Review: Padrón Family Reserve No. 85 Maduro
For those of you that don’t know…
The newest cigar from Jorge Padrón, officially named the Padrón Family Reserve No. 85 Maduro, was released to retailers last week. The 85th is the newest in a line of Family Reserve cigars that goes back to 2007, when the first was released.
The number in the name is (usually) meant to commemorate the fact that Padrón has been doing business for that many years (i.e. the 45th was released in their 45th year in business, etc.) However, this year, instead of calling the release the “47th”, it has been dubbed the No. 85, honoring the 85th birthday of José Orlando Padrón, the man who started Padrón Cigars in 1964 in Miami.
As with most other Padrón releases, the Family Reserve No. 85 is offered in both Maduro and Natural wrappers, although the Natural version is said to be quite a bit more rare and as far as I know, no one has actually seen a Natural in the wild yet. All of the tobacco in the cigars has been aged 10 years, and each of the versions come in a great little box of 10 (with 5 cigars stacked on top of 5), instead of the standard 25.
Here is what the boxes for the Padrón Family Reserve No. 85 look like (photo taken at the IPCPR Show in Las Vegas):
And for comparison’s sake, there is a Padrón Family Reserve No. 85 Maduro (top) next to a Family Reserve No. 45th Maduro (middle) and Family Reserve No. 45th Natural (bottom):
But enough of that, let’s get down to business, shall we?
- Cigar Reviewed: Padrón Family Reserve No. 85 Maduro
- Country of Origin: Nicaragua
- Factory: Tabacos Cubanica S.A.
- Wrapper: Nicaragua
- Binder: Nicaragua
- Filler: Nicaragua
- Size: 5 1/4 Inches
- Ring Gauge: 50
- Vitola: Robusto
- MSRP: $20 (Boxes of 10, $200)
- Date Released: October 10, 2011
- Number of Cigars Smoked for Review: 3
The cigar itself is seems perfectly constructed, as you would expect from a Padrón, with a dark mocha brown wrapper that is totally smooth to the touch, almost velvety smooth. It has the perfect amount of give when squeezed, but does feel just a bit light when you hold it considering the vitola. The wrapper smells strongly of hay, barnyard and a touch of coffee.
The First Third starts out instantly with distinct flavors of hay, dark chocolate, leather and oak. For the first ten puffs or so, there is an extremely strong black pepper note that literally brought tears to my eyes, but that calmed down fairly quickly, although it is still a major part of the profile. Very little spice on the tongue at first, I can also feel the strength building.
The Second Third has the same basic profile and flavors, but I did notice a distinct slightly sweet plum note that came and went throughout the second third. There is almost no pepper or spice at all at this point in the smoke, and I really missed it. Surprisingly, just a bit past the halfway point, the strength of the cigar that was building since the start seemed to start to wane quite a bit and quickly.
The Final Third was pretty much the same, flavor wise, perhaps just a bit more mellow, i.e. not as rich as the first two thirds. Still very little spice, although I was getting just a tiny amount of black pepper on the retrohale. However, the strength continued to dissipate noticeably until it was at a “medium” by the end of the cigar.
- Despite the fact that I smoke quite a few Padróns, albeit mostly the 1964 blend, I am always surprised at just how well they are constructed. I have NEVER had a Padrón with anything less than a perfect draw and burn, including the 85ths for this review. (I did find a fairly large stem in a 45th once, but it did not affect the draw at all.)
- Typically, the Padrón Family Reserve releases are scheduled to be in stores by September 8th, which José O. Padrón’s birthday. The 85th release was delayed due to problems with the packaging, i.e. the boxes.
- The 85th is a noticeably smaller vitola than both the 45th and 46th.
- I find it interesting that the strength really seemed to diminish in the second half. It started out with a bang (around full strength-wise) and ended as a solid medium.
- Sadly, I was unable to get a Natural wrapper (see above) to compare the Maduros to. However, for almost every Padrón line I have smoked, I prefer the Maduro wrapper.
- Smoke production was great, plentiful and white…
- The Final Smoking Time for all 3 samples was right around 1 Hour and 45 Minutes...
The Bottom Line: Whenever we review one of the Family Reserve Padróns, I feel like we are in the middle of Groundhog day, as we always seem to say the same things. Padróns have never been the most complex of cigars flavor-wise, and the 85th is no different. However, the flavors it DOES have are dark, intensely rich and distinct. Throw in the amazing construction, draw and burn, and it is easily a very good cigar.
The question that I (and mostly you as well) want answered is: Is the 85th better than the 45th, 46th, and SI-15? The answer is complicated… I liked the 85th better than the 46th (easily) flavor-wise, and I enjoyed it a bit less than the SI-15 (reviewed here and here), although I love the vitola of the 85th quite a bit more. But I still think the 45th Maduro blows the 85th (and all of the others) out of the water in terms of the total package. Still a very good cigar, and easily worth the price (for a Padrón), but I honestly would rather have a box of the 45th.
Final Score: 90