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Staff Reviews

Padrón 1926 Series #90 Staff Review

Shane K. K's picture

Shane K.

When Padrón brand founder and patriarch José Olrando Padrón turned 90 in June of 2016, the Padróns released a 5 ½ by 52 cigar called the No. 90 in their elite 1926 Series to commemorate his birthday, and today I’m smoking it. José Orlando passed away in 2017, but his impressive legacy is equaled by few other cigar-makers, and it’s one his family carries on with immeasurable pride and passion.

The No. 90 bears a handful of unique hallmarks that set it apart from other Padrón cigars. First, it comes in an opulent aluminum tube, maroon for the Maduro, and cream for the Natural version. More importantly, the No. 90 is handcrafted in a round vitola, as opposed to the iconic box-pressed shapes of other Padróns. Although most connoisseurs relish Padron’s popular box-pressed cigars, there are a handful who prefer a round smoke over the sharp corners of box-pressed sizes. The No. 90 bridges the gap for fans of traditional round formats by delivering the brand’s celebrated taste in a shape they will find more comfortable to smoke.

When the No. 90 debuted, the critics in Cigar Aficionado rated it 94 points and ranked it in their ‘Top 5 Cigars of the Year’ for 2016. Since the critics began publishing their annual ‘Top 25’ rankings in 2004, no less than five Padrón 1926 Series cigars have made the ‘Top 5,’ while the full Padrón portfolio is home to a record eighteen appearances in the ‘Top 10.’ In our retrospective of the Padron brand, we illuminate the many accolades that have secured the family’s place in the upper echelon of today’s premium cigar-makers. 

Padron 1926 Series No. 90 cigars come in classy boxes of ten, each gently nestled in a shiny tube that bears the signature of José Orlando Padrón. For over twenty bucks apiece, consider the No. 90 a special occasion cigar, worthy of celebrating any milestone on your calendar or delighting a fellow cigar lover as a gift. Every time I unsheathe a fresh No. 90 from its tube and remove the cellophane, taking in its cold aroma and studying the detail of its construction are a part of the ritual I anticipate.

An oily Nicaraguan wrapper conceals a vintage blend of Padrón’s finest Nicaraguan long-fillers, matured for several years, prior to being rolled, to deliver optimal taste from the first puff. Strong aromas of cedar, leather, cocoa, and cayenne gather in the nose. The cap is immaculately applied and slides off with a quick snip from my guillotine. It’s easy to savor a Padrón longer than normal before lighting it because the flavors are so enticing.

The No. 90 deserves extra care when you’re lighting it up. I slowly toast the foot, rotating it over my soft-flame lighter until an even glow fully encompasses the end of the cigar. Exclusive reserves of tobacco go into the No. 90, and it’s a shame to miss any of the nuances they deliver by rushing the process. Initially, the No. 90 is peppery, particularly when you push its complex streams of smoke out through your nose. But after a few minutes, creamy notes of cocoa and cedar coat the palate like a scoop of gourmet ice-cream. Restraint is required to smoke the cigar slowly, and I recommend sipping a premium Scotch from Balvenie or Lagavulin if you’re in search of an idyllic pairing.

Woody, leathery textures emerge while a strong foundation of cocoa, hickory, and cedar supports ample amounts of walnut with hints of cayenne pepper around the edges. As expected, the draw is superb. Hints of dried cherry and chocolate-covered espresso bean fill out a tasteful backdrop. A perfect ash forms at each interval before I gently tap it off, and the aroma is seductive enough to smoke the cigar in an enclosed space.

I’ll finish most cigars that are rolled in dimensions similar to the No. 90 in forty-five minutes, but I’m content to stretch this exceptional smoke to over an hour. There is no gracious path for a Padrón 1926 Series to expire without fully consuming the nub once the band is off. A luxurious finish of coffee bean and cocoa lingers with peppery aplomb as I pinch the final remnants of wrapper and filler tobaccos between my finger and thumb before lying what’s left to rest on the edge of the ashtray.

In 2021, Padron scored their fourth ‘#1 Cigar of the Year’ title in Cigar Aficionado with the Padrón 1964 Anniversary Torpedo in a Natural wrapper. The family’s 1926 Series is equally savory, and the No. 90 is a must if you possess even a moderate appreciation for fine cigars.


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