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Earlier this year, Piloto Cigars Inc. filed for a trademark on DAMASO. It came at a time when there was chatter about an all-new Connecticut-wrapped Padrón that would be unlike anything else the company has previously released.

In June, the company announced the new Padrón Dámaso, named after Dámaso Padrón—grandfather of José O. Padrón—and the first family member to grow tobacco in Cuba. Damask Padrón left the Canary Islands in 1890 for Cuba.

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Padrón’s cigars are noted for generally being stronger and made almost exclusively of Nicaraguan tobacco. While every company in the cigar business does things a bit different, Padrón really has its own way. It uses no traveling sales representatives, far and away the largest company to utilize that model, and has a variety of other traditions. Its cigars are usually box-pressed and the higher-end offerings are sold without cellophane.

Those quirks are gone for the Padrón Dámaso, it’s a milder, round Padrón packed in cellophane. The new Padrón uses a Connecticut-seed wrapper, although Padrón doesn’t seem to want to go on record about where exactly it’s from, over Nicaraguan fillers. It’s offered in four sizes: the No. 8 (5 1/2 x 46, $12.50), No. 12 (5 x 50, $13.50), No. 15 (6 x 52, $15) and No. 17 (7 x 54, $17.50). Each is packed in boxes of 20.

While the Dámaso began shipping shortly after the trade show, interestingly, the No. 17 size is currently listed as backordered and unavailable to most retailers.

Padron Damaso No. 15 1

  • Cigar Reviewed: Padrón Dámaso No. 15
  • Country of Origin: Nicaragua
  • Factory: Tabacos Cubanica S.A.
  • Wrapper: Undisclosed Connecticut-seed
  • Binder: Nicaragua
  • Filler: Nicaragua
  • Size: 6 Inches
  • Ring Gauge: 52
  • Vitola: Toro
  • MSRP: $15 (Boxes of 20, $300)
  • Date Released: July 24, 2015
  • Number of Cigars Released: Regular Production
  • Number of Cigars Smoked for Review: 3

The wrapper is a bit rough in the hand, but the color is very good. It smells more Ecuadorian Connecticut than Connecticut shade to me with acidity and lots of barnyard breaking through. The foot is a bit of a classic cigar shop: lots of indeterminate tobacco, some big cedar, a bit of wood varnish and acidity. There’s a big cedar, some graininess, wheat bread and a touch of pepper on the cold draw. It’s got the typical Padrón draw, slightly loose, and honestly isn’t much milder than any other Padrón I’ve smoked.

While the Dámaso starts smooth, there’s still a bit of the typical Connecticut harshness that I normally encounter with the Ecuadorian varietal. Through the nose there’s some complexity: fruits and some lemonade along with nuttiness and saltiness. Pepper is all around, but it never becomes overly dominant. Outside of tasting notes off the initial puff, my first observation about the Padrón Dámaso is just how quick it burns.  Cedar dominates the mouth followed by some creaminess. The pepper has completely disappeared in both the mouth and nose, which is a bit odd given the start. On the retrohales I get a decent floral flavor and some grassiness, lemon and the aforementioned in creaminess. I’d peg the flavor at medium-full, body at medium-plus and the strength at mild leaving the initial two inches.

Padron Damaso No. 15 2

None of the No. 15s I’ve smoked had any issues in the first third burning anything but evenly, but in the second third, each cigar seems to want to get a bit off, although all corrected without the use of a lighter. The Dámaso is turning much more Connecticut in the second third with the creaminess now joined by a black pepper. The cedar has retreated towards the back and become a bit bitter, while herbal flavors begin to move all around the palate. I would say the strength turns up a notch, but it’s still south of medium.

Padron Damaso No. 15 3

The final third is very much what I would think a Connecticut-wrapped Padrón should taste like. There’s cedar, a bit earthiness, sawdust and a finish that is more classic Connecticut: peanut shells and an incredibly lengthy creaminess. The flavor has an added depth and richness that I find in just about every Padrón, something not present in the first four inches. Still, the cigar remains mild to medium in strength, medium-full in flavor and medium-plus in body—a happy compromise for the cigar.

Padron Damaso No. 15 4

Final Notes

  • Strength never crosses the mild-medium line. While I don’t find this to be a heavy cigar, I don’t think it makes for a great morning smoke. It’s not a mild cigar in anything other than nicotine and while it won’t destroy your palate, it’s going to have a bit of a presence.
  • This is most certainly not my favorite $15 cigar, but price doesn’t factor into scores.
  • In our IPCPR recap, Patrick Lagreid noted that it was interesting how there was more buzz on the trade show floor regarding the Padrón releases last year, which pretty much no one actually smoked during the trade show, compared to the Dámaso, which plenty of people smoked at this year’s trade show.
  • There’s a hammer on the side of the band and I really like it. That being said, the hammer is most certainly after Dámaso Padrón’s time.
  • The gold text on white bands most certainly looks very Davidoff-like. I was actually smoking another cigar for review and quickly glanced at my ashtray from about 10-feet away and for a split second, I was trying to figure out why there was a Davidoff band in the ashtray since I hadn’t smoked any Davidoffs since the ashtray was cleaned.
  • That being said, the band reminds me more of the Padrón 50th Anniversary Humidor more than anything else.
  • As for the packaging as a whole, I think it’s really well-done.
  • I find the fact that most retailers already cannot get the churchill size to be a bit confusing particularly since it seemed clear the company was going to ship these immediately following the show.
  • Final smoking time was an extremely quick one hour and five minutes on average.
  • Site sponsors Elite Cigar Cafe (972.661.9136), JR Cigar, Serious Cigars and STOGIES World Class Cigars (713.783.5100) all have received the Padrón Dámaso.
87 Overall Score

It’s been a while since a cigar has universally headed into the IPCPR Convention & Trade Show as the single most-anticiapted cigar to be smoked amongst retailers, media and even other manufacturers. But what’s more interesting, is by the end of day one, it seemed like the Dámaso buzz had completely worn off. Near universally, everyone I spoke to had disappointment with the Padrón and some even went a bit further. I hadn’t smoked one until I began this review and perhaps whatever issues existed with trade show samples were worked out for the production batch because I was fairly satisfied. For at least half the cigar it’s not really how I envisioned a Padrón Connecticut to be, but by the end it was definitely there. Is it the best thing Padrón has ever made? Absolutely not. Is it pricey? Yes. But, is it bad cigar? At least for me, the No. 15 is most certainly not. 

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Charlie Minato
About the author

I am an editor and co-founder of halfwheel.com/Rueda Media, LLC. I previously co-founded and published TheCigarFeed, one of the two predecessors of halfwheel. I handle the editing of our written content, the majority of the technical aspects of the site and work with the rest of our staff on content management, business development and more. I’ve lived in most corners of the country and now entering my second stint in Dallas, Texas. I enjoy boxing, headphones, the Le Mans 24-hour, wearing sweatshirts year-round and gyros. echte liebe.

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