Cigar Aficionado

Back in the U.S.A.—Padilla Miami

The Padilla Miami was born in Florida in 2005, moved to Honduras and now has come back to Florida once again. The cigar is again being made in Miami, this time right across the street from where it was born, using a recreation of its original blend.

Padilla brand owner Ernesto Padilla showcased the new version of the old cigar at last week's International Premium Cigar & Pipe retailers show. The cigar has gone a long, long way to come back to Miami.

"Miami is as close to Cuba as you can get," says Padilla. "They have Cuban-seed tobaccos being made by Cuban rollers in the largest exile Cuban community in the world."

The new version of Padilla Miami is being rolled at El Titan de Bronze, a tiny factory on Calle Ocho (Eighth Street) in Little Havana, at the corner of 11th Avenue. Ironically, this factory is located directly across the street from El Rey de Los Habanos, an equally tiny Miami cigar factory that is owned by Jose "Pepin" Garcia and Eduardo Fernandez. Padillas were born at El Rey de Los Habanos (like Tatuajes) but in 2008, Padilla and Garcia parted ways, leaving Padilla to seek out new factories to make his blends. He eventually moved his Miami blend to Fabrica de Tabacos Raicas Cubanas in Honduras, which makes a version of Padilla Miami.

The Raices Cubanas version of Padilla Miami is all Nicaraguan. The new Padilla Miami made by El Titan de Bronze uses the old recipe of Ecuador Habano wrapper (which is grown by Oliva Tobacco Co. of Tampa), and a blend of Nicaraguan tobacco grown by Aganorsa S.A. "It's a different animal," says Padilla.

Padilla has a soft spot in his heart for Miami cigarmaking. A longtime friend of Ernesto Perez-Carrillo, who long made La Gloria Cubana cigars on Eighth Street in Miami, Padilla tried for several years to open his own Miami cigar factory, but ultimately sold the spot, which is now a retail operation and never opened as a fully functioning cigar factory.

Like many Miami fabricas, El Titan de Bronze makes cigars in the Cuban style: triple capped, two binders, and with one cigarmaker doing the entire production from start to finish, rather than splitting the duty between buncher and roller.

The original prototypes of the cigar had a sharp floral taste that Padilla didn't like; he traced it to cedar shavings in the aging room. The new cigars are being aged without the cedar shavings. "It's not an overwhelmingly strong cigar," says Padilla. "It wasn't just about strength. It's all about flavor."

Padilla is starting slowly with the new cigar, sending out only one size (a robusto) that will retail for $10. It will have the original Miami band (shown in photo) plus a footband with the word "re-release," and come in uncoated boxes with a "very Cubanesque" look, said Padilla, making them distinguishable from the Honduran version of Padilla Miami, which will still be sold. Padilla said he hopes the new cigars will ship in mid- to late-September.