The Padrón 1964 Anniversary Series is a tough act to follow—the brand repeatedly leads the tastings in CIGAR AFICIONADO magazine. So when the Padrón family set out to celebrate its 40th anniversary, we were skeptical about the prospects for improving on a winning formula. Our doubts were unfounded. The Padrón Serie 1926 40th Anniversary cigar in natural wrapper is the best cigar of the year, and may be the best cigar the Padróns have ever made. Each leaf in the cigar is a minimum of five years old. The wrapper feels like fine silk. The box-pressed torpedo is superbly crafted with an intensely complex flavor. Slightly stronger than a Padrón Anniversary, it has heavy chocolate notes framed by earthy spices, with a luxuriant, long finish. The initial release of the cigars comes beautifully presented, in 400 hand-painted, hand-carved boxes of 40. About half those boxes (or 8,000 cigars) were shipped in 2004, split evenly between natural and maduro wrappers, and the rest will ship this year. When those boxes are sold, the 40th Anniversary cigars will be available in different packaging as regular—albeit rare—part of the Serie 1926 line. We have no idea how the Padróns will celebrate year No. 50—but we can't wait.