Sunday, February 17, 2008

Padron 7000 Maduro
Size: 6.25 x 60
Tobacco: Nicaraguan Puro
Price: $6.23 (box price)

This weekend, my friend Shaun and I worked our way through three Padron 7000 Maduros resting in my humidor. My sister Laura gave me one of them for my 32nd birthday. The other two were gifted by Billy Ferriolo, from CigarsDirect (a great online site that specializes in high-end superpremiums).

I approached these cigars with great expectation for two reasons. 1) Padron is one of my favorite brands because of its consistent quality and unique taste that I don't find in any other cigar (I smoked a box of Padron 2000 maduros last year and got hooked for life). 2) I've never tried a 60 ring gauge before.

Appearance: I noticed great discrepancy in outward appearance. Two had very dark wrappers, while the third was a much lighter brown. All three had noticeable veins, but one was very toothy (bumpy) while the others were relatively smooth.

First impressions: Usually I am immediately hit with a strong, pungent taste when I first light a Padron, so I was disappointed when the 7000 only yielded a hot, smoky, bland taste. This was due to the thick ring guage that increases the draw and mutes the initial flavors. Fortunately, after a very short time, the smoke cooled; Shaun and I both remarked on the spice flavors that we detected early in the cigar. The spice, in turn, was eventually balanced by notes of nuts and cedar (very different from the hickory and coffee flavors in the 2000 maduro).

Overall experience: One of the cigars had a crack near the head that caused burn inconsistency, but the other two burned with near perfect precision. The flavors were well-balanced, despite the loose draw, and paired well with both Newcastle Ale and red wine. They kept an outstanding ash. I expected the cigar to get too hot as it shortened, but surprisingly the longer we smoked, the cooler it burned, so that I was able to smoke them until they burned my fingers. Unfortunately, the flavors became muted near the end; they never reached the full crescendo I was expecting.

On the C&S (Craig & Shaun) 10-Leaf scale, we awarded this cigar 7 Leaves out of 10. Great taste and adequate construction, but we both prefer the profile associated with a smaller (52-54) ring gauge.

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