Smoking a New Padrón

Got a call from Jorge Padrón the other day. He was coming to New York City for a dinner at the Grand Havana Room, and he asked me to come along. He told me he was passing out the Padrón Reserva de la Famila No. 44.

The what?

It’s my job to keep abreast of what cigars are on the market, and I’m a big fan of Padróns, so I thought I had smoked them all, but this was one I hadn’t even heard of before. A new Padrón plus dinner at Grand Havana? How could I say no?

So last night I showed up at the Grand Havana Room and met with the manager, Randall Denman. He handed me the first of the evening’s three cigars, a Padrón 1964 Anniversary Series Exclusivo Maduro. Jorge was running late: he and several other cigarmakers had been in Washington, D.C. that day, lobbying against higher tobacco taxes.

Randall Denman, Jorge Padrón and executive chef Alberto Gomez.

I took a seat at the bar, ordered a Bombay Saffire Martini, and fired up the corona gorda, taking a look around the room. Grand Havana New York is one of my favorite places in the world to smoke. There’s a bar, a long line of comfy chairs facing the windows (the club is on the 39th floor, and the views are outstanding), a series of couches facing a large television screen, and the big dining room, where the dinner was being held.

The very best part? You can smoke everywhere.

Jorge arrived and we all sat down to dinner. There was a big crowd, and the Grand Havana members were clearly eager to smoke some great cigars. The dinner was superb: we began with big grilled prawns in a spicy rub over polenta, then moved to filet mignons. The courses were complemented by Caymus Condundrum 2005 (the white wine) and Phillipe Melka Parallel 2004 (the red). But I was here for that special cigar.

As Randall handed each diner a cigar, waiters poured glasses of Fonseca 20-Year-Old Tawny Port. Jorge explained that the Reserva de la Familia No. 44 is made with tobacco that's eight to 10 years old. The cigar is a torpedo, measuring 6 1/4 by 54 ring, and instead of a Padrón band it bore that understated green secondary band that appears on the Anniversary series. The 44 refers to the company’s 44th year in business, which will be in 2008.

“We do not sell it in retail stores,” said Jorge, explaining this was a cigar made for the use of his family and only for special dinners such as this one. This was only the second Padrón dinner where the 44 had been passed out.

I loved it: it had a stronger taste profile than just about any other Padrón on the first few puffs, and after an inch or so it mellowed into a very rich smoke loaded with cocoa and vanilla notes, with perhaps a touch of sweet spices like nutmeg and a bit of nuts on the finish. I didn’t score it, but if it had been smoked in a blind tasting it would have done very well.

If you see a Padrón dinner in your area, ask if it’s going to feature the Reserva de la Familia. It's something you'll want to try.

"Geez, Dave, thanks for waiting until the END to tell us we can't ever buy them! My tobacconist told me that, as he was reading this, he picked up the phone and dialed Padron to see if he could order some. By the time it started ringing, he'd already read the bad news. Oh well, guess I'll have to settle for the Padron 30th whenever that finally ships. " —October 19, 2007 13:21 PM
"Great quote Ernesto!Winston Churchill was such a wise man." —January 9, 2008 10:24 AM
"My rule of life prescribed as an absolutely sacred rite smoking cigars and also the drinking of alcohol before, after and if need be during all meals and in the intervals between them. Winston Churchill-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------Lady Astor: "Mr. Churchill, you're drunk!" Winston Churchill: "Yes, and you, Madam, are ugly. But tomorrow, I shall be sober."---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------It is a good thing for an uneducated man to read books of quotations... The quotations, when engraved upon the memory, give you good thoughts. They also make you anxious to read the authors and look for more. Winston Churchill " —December 18, 2007 18:22 PM
"So how does one garner an invitation to a Padron dinner? (Aside from being a cigar magazine editor)" —October 22, 2007 09:55 AM
"Nelson, Jorge said the 44 won't be sold at the retail level, but reserved for these special dinners, so it sounds like the only way to try one is at a dinner." —October 18, 2007 15:02 PM
"What a treat David. Great smoke, Great company, and Great dinner. I wonder if the 44 will ever be introduced to the general public." —October 18, 2007 12:39 PM