Padron Family Reserve No. 85 (Maduro)

Family Reserve No. 85

If there is a family that needs no introduction in the cigar world it is the Padrón Family. Since 1964 they have been making cigars in Miami and Nicaragua, and are considered to be at the head of the pack by most. Their cigars have always done well with professional critics, and bloggers like myself, but more importantly they have been smash hits among cigar smokers around the world. Often my international friends ask me to send them Padrón’s for Cubans, and in the end I always come out ahead because of their love for them. The company is so successful because they deliver a great product, and they have a great product because they are vertically integrated. I think the Padrón Family really came on to the map in August of 1994 when they released the Padrón 1964 Anniversary Series, and what a time it was to release that cigar. This was right during the Cigar boom, and to produce a product with such high quality was incredible. In July of 2002 they released the 1926 Serie, which was released to honor the companies founding father 75th birthday, José Orlando Padrón. It has been ten years since that date, and we are now celebrating his 85th birthday. Though José Orlando Padrón is no longer President, he has given the reins to his son Jorge Padrón, he is still actively participating in the companies business and is executive chairman of the company.

The company has always made cigars that are Nicaraguan puros, and all their cigars are available in either a Nicaraguan Sun-grown wrapper, or a Nicaraguan Maduro. Their Maduro wrapper is actually San Andres seed, that is predominately grown in Mexico, but in their case grown in Nicaragua. With all Padrón Cigars you are going to have cigars that are aged a minimum of four years, and in the case of the Family Reserve line, you will have tobacco that has been aged for ten years. They say that they sell cigars that are ready to be smoked, and I couldn’t agree more. It was in 2008 that the Padrón Family had a small and limited release cigar, which would become their Padrón Family Reserve No. 44. Since then they have decided to release a cigar every year until they will have the Padrón Family Reserve No. 50. Limited to ten cigars a box, the cigars have been very popular and have done well with ratings. In February of 2010 Cigar Aficionado rated the Padrón Family Reserve No. 45 Maduro as the cigar of the year for 2009, and it definitely did deserve that rating. This years release, the  Padrón Family Reserve No. 85, had a change in numbering from 47 to 85 because of  José Orlando Padrón’s birthday, and took on a size very similar to what we have seen already in their portfolio.

Which to choose?

 Measuring 5 1/4″ with a 50 ring gauge, the cigar is nearly the same size as the Padrón 1964 Anniversary Series Exclusivo, and looks almost identical to it side by side. For this review I chose the Maduro version, and it has a coloring that is one of the darkest I have seen on a  Padrón Cigar. Jet black, almost Maduro Oscuro in coloring, it is very similar to a cup of dark black coffee. It has the beautiful Padrón Family Reserve band, and underneath it a bright red and gold band depicting 85 Years. There are no veins present in the cigar at all, and it is toothy and rolled perfectly. The box press on the cigar is immaculate, and I have not seen many box-pressed cigars like this before. The cigar has nice dark aromas of tobacco, wood, spice and coffee, and has a lovely cold draw.  The second I light up the cigar, I am immediately getting a nice amount of spice. There are some pleasant flavors in there, but not all those typical flavors you get with a Padrón Cigar. When I get further down into the first third it is smoking beautifully with a great burn, and a nice solid dark gray ash. I am still getting tons of spice in terms of flavors, and there is also a lot of cocoa, coffee, wood and jam berry notes. It is a very different cigar then what I typically get with their smokes, but still very enjoyable. I would say it is smoking around medium full in body, and very rich and enjoyable.

Family Reserve No. 85 Maduro

When I get into the second third of the cigar I see a drop in spice levels. The cigar is not nearly as full as it was before, and I would say it is more around a medium overall. There are still lovely notes of wood, coffee and berry notes, but it has lost the sweetness and the spice from earlier. In terms of construction it is still very nice, burning great and leaving a nice long dark ash. The change has been somewhat dramatic from the first third, but I am still getting lovely core flavors. I feel like the sweet spot was in the initial first third, and it has tapered off some. It is not a bad smoke right now, still rich, but it is not as complex as I would hope. Once I start in on the final third of the cigar I am detecting the same flavors as in the second third. There is very little spice to the cigar, and in some ways it reminds me of some of Pepin’s stuff in the fact that it started out spicy, but cooled down some. The wood flavors are really present in this third, and I am getting a good amount of oak and cedar. There are still lovely bits of coffee throughout, and there is a rise in rich earth/cocoa flavors again. I didn’t pick up much jammy notes in this third and it was a steady medium in terms of strength. As a cigar it is sill smoking wonderfully and the draw is great. The burn line on the cigar is razor sharp, and the ash is still hanging on strong with this cigar. Smoking it down to the nub it is very cool, and I put it down with very little left.

Beautiful to the eyes

This was very different than most Padrón Cigars I have had. Usually their cigars off these solid core flavors with more complexities throughout, but this cigar went down a different road. As a cigar it was a great cigar, construction and everything, but very different to their other products. Overall I think this is a nice smoke but it is not as good as some of their other cigars. I still believe that the Family Reserve No. 45 is their best vitola in the Family Reserve line, but this is definitely not the worst. I hate to say “worst” when referring to these cigars, because they are all great, it is just a matter of how great they all are. I would say in ratings it goes  No. 45, No. 44, No. 85 and then No. 46. With a size like this I would most likely prefer one of their Exclusivo’s, but I would still enjoy this none the less. I give this cigar a 90. It is not their best cigar, but it is still better then most of their competitors cigars. Not my favorite of the Family Reserve line, but we each have our preference. Either way it is great that they honored José Orlando Padrón with a cigar on his 85th birthday, and he definitely deserves it.