Padilla 1948 Edicion Limitada Robusto

So what’s up with Cigars International and Padilla? In the past few months we’ve seen a number of “small batch” and “limited” edition Padillas for sale at prices so low it should be illegal. I reviewed the Miami Maduro limited edition a few weeks ago and found it to be a decent smoke — even a very good one, considering the price. In the meantime I’ve smoked all of the other small batch sticks and thought they were decent as well — not stellar, but better than their two-dollar price tag would suggest.

So when I saw the Padilla 1948 getting the same treatment, I jumped. The ’48 was my goto Padilla back when Pepin was making this stick, so at 40 bucks for a mazo of 20 it seemed like a no-brainer.

But then I read on one of the boards that this cigar uses short filler. This was after I had pulled the trigger, of course, but I was a little peeved because the description of the cigar specifically stated it was long-filler. On the other hand, what do you expect for 2 dollars? I decided that I should postpone judgement until I could perform a little personal investigation.

According to CI, this is a long-filler Nicaraguan puro with a Habano wrapper. Like the Miami Maduro Edicion Limitada, this one is issued in the 5 x 50 robusto size only.

The first one I smoked burned well and tasted fine up to the mid-point where it suddenly got very sharp tasting. But what really concerned me was the ash. After half an inch it plummeted to the floor without the slightest prompting. And then again, after another half-inch or so. Damn, I thought. This probably is short filler. To satisfy my curiosity, and for the benefit of my three readers, I had to conduct a post-mortem. The results weren’t pretty, and I like pretty pictures, so I sacrificed a fresh stick for the purposes of demonstration.

Below you can see the wrapper, carefully incised and removed. It’s a nice looking wrapper — dark and oily, just like the ad copy says.

Next, the binder. Not so nice looking, but neither is your connective tissue.

And finally, the heart of the issue. La Tripa. Findings: Long Filler.

Construction Notes

The biggest problem with this cut-rate ’48 is consistency in construction. Some of them draw perfectly but a few were almost plugged. One had the odd ash issue, mentioned above, which resulted in the ash falling unaccountably every half-inch. But most of them (4 out of 5, lets say) were just fine.

The wrapper on this limitada robusto is rustic, but still rich looking. The roll is solid, and every one has burned slowly and evenly. The caps are uniformly sloppy, which is a surprise to see next to a Padilla band, but aesthetics aside they perform their assigned function. The ash holds firm, though sometimes it cracks and makes idle threats.

Overall construction: Good, but with concerns about consistency.

Tasting Notes

The Padilla ’48 Edicion Limitada doesn’t have the smoothness or complexity of the ’48 I remember from back in the Pepin days, but it showcases cocoa in a way that is reminiscent of the old blend. There is a little bit of black pepper up front, but the base flavors are earth and wood. Toward the middle of the cigar it picks up a musky note, but the best thing about the cigar is the cocoa and coffee on the nose. It’s about medium in body, lighter than most of Padilla’s standard lines.

I have had trouble getting past the band on these because the flavor drops off and turns ashy if smoked too quickly. If I had the time to nurse it I’d probably get more out this robusto, but for 2 dollars I’m content to smoke it halfway and grab another if I have the time.

Conclusion

The wrapper on this cigar is quite good, lending a cocoa-coffee base to the smoke that seals the deal. Granted, it’s not a Trump-sized deal. But what do you expect for 2 bucks a stick?

You could do worse.

Final Score: 83

Advertisements

Padilla 1948 Torpedo

1948.jpg

All of Ernesto Padilla’s year-branded cigars correlate to an event in the life of his father, the Cuban poet Heberto Padilla. The Padilla 1948 was named for the year in which Heberto’s first book of poems, Las Rosas Audaces, was published. Incredibly, he was only 16 years old at the time.

The 1948 follows the success of Padilla’s Signature 1932 — both are blended by Jose “Don Pepín¨ Garcia, though the ’48 is produced in his Esteli, Nicaragua facility rather than in Miami. Four sizes are currently in production: robusto, churchill, lancero and torpedo.

If you know the cigars of Don Pepín, you will immediately recognize the sweet corojo that wraps the ’48. The blend is, as usual, a combination of Nicaraguan criollo and corojo, but for me the wrapper is what seals the deal. While I like what Pepín has done with Connecticut Shade (in the 601 Black and the Cabaiguan Guapo) and maduro (in the Series JJ and the 601 Blue & Green labels) there’s still nothing like this Nicaraguan corojo.

1948-foot.jpg

The wrapper on the 1948 is a natural but dark looking colorado claro; not quite dark enough to reach colorado maduro, but there’s enough red in there to make it darker than the average colorado claro. It’s a little dry looking with significant veining. The foot is a little bit loose, but the rest of the cigar is firmly rolled. The head is flawlessly formed. There appears to be some lighter colored tobaccos, or very fine stems, at the foot; the head reveals the same thing after clipping.

Usually I find the strongest prelight scent to come from the wrapper of a cigar, but not in this case. The wrapper has a mild tobacco smell to it, while the foot has a stronger earthier scent. (Perhaps this is what I should expect from a foot.) There also seems to be something grainy about the scent, sort of like whole grain cereal, which can only mean one thing: this cigar is good for you!

The 1948 torpedo lights easily after a smooth clipping. The draw is good and the burn is mostly even: a little waver here and there, but it corrects itself and needs no supervision.

The first third is typical of most Pepin blends, but a little less aggressive. It starts up sweet and toasty with a touch of pepper on the tongue. Almost immediately the core flavors come to the fore: cocoa, caramel, and black pepper. It’s comparatively mild for a Pepin blend; it’s reminiscent of the Padilla Signature 1932, but not as intense. There is perhaps a little less complexity in the 1948, but it’s still a very engaging smoke.1948c.jpg

Into the second third the pepper dies away and is replaced by a dry woody flavor. The cocoa persists throughout the duration of the cigar, but at this point the aroma also takes on a spicy sweet character. I’m detecting something like cinnamon… maybe. Whatever it is lends delicacy to the aroma without overtaking the basic bean flavors of the smoke.

The last segment of the cigar continues to sing the same sweet beany, mildly spicy refrain. I’m usually not one to nub a cigar, but I like this one well into the band region. And speaking of the band, I should mention there are two on this cigar: the additional one is a counterfeit control label that is discreetly placed below the Padilla band. Whether this is really necessary, I don’t know, but in any case it’s tastefully executed. (pssst… mister. I got them Piddillers you like. 49.99 a box!)

Overall, the Padilla 1948 torpedo turns out to be one of my favorite blends from the master of vanguard Nicaraguan cigars. It’s medium bodied, well constructed, smooth, and oh so tasty. If you’re really into the heavy Tatuajes and 601s, the’48 might not float your boat. On the other hand, if you’ve developed a craving for Pepin’s signature corojo but prefer the lighter side of life, this cigar is for you.

Retail prices ring up in the 8 to 10 USD range, which seems about average for upper echelon cigars these days. (Reasonably priced ones, that is.) It may not be an everyday smoke for the budget minded, but in this case you definitely get what you pay for… and maybe just a little bit more.

-cigarfan