At the 2016 IPCPR Convention & Trade Show, Padilla Cigars released two very different anniversary cigars: the Padilla Anniversary and the Padilla 85th Anniversary de Heberto Padilla. While the Padilla Anniversary is a six vitola line produced to commemorate the company’s 13 years in business, the other release has a more unique purpose.

In fact, as the name implies, the Padilla 85th Anniversary de Heberto Padilla is a release that commemorates company owner Ernesto Padilla’s father, the noted Cuban poet Heberto Padilla, who passed away in 2000 at the age of 68. The new cigar is being rolled at Yaxel Ortiz’s The Best Cigars S.A. factory in Nicaragua and is composed of a Connecticut broadleaf wrapper covering Nicaraguan tobacco in both the binder and filler as well as additional undisclosed tobaccos. In an email, Padilla told halfwheel that the cigars are a “limited regular production” and were shipped to a number of “very select retailers” prior to the Aug. 8 deadline imposed by FDA.

There are five different vitolas, all of which are packaged in boxes of 20 and retail between $9 and $11 per cigar:

  • Padilla 85th Anniversary de Heberto Padilla Double Toro (6 x 60)
  • Padilla 85th Anniversary de Heberto Padilla Figurado (6 x 54)
  • Padilla 85th Anniversary de Heberto Padilla Robusto (5 x 54)
  • Padilla 85th Anniversary de Heberto Padilla Toro (6 x 52)
  • Padilla 85th Anniversary de Heberto Padilla Torpedo (6 1/2 x 52)


  • Cigar Reviewed: Padilla 85th Anniversary de Heberto Padilla Robusto
  • Country of Origin: Nicaragua
  • Factory: The Best Cigars S.A.
  • Wrapper: Connecticut broadleaf
  • Binder: Nicaragua
  • Filler: Nicaragua
  • Length: 5 Inches
  • Ring Gauge: 54
  • Vitola: Robusto Extra
  • MSRP: n/a
  • Release Date: August 2016
  • Number of Cigars Released: Regular Production
  • Number of Cigars Smoked For Review: 3

Although it is a bit hard to see underneath the two bands that take up at least half of the cigar, the Padilla 85th Anniversary de Heberto Padilla is covered in a dark, mocha brown wrapper that is fairly smooth to the touch. There are a number of significant veins running up and down the length of the cigar, and I also see some slight oil. Aroma from the wrapper is a combination of dark chocolate, manure, grass, barnyard, leather and earth while the cold draw brings flavors of anise, leather, ground coffee, pistachios and black pepper.

Starting out, the Padilla 85th Anniversary de Heberto Padilla features a strong earthy and leather core, with other flavors of bitter espresso beans, creamy oak, baker’s spices, leather and a touch of citrus bringing up the rear. There is a bit of inderiminnate sweetness as well as some significant black pepper on the retrohale, and I am a bit surprised by the amount of tongue-tingling spice that is present as well. Construction-wise, the draw is excellent so far after a simple straight cut, and while the burn is nowhere close to razor sharp, it is also not close to needing a correction. The smoke production is massive off of the foot, and while the strength does increase noticeably during the entire first third, it ends up being short of the medium mark by the time the second third begins.


Coming into the second third of the Padilla 85th Anniversary de Heberto Padilla, the earthy core that was so prevalent in the first third has been slowly replaced by a profile dominated by the same creamy pistachio note that was present in the cold draw, followed by notes of creamy oak, brewed coffee grounds, leather, citrus and a touch of floral. The sweetness on the retrohale that was so hard to place in the first third has become more distinct, reminding me of creamy hazelnut, but the black pepper has receded quite a bit, as has the spice that was present on my tongue. The draw continues to impress, and while the burn was touched up once, it was never close to getting out of hand. The overall strength easily hits the medium mark by the halfway point, but seems to stall out there, while the smoke production shows no signs of decreasing anytime soon.


The final third of the Padilla 85th Anniversary de Heberto Padilla starts out quite similar to the second third, but soon takes a turn, with the creamy pistachio note morphing into a combination of both leather and oak, followed closely by dried tea leaves, hay, dark cocoa, barnyard and anise. The hazelnut sweetness is still present, but in nowhere near the levels of the second third, and while the black pepper on the retohale remains noticeable, the spice on my tongue is long gone. The burn has evened up nicely, and the draw is as good as ever, while the smoke production continues to be well above average. The overall strength has not budged noticeably from the second third, and I put the nub down with about an inch left with it still in the solid medium range.


Final Notes:

  • Heberto Padilla’s background is quite interesting, including the fact that he was imprisoned by Fidel Castro in 1971 for having “plotted against the powers of the state.” You can read more about him on Wikipedia or numerous online articles.
  • Ernesto Padilla studied at the Art Institute of Philadelphia and designs all of the art for the Padilla brand himself.
  • You can see halfwheel’s coverage of the Padilla booth during the 2016 IPCPR Convention & Trade Show here.
  • I took a portrait of Padilla in a bathroom hallway back in 2014 that you can see here.
  • The final smoking time for all three samples averaged just over one hour and 25 minutes.
  • The cigars smoked for this review were provided by Padilla Cigars.
87 Overall Score

While two of the samples of the Padilla 85th Anniversary de Heberto Padilla performed nicely — both in terms of profile and construction — the last cigar I smoked was obviously inferior in almost every way, with none of the sweetness, complexity or balance that I had become used to. Unfortunately, our reviews are based on three samples, and while I am willing to bet that the last one was an aberration, the score would be higher if that cigar was not included.

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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.