On Jan. 29, Smoke Inn hosted a party in honor of José O. Padrón’s 90th birthday with a special cigar released for the event. Presumably, it was a cigar made for his 90th birthday, but in fact, the cigar is the José O. Padrón 89 Birthday Blend.

Jose O. Padron 89 Birthday Blend Maduro Box 1

Although the blend is not known, the 6 x 46 cigar was released in both a maduro and natural wrappers and both vitolas are round, a departure from Padrón’s modus operandi of box-pressed cigars, although that departure is increasing in frequency of late. In addition, the cigars feature a numbered band underneath a special black version of Padrón’s basic band that is found on the company’s Thousand Series releases.

Jose O. Padron 89 Birthday Blend Maduro & Natural

A total of 200 boxes, split between the Maduro and Natural variants were made for the event, and they sold out quick with an epicly-long waitlist assembled by the next day.

Jose O. Padron 89 Birthday Blend Maduro 1

  • Cigar Reviewed: José O. Padrón 89 Birthday Blend Maduro
  • Country of Origin: Nicaragua
  • Factory: Tabacos Cubanica S.A.
  • Wrapper: n/a
  • Binder: n/a
  • Filler: n/a
  • Length: 6 Inches
  • Ring Gauge: 46
  • Vitola: Corona Extra
  • MSRP: $16.50 (Boxes of 10, $165)
  • Release Date: Jan. 29, 2016
  • Number of Cigars Released: 200 Boxes of 10 Cigars (2,000 Total Cigars)*
  • Number of Cigars Smoked For Review: 3

*There were 200 boxes total between the two wrappers, the split hasn’t been disclosed.

Covered in an extremely dark espresso brown wrapper, the José O. Padrón 89 Maduro is features quite a bit of tooth to it as well as a touch of oil. The cigar has some nice give when squeezed, and there are some very obvious veins running up and down the length. Aroma from the wrapper is a combination of strong earth, manure, leather, horse blanket, dark chocolate and coffee, while the cold draw brings flavors of hay, leather, sawdust, earth, and a tiny amount of floral sweetness.

Starting out, the José O. Padrón 89 Birthday Blend Maduro features quite a few of the same flavors that were present in both the cold draw and on the wrapper, including a dominant earthy note interspersed with other flavors of grass, leather, chalk and dark chocolate and coffee beans. There is a punishing amount of black pepper through the retrohale for the first 10 puffs or so, and although it begins to calm down after that, it remains quite aggressive. I am noticing some very slight berry sweetness on the finish, but it is not overly strong as of yet, and is somewhat overtaken by some spice that is also present on my tongue. Constructon-wise, the Padrón has an excellent draw after straight cut, as well as a close-to-razor-sharp burn that does not even come close to needing a touchup. Smoke production is about normal, and the strength comes very close to the medium mark by the time the first third draws to close.

Jose O. Padron 89 Birthday Blend Maduro 2

After being punished with black pepper on the retrohale for the entire first third of the José O. Padrón 89 Maduro, I was a little taken aback by the departure of that same note in the second third. The amount of pepper really took a nose dive until it almost disappears entirely, and while that usually allows more flavors to come to the forefront, in this case the profile became extremely smooth as well as extremely monotonous. Having said that, I can still taste flavors of dark chocolate, earth, generic coffee and barnyard, with a little creamy cedar on top. There is still a very slight dark berry sweetness on the retrohale, but it is no stronger than it was in the first third. Both the burn and draw continue to impress, and the strength easily hits the medium mark by the end of the second third, although it does not seem to be going anywhere fast after that.

Jose O. Padron 89 Birthday Blend Maduro 3

Thankfully, the profile during the final third of the José O. Padrón 89 Maduro seems to return somewhat to what it was in the beginning of the cigar, although the dominant note is now a combination of creamy cedar and leather. Other flavors of gritty earth, hay, dark chocolate, ground coffee and anise are also present in varying amounts, while the berry sweetness that has been around for the whole cigar has actually increased slightly. There is a noticeable increase in black pepper on the retrohale—albeit nowhere near the amount that was present in the opening of the first third—but the spice on my tongue is long gone. The draw and burn remain excellent on all counts, and the strength hits a point just above the medium mark by the time I put the nub down with less than an inch to go.

Jose O. Padron 89 Birthday Blend Maduro 4

Final Notes

  • A spokesman for the company confirmed that the company is working on a cigar to commemorate José O. Padrón’s 90th birthday, but would give no other details about it.
  • If this cigar had tasted like the first third—and to a lesser extent, the final third—the whole way through, the score would have been significantly higher.
  • This is not the first time that Padrón has released a cigar through Smoke Inn commemorating a major event. In 2011, the cigar company released the Padrón 1964 Anniversary Series SI-15, a 6 x 60 cigar that was sold in both maduro and natural wrappers.
  • I really love this vitola. I also really love the combination of the old school main band—actually a different version, with embossed gold letters on a black background instead of the usual gold on white that is seen in the Thousand Series—and the secondary band that is usually seen on the Anniversary Series.
  • In fact, the main band on this release reminds me quite a bit of the band that was used on the short-fill Fumas that Padrón used to make years ago that incorporated tobacco clippings from all of the other Padrón cigars.
  • If you are confused about the numbering system of Padróns like the 40, 44, 45, 46, 50, 80, 85, 89—and why the numbers aren’t in particularly logical order, note that the smaller numbers 40-50 commemorate the company’s time in business (since 1964) and the larger ones are in honor of José O. Padrón’s birthday (1926).
  • Both the burn and draw were excellent on all samples, although that is not really a surprise.
  • The cigars smoked for this review were purchased by halfwheel.
  • The final smoking time for all three samples averaged one hour and 25 minutes.
  • Smoke Inn is long since sold out.
90 Overall Score

Padrón has produced quite a few different blends for various special events and anniversaries, and one thing that seems fairly universal between all of those releases is the fact that they are rarely better than what the company already produces with the Serie 1964 and Serie 1926 lines. Unfortunately, that seems to be the case with the José O. Padrón 89 Maduro as well. Although the cigar is a very good smoke overall, the drop off in the profile between the first and second thirds was noticeable, and really hurt the overall score. In the end, the José O. Padrón 89 Maduro is a very good cigar, but I would still rather smoke a Serie 1964 Exclusivo any day of the week making the tracking down of this cigar a bit more challenging to recommend.

Brooks Whittington

I have been smoking cigars for over eight years. A documentary wedding photographer by trade, I spent seven years as a photojournalist for the Dallas Morning News and the Fort Worth Star Telegram. I started the cigar blog SmokingStogie in 2008 after realizing that there was a need for a cigar blog with better photographs and more in-depth information about each release. SmokingStogie quickly became one of the more influential cigar blogs on the internet, known for reviewing preproduction, prerelease, rare, extremely hard-to-find and expensive cigars. I am a co-founder of halfwheel and now serve as an editor for halfwheel.