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An Interview With Jose Orlando Padrón, Chairman, Padrón Cigars Inc.

The patriarch and founder of Padrón Cigars Inc. has been making cigars since 1964.
James Suckling
From the Print Edition:
Antonio Banderas, Nov/Dec 2005

(continued from page 3)

Q: So you do see a big change in Nicaraguan tobacco?
A: It has changed a great deal. There are many farms that are still good but many others have lost their quality.

Q: Why are Nicaraguan cigars so much in fashion now?
A: My opinion is because of what Padrón has done.

Q: Couldn't it be because there is a trend to produce stronger cigars and Nicaragua has strong tobacco?
A: Do you want to know when a cigar is the strongest? Just leave it raw, and it will be very strong. Don't process it; just leave it, and you will be throwing up soon enough.

Q: So strong is not the best cigar then?
A: I would say the best is to smoke a nice cigar. Sometimes I get people asking for strong ones, and I think that if the blend is right, it's not necessary that it be too strong.

Jorge Padrón: I say it's best if it is balanced.

Q: But now you see a lot of cigars that are mainly the strong kind.
A: Anybody can make a strong cigar. The important thing is to achieve the correct balance, a balance between strength and flavor. That is the difficult thing. Not everybody can achieve this. We had that idea in mind when we launched the 1926 line.

Q: To produce a balanced cigar, is it a question of the quality of tobacco or the know-how of the person in charge of developing the blend?
A: Both. In order to produce a good cigar you need to mix a good blend with good rollers.

Q: How would you describe Padrón cigars' taste then?
A: The taste of tobacco that has been cured properly. Just think that with our production, this year it will be 4 million, with an increase of 10 percent, we now have over 7,000 quintales [354 short tons] of tobacco in stock. And it is all being cured properly.

Q: What's your opinion on the main tobacco areas of NicaraguA: Estelí, Jalapa and Condega?
A: The three of them are good areas. Other areas can be tried but I would not recommend them.

Q: Yes, but people are taking about Ometepe, an island in a lake for growing tobacco about 100 miles south of here.
A: The first to try that out was Padrón back in 1973 or 1974.

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