When I think of Ernesto Padilla and Padilla Cigars, the last thing that comes to mind is a 6” by 60 parejo. The reason for this, is that Ernesto Padilla has often stated that just because the cigar is big, doesn’t mean that it has more flavor or strength. He is correct about that statement and I agree with him 100%, but with the Padilla Series ’68 Golden Bear, he made a cigar packed with flavor and a nice strength in a heck of a size! The Golden Bear line was originally part of the Series ’68 line by Ernesto Padilla, but slowly took its own path, and now is almost its own line I have heard. I kind of wish Padilla would changed the band on the cigar to something similar to the Bear logo on the box, but I am not a Creative Designer. As mentioned in the beginning, the cigar is massive, and is probably one of Ernesto Padilla’s largest smokes. The cigar is made in Honduras, along with most of his cigars, at the infamous Raices Cubanas factory. The cigar is covered with a Cuban-seed Corojo wrapper, and has fillers from Nicaragua’s Condega and Jalapa Valley’s.
The cigar is beautiful in hand with a very silky wrapper and it is finished with a great triple cap. Along with being a massive cigar, there are no soft spots in the cigar, and just looking at it, I know that it is packed full of fine tobacco. The aroma is of cocoa, coffee, spice and wood. Before I light this cigar up I will tell you that with a cigar of this caliber, you will be receiving a lot of flavors from the filler and not the wrapper, the reason for that being is because of the ring gauge on the cigar. Whenever you have a large ring gauge, you get more flavors from the filler. I have been told that the balanced ratio is a 50 ring gauge, and that the length does not play a factor in that as well. The cigar begins very medium in body showing lots of coffee, nuts and wood notes. It has a finish of cream and warm spices, and is very pleasant. I would classify this cigar as medium in body, and it is burning incredibly well.
Entering the second third of the cigar, the flavors remain fairly similar to the first third, with an increase in spice and coffee. I am still picking up a lot of nutty and wood characteristics, but there is a presence of sweet earth flavors that pair well with the creamy finish of the cigar. The second third of the cigar shows a lot more balance and flavor than the first, but it still remains very medium in body. The cigar is burning perfectly through the whole cigar and is smoking cool as well. With a larger ring gauge you typically get a cooler smoke and you can also get a better burn as well. I am really liking this cigar and it feels good in my hand, I typically don’t like how cigars of this size feel, but I am comfortable with this. When I get into the final third of the cigar I am still getting similar flavors to the second third, and the strength has picked up as well. The flavors are all intermingled with one another and the cigar is a little more complex than before. I am getting a lot of cocoa, coffee, and wood notes up front, but there is a finish of nuts, cream and floral notes as well. The cigar probably medium-full in body, and still has a wonderful burn to it.
As I finished the cigar, I really went over my notes and thoughts throughout the smoke, and I was debating what rating this cigar should get. In the end I decided to give this cigar a 92, and I really would like to try this cigar again in the future. I felt that the cigar offered a wonderful draw and smoking experience, and more importantly had nice flavors as well. The cigar was not as complex as some of the Padilla Cigars on the market, but what it lacked in complexity it made up for in every other category. If I wanted to be a complete ass I could have given it a lower rating because of my final impression, but I tried to look at the big picture instead of this minor detail. I don’t know if I would buy a box of 50 of these, but I would definitely buy singles from time to time. With a lot of smokers looking for large cigars, I consider this to be one of the best out there, and available at a great value as well. For those looking for large cigars, look no further than the Padilla Golden Bear.