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Staff Reviews

Padrón Dámaso Staff Review

Tom O. O's picture

Tom O.

I’m smoking a Padrón Dámaso in the No. 12, a 5 by 50 Robusto with a golden-blond wrapper leaf. When Jorge Padrón debuted Padrón Dámaso in 2015, it took Padrón fans by surprise. A light-colored Padrón finished in a Connecticut-seed wrapper grown in Ecuador hadn’t been done before. And, by the way, Dámaso is round. A blond, non-box-pressed Padrón as a regular-production smoke was a significant shift from the dark and full-bodied profile of other Padrón cigars. I give Jorge Padrón credit. Trying something new is risky when you’ve got the kinds of accolades Padrón cigars have racked up over the past thirty years. But the Padróns are elite cigar-makers who would never put their name on a cigar that was anything but exceptional.


The critics in Cigar Aficionado have showered Padrón cigars with many of their all-time highest ratings, including a total of four ‘#1 Cigar of the Year’ titles. The 97-rated Padrón 1964 Anniversary is the current titleholder, for 2021, with a 6 by 52 box-pressed Torpedo. When Cigar Aficionado asked Jorge why he chose to release a cigar that was such a departure, his answer was simple: to reach new cigar lovers. Jorge wanted to create something for fans of milder cigars and slowly introduce them to the Padrón family with an approachable profile.

There’s no question the trend has been to blend strong cigars in recent decades, but Connecticut is still king. The best Connecticut-wrapped cigars enjoy the biggest consumer audience because they’re enjoyed by novices and connoisseurs alike. Lots of folks who only smoke an occasional cigar, like most of my golfing buddies, gravitate towards milder, creamier cigars with light wrappers. Let’s see how Dámaso fares in this quintessential category.  

Even though Dámaso looks and feels different from your classic Padrón, the cigars are packaged in the brand’s traditional understated cedar boxes, and the white and burgundy bands are immaculate with deep gold lettering. Padrón Dámaso cigars also come in cellophane sleeves – another detail you rarely see on other Padróns. When I slide the cellophane off the No. 12 I’m about to light, the wrapper is flawless. There isn’t a seam, a vein, or a bumpy spot across the entire top row when I give the box a closer look. On the inside of the lid is an image of, none other than, Dámaso Padrón – the first Padrón to arrive in Cuba, from the Canary Islands, in the late 1800s and the grandfather of brand founder José Orlando Padrón.

An elegant aroma of fresh bread, cedar, and pepper is detectable when I smell the unlit foot. Under the wrapper is a classic recipe of premium aged Nicaraguan long-fillers blended to accentuate the creamy taste of the wrapper. Notes of cedar and spice characterize the cold draw after I clip the cap and take a few puffs before lighting up. After slowly toasting the foot with my trusty Visol Artemis Triple Torch Lighter, Padrón Dámaso ignites like a champ.

The No. 12 is an exceptional Robusto that lives up to its appearance. A nice even burn consumes the foot within minutes, while silky and rich streams of smoke carry notes of baking spices, cedar, and roasted nuts across my palate. Hearty spices punctuate the nose, but they’re less intense than you’ll find in Padrón’s famous 1964 Anniversary or 1926 Series cigars. Hints of coconut and cocoa powder come into play after fifteen minutes.

Padrón Dámaso is a perfect cigar to smoke with beer. I suggest a high-quality Belgian like Chimay or St. Bernardus Abt 12 – something with a creamy sipping texture. Because Padrón Dámaso develops with spicy and complex taste, it deserves a high-end spirit. Pepper and cedar dominate the finish, but a bit of citrus unfolds. I’ve removed both cigar bands by the time fifty minutes have gone by – longer than I would normally spend smoking a Robusto, but Padrón Dámaso is savory, balanced, and easy to smoke slow. Subtle hints of honey and graham cracker close out the No. 12, and the aftertaste doesn’t hang around long.

Now is a great time to smoke a Padrón Dámaso. They’ve been making the cigar for seven years, and tons of cigar lovers – devoted Padron fans and newcomers – have given this cigar their blessings. 


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