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An Interview with Ernesto Padilla

A conversation with Ernesto Padilla, owner of Miami's Padilla Cigar Co.
David Savona
From the Print Edition:
Armand Assante, Mar/Apr 2008

(continued from page 3)

A: Late 2003. There was this factory in the Dominican Republic. They had some interesting things, and we made this cigar, called the Padilla Hybrid, using a hybrid seed that the Perezes [owners of ASP Enterprises] had come up with. The factory was making cigars for Europe. They had really, really good tobacco for what they were doing. But I always pushed them to try to make fuller blends. And they said, "Americans don't want fuller." I said, "OK, statistically, you're right, the majority smokes milder cigars. But I'm not really interested in that guy. 'Cause I'm not that guy. That style cigar is out there."

Q: So you have the Hybrid, but—

A: It wasn't exactly what I wanted. It was a cigar that, in my opinion, someone who wanted to smoke a good medium-bodied cigar would enjoy, but I wanted the next progression. I really wanted to come up with something that was fuller than the Dominican. I thought it was a great starting cigar.

Q: It got some good ratings. Do you still have it?

A: I do. I ended up giving it to a catalog, and they do very well with it. I still get requests for it, but my main goal is to make something very similar to the first cigar I smoked—full flavored.

Q: What was your next cigar?

A: We made a maduro, the same factory as the Hybrid, with San Andres Mexican maduro. That's a very hard wrapper to get. The wrapper is fantastic. That wrapper with Nicaraguan filler is a home run, a match made in heaven, but it's really tough to get large yields of that.

Q: What inspired you to make cigars? I know you worked for Tabacalera Perdomo for a short time before making your own cigars.

A: I was basically a guy who enjoyed cigars. Then I said, 'Holy shit—we're actually selling this thing. We're out of it. Now what?'

Q: Did you find yourself in situations where you would make a cigar, then find yourself out of it?

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