available on the blend that I could find. It would be highly irregular for a Padilla smoke to be anything other than mostly Nicaraguan, but again there is no official information available. (There is ad copy information on the CI site, but it is as useless as it is trite.) There is only one size, to my knowledge: this 5 x 50 robusto.
At first glance, this cigar has substandard construction. The roll is slightly soft and the cigar is misshapen. The caps on some of them are okay, others are pretty sloppy. One of them was actually peeling off. The wrapper leaf is consistent though, and the burn is even and fairly slow. I can easily forgive some aesthetic flaws if the cigar draws and burns well, so I’ll let those slide. But I seriously doubt that this cigar was made in Miami.
Overall construction: Good.
The Miami Maduro flames up with a peppery assault on the palate, followed soon after by an aroma of dark chocolate on the nose. It’s much better than I expected it to be. After an inch or so this is clearly a full body cigar.
The pepper dies away after an inch or so and the chocolate flavors mellow out to cocoa. Some char is added to the sweet bean flavors, layered over a woody underpinning. There isn’t a whole lot of complexity here, but there’s plenty of flavorful smoke.
The back half of the cigar is more of the same, but the flavor gets a little more concentrated — chocolate and char. It turns somewhat burnt tasting at the band.
The Padilla Miami Maduro is in this formulation a decent smoke, but it lacks the complexity of the Padilla Miami I’m accustomed to. This may be due to the wrapper, or it may be due to the blend as a whole. I don’t think I could distinguish this cigar from one of Plasencia’s better maduros, which is not necessarily a criticism, considering that I paid only two dollars for it. This is one instance where price really does make the difference.