Last year marked the 50th anniversary for Padrón. For years now the company has been creating special releases either celebrating the age of founder Jose O. Padrón or milestones for the company, but 50 is a special number and Padrón clearly understands that. To celebrate the occasion the company released two lines: The Family Reserve No. 50 and the 50th Anniversary, A.K.A. “The Hammer”. The 50th is only available in one of the 1,000 humidors the company released, each containing 50 cigars. Consistent with the rest of the Padrón portfolio the cigar is available in Natural and Maduro options.
For those that don’t know, The Hammer represents Jose’s first years on American soil after leaving his homeland of Cuba.
In 1962, I arrived in Miami, an unknown city in a foreign land. I had to start from zero. At first, I received $60 monthly, as government aid given to Cuban refugees. I was thirty-six years old, strong, and in good health. Every time I cashed that check, I felt like a burden on the country that had taken me in. For many days, I looked for a job and did not find one. Every night, I went home and thought of the future. I was determined to do something so that I could support my family.
One day Raul Fernandez, a friend who worked in the Cuban Refugee Office asked if I had any carpentry skills. I said I did. He gave me a gift—a small hammer—which he asked me to put to good use. The hammer made me feel I had the necessary tool to become self-sufficient and not depend on a government hand-out. During the days, I worked as a gardener. At nights, I did carpentry with the hammer.
My dream was to save enough money to open a factory to make great cigars, like the ones we used to smoke in Cuba. Through a lot of sacrifice and hard work, I managed to save $600—money I made working with the hammer. With that, I made my dreams come true and opened Padrón Cigars in 1964.
I still have the hammer as a reminder of how it all started. More than forty years later…The hammer is still here and so is Padrón Cigars, the brand the hammer helped build.
The beautiful 50-count humidor was designed by Nelson Alfonso and made by Golden Age. Each humidor and cigar is individually numbered. The company has set up a website for owners where they can register their humidor and when another batch of cigars is available they’ll be able to purchase 50 more cigars through the store where the humidor was purchased. Those who purchased the humidor will be able to refill it up to five times. Apparently, the rights to those cigars are transferable should somebody decide to sell their humidor. As for the price of the whole package? It’s staggeringly high, coming in at $5,300.
Country of Manufacture: Nicaragua
Rolled: Tabacos Cubanica S.A.
Size: 6.5 × 50
MSRP: $106 (Humidors of 50, $5,300)
Sample: Gifted to CM
Age: 4 Months
Quantity smoked: 2
While I normally go for the Maduro option when I smoke Padrón, I wasn’t going to complain when I was gifted two of the Natural from a friend. You’ll notice the wrapper is much lighter in the photo’s we captured for the review than the pictures we took of the maduro version at IPCPR 2014.
“The Hammer” Natural continues the tradition of excellent construction from Padrón, exceeding the quality of anything they’ve made before. The box-press has rounded edges and the wrapper is pristine—much smoother than the ultra-toothy affairs of most Padrón offerings. The seams are nice and tight and the single cap that Padrón is known for is well applied. In defiance of the rest of the industry, they continue to use the single-cap, and never get an ounce of criticism for it. When squeezed between the fingers there is almost no give whatsoever, it’s incredibly solid.
The wrapper has a musty, cedary aroma, which is unsurprising since its been aging in a humidor. The foot has a slightly leathery aroma mixed with the musty cedar. The cold draw is effortless, delivering a creamy cedar, bits of leather and a subtle cocoa on the back-end.
Upon lighting the first, and most noticeable quality of this cigar is the effortless draw that delivers a substantial volume of smoke. The flavors take a few puff’s to develop but when they hit, they hit on all cylinders, especially the surprisingly punchy pepper. I always expect a helping of pepper from a Padrón but I’ve never had one that delivers it at such a high level. Underneath the pepper is a strong profile of musty cedar with hints of nuts and cocoa. The finish has a beautiful, clean, natural tobacco sweetness that boarders on cream and is accompanied by a bit of oiliness on the palate. Rounding into the second third there is a slight hiccup as the smoke becomes a little arid, drying the mouth and lips a bit. Medium-full body and strength.
At the start of the this third, the flavors slowly intensify while a surprising amount of strong dry pepper continues to tingle on the palate and sinuses after a retro-hale. Immediately after letting the smoke out of my mouth the natural sweetness is incredibly rich but moments later it’s a subtle pair to the musty cedar, faint nuts, cocoa powder and earth. The construction is absolutely wonderful with the steady, effortless draw and a perfect burn-line. Fortunately, the smoke becomes more oily in this third as things progress creating a creamier mouth-feel. As the cigar transitions past the half-way mark there is a considerable dip in the strength of the pepper. Meanwhile, a profile of creamy milk-chocolate emerges with bits of leather on the retro-hale. I begin to develop a lump in my throat due to the rising strength. Body is full.
The final third is easily the most complex portion of this cigar. Cedar remains a prominent player in the profile but starts to evolve into a flavor/aroma combo I can only describe as antique wood. The cocoa, earth, leather and slight nut undertones remain with a newly arrived light floral tone. The milky finish continues to be rich, sweet and clean. With two inches remaining, the pepper ramps back up—it’s nowhere near as sharp or abrasive as it was but tickles the palate all-over. Concurrently, the nuttiness fades and a bit of salt arrives creating a buttery flavor on the finish. Construction is as perfect as you’d expect from a high-end offering, with a never-wavering burn line, excellent smoke out-put and easy draw. As I near the nub, it takes on a smoky/toasty quality and finishes nicely without getting hot or bitter. You can tell the tobacco’s are well-aged. Strength and body end a sliver below full.
The Padrón 50th Anniversary Natural (The Hammer) was a difficult cigar to peg in our Class system. Matt and I joked that it would be a Marquee-Fe, mixing the intense pepper of the Santa Fe class with the classic taste of a Marquee. In the end, I felt like the marquee characteristics won out do their breadth and variety: cedary, musty, leathery, earthy, nutty, and milk-chocolaty.
In looking at the list of cigars I’ve previously rated II. Memorable, I couldn’t find a single one that matched up to “The Hammer”. It’s a beautifully blended, dynamic cigar with wonderfully balanced flavors and sensations. The strong pepper segues into a creamy, flavor-packed second third and the final third bursts with complexity. Construction was as close to perfect as you’re going to get on a cigar. If I could smoke one every day, I would. To celebrate their 50th Anniversary, the distinguished company outdid themselves with a practically unparalleled cigar, and that dear readers, is saying something.
- This is the first cigar I’ve ranked in our upper echelon but off the top of my head, I can think of a couple other non-cuban cigars that I would rank I. Unparalleled that we have not reviewed. One would be the AVO 25th Anniversary Edition (with years of age) and the other would be the Padron Serie 1926 80th Anniversary Maduro Perfecto.
- Here at CM, price is rarely taken into account when it comes to rating a cigar. While the Padrón 50th Anniversary is certainly a costly affair, whether someone is willing to pay the price or not is completely subjective.
- I’m very eager to compare the differences between the Natural and Maduro. I’ve had friends who’ve smoked the Maduro and much of their experience parallels mine with the Natural. Perhaps at some point I’ll get the chance to contrast the two.
- Special thanks to Keith (1Kilogram)