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Padrón Serie 1926 No. 9

What a great cigar. The Padrón Serie 1926 No. 9 impressed our tasting panel again and again, rising to the top after repeated tests to become the best cigar of the year. In the end, when only a few cigars remained in the last blind tasting, this one stood above the rest: it was richer, rounder, more complex and rewarding than any other cigar we smoked.

This pressed beauty is rolled in the recently expanded Padrón factory in Estelí, Nicaragua, under the watchful eye of José Orlando Padrón, his son Jorge and the rest of the family members who ensure that the 5 million or so cigars they produce each year are of impeccable quality. This is perhaps the finest of the line, just blossoming with flavor right from the first puff. It's a complex smoke with perfect balance, showing flavors of chocolate, coffee and nuts, as well as some black cherry. The cigar has a finish so long it seems to never leave the palate. The 97 points it was awarded is the highest score we have given a recent-production cigar in many years.

Padrón Serie 1926 cigars are a bit stronger than the company's other luxe line, the 1964 Anniversary Series, and are considerably more expensive. The family has an affinity for anniversaries: 1964 is the year the company began making cigars, and 1926 is the year José Orlando was born. The cigar debuted in 2002, on José Orlando's 76th birthday, a year later than originally intended. The company recently marked another milestone, the 80th birthday of its patriarch. The Padrón Serie 1926 80 Years hit the market in late November -- five months after José Orlando's 81st birthday. As with all things Padrón, their cigars cannot be rushed.

The Padróns have never finished out of the top three in our Top 25 tastings, and this is the second time one of their smokes has been named the No. 1 cigar of the year. They are clearly at the top of their game.

Watch James Suckling and Gordon Mott smoke the Padrón Serie 1926 No. 9.

10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1

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