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Staff Reviews

Padron Family Reserve Staff Review

Shane K. K's picture

Shane K.

Padron is a prestigious, well-respected brand and among the most revered labels hailing from Nicaragua these days. The company’s legacy dates back a few generations to Cuba, but its modern prominence is a reflection of what brand founder Jose Orlando Padron has achieved with his son, Jorge Padron, and their family here in the U.S. market, especially over the past 25 years.

The Miami-based brand shifted its production back to Nicaragua in the early 1990s as political turmoil eased in the wake of the Nicaraguan Revolution and trade with the U.S. was reestablished. Jose Orlando passed away at the tender age of 91 in 2017, but not before cementing an extensive reputation in the world of premium cigars and a personal realization of the American dream. It is a trajectory his son, Jorge, has eloquently embraced and carries on as he heads the company today.

Although the Padron portfolio includes a collection of more introductory-priced blends, it is Padron 1964 Anniversary, Padron 1926 Series, and Padron Family Reserve that have garnered the lion’s share of the brand’s acclaim from critics and consumers. Each of these lauded releases routinely scores high ratings in Cigar Aficionado, in addition to having earned three ‘#1 Cigar of the Year’ titles in the past.

Today, I am detailing Padron Family Reserve in a Maduro wrapper. The all-Nicaraguan blend is drafted from the company’s oldest stores of tobacco, which are aged for a minimum of ten years. Although I often gravitate towards Churchill and Corona shapes, I have decided to delve into the Family Reserve Maduro #46, with its beefier 56 ring gauge and a pleasant 5 1/2-inch length. With the exception of a few releases, all Padron cigars are box-pressed, many with sharply squared edges. The corners on Padron Family Reserve #46 feature a less acute, more rounded box-press.  

Aesthetically speaking, Padron cigars show off a slightly textured, somewhat dry appearance – seemingly rough at a glance – but they are actually crafted to a precise standard. Family Reserve is banded with the brand’s iconic gold logo against a burgundy background that fades to a darker hue around the back. Three bands denote the product line, the size, and an interior green label that includes a distinct serial number for every cigar. The convention was introduced as measure to guard against counterfeiting, a problem that was more prevalent when the company first rolled out its series of aged releases as demand quickly outstripped supply. Today when I open a box of aged Padron cigars, I find the simple and consistent presentation they exude reminiscent of a vintage bottle of wine. It’s not over the top or particularly intricate, but nonetheless romantic.

Padron Family Reserve #46 delivers a hint of dried fruit and wood on the cold draw. The taste is subtle and matches the aroma you can perceive from the unlit foot. Nine times out of ten, I prefer a straight cut and enjoy the cooler, more boisterous puffs of smoke that emerge. Family Reserve #46 guarantees to deliver with a series of approachable initial draws upon ignition. Out of the gates, it is evident the cigar’s construction is flawless. That shouldn’t be surprising, however. Priced at $26.80 for a single cigar, a pristine smoking experience is to be anticipated.

Notes of nutmeg, cedar, and cinnamon accompany a cool Nicaraguan spice. The spice is not overly intense and bears dry traces of cayenne pepper. What’s most appealing, perhaps, is that the cigar never ceases to present a creamy backdrop. As I patiently meander beyond the first quarter, notes of raisins and almond paste converge with a sweet tinge. I often like to smoke a cigar with a balanced cup of black coffee that’s not too strong. Family Reserve #46 is certainly a worthy companion, but make no mistake, this is a phenomenal selection to pair with an aged bourbon or slightly peaty scotch. The spices reside on the back of the palate and through the nostrils, but do not linger.

The midpoint captivates and a bit of strength unfolds, but the slightly exaggerated ring size tempers any intensity. The cigar progresses with a razor sharp ash that remains intact until you wish to dispel it. It’s not a cigar you wish to put down, but nothing about it urges one to rush.

As I approach the final third, it’s clear the tobaccos have been fermented extensively. The blend’s welcome lack of acidity or bitterness points to this. Every draw seems to furnish a clean, refined taste that seduces while the smoke is in your mouth, but does not overstay its reception. Padron Family Reserve #46 is a cigar you can seamlessly appreciate down to the nub. The finish stages a longing for more and the room note is hardly something you’ll want to escape as you indulge in the cigar’s last puffs.

I’ve had the pleasure of talking to Jorge Padron on a number of occasions over the past decade or more. The guy is a true gentlemen; genuine, humorous, and a precise reflection of the pride and talent his family expresses in the manufacture of every cigar they make. Try Padron Family Reserve, or Padron 1964 Anniversary, or Padron 1926 Series today. While Family Reserve is aged the longest, each blend is cut from a similar cloth as they share a handful of overlapping flavors. You will taste what goes into a classic with Padron.


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