Evidently, this cigar is no longer being made, which may or may not be a shame for reasons that you will come to understand after reading this review or for reasons you have already formulated after smoking one or more of these yourself.
The most obvious thing is that this is a big, shaped cigar. Nothing along the lines of what a cigar maestro can do here but it does have a certain rustic look to it that I like. A couple of pronounced veins, a torn bit and, perhaps unforgivably, I think this cigar’s wrapper may have been dyed. Let me stop you there.
I have never accused a cigar company, especially one I respect as much as Padilla, of doing this. And I’m not unequivocally doing so now either. All I can tell you is that I first realized something was amiss when I noticed that both the head and the foot regions of the wrapper were a perceptibly lighter shade than the body. The next, and more damning, piece of evidence was that I noticed that my fingertips had these dark smudges on them after handling the cigar.
Thinking – hoping – that these smudges were caused by something else I licked one of my clean fingertips, ran it across the wrapper lightly and came up with a newly smudged fingertip. Uh-oh. And I’m not going to speculate why they would – if they did actually do this – do something like this.
Does this alter my view of this cigar? Yes. Even though I’m not absolutely convinced that the wrapper has been dyed my suspicions do affect how I think of this cigar. Bear that in mind.
Ring Gauge: ~54
Wrapper: Nicaragua? Oscuro
Breaking In Flame!
Since the last verified sighting of these cigars I can find was from February of last year it’s safe to say that this cigar has been aging in one of my humidors for at least a year; probably closer to two years at this point. I smoked a number of these about a year ago and I absolutely loved them.
This one is starting off decently but I can’t get over this salty flavor that pollutes with every puff. I can still pick out the creamy chocolate and strong coffee notes but the salt is a bad ingredient in this stew.
Around the transition point from the first to the second third the salty flavor takes on a meaty quality as well, which is a good thing. Meat, chocolate and coffee work well for me in a cigar. And this is one of the reasons why I’m such a big salomon fan. Due to their size there is a lot more time for evolutions in the flavor profile to take place. Shorter cigars have to be pretty much spot on from the get go if they are to be good. That’s not necessarily the case with bigger cigars.
Then again, having too much time can also be a bad thing. This cigar has been maddening for me since it is intermittently very good and bad. Like a particularly troublesome disease this salty taste just won’t go away. This never happened in any of the others that I tried and it is a perplexing development. Usually, cigars get better with age but that is definitely not the case here.
Even though the first two thirds were maddeningly inconsistent altars to disappointment I have high hopes that the final third will recapture some of that magic I experienced with all the previous examples of this cigar that I have smoked. And this final third does start out well with chocolate, coffee and earth. The salt and meat are still there but they have faded into the background and play a very minor supportive role in the flavor profile, which is a definite plus.
And then, like Michael Myers coming back from certain death to kill Jamie Lee Curtis, the salt comes back and at this point I am done with hoping for this cigar to redeem itself. It’s a damn shame too because, as I have noted before, every other example of this cigar that I have tried was excellent. This one was not and since it appears that this cigar is no longer in production I have no qualms giving it a poor score.
Oh, right, I almost forgot to touch on the all important smoking characteristics of this cigar. While the draw was excellent throughout the burn did necessitate some help along the way. And this was a medium bodied cigar. When everything was going right this cigar reminded me of its greatness. Unfortunately, those times were too few to make me like this cigar again.