Issue: Cigar Aficionado: Jan 01, 2010 | Score: 95
The Padrón Family Reserve No. 45 Maduro first reached cigar shops on September 8, the 45th anniversary of the creation of Padrón Cigars Inc. by José Orlando Padrón. The 83-year-old Cuban émigré is the embodiment of the American dream, having come to the United States in the early 1960s with nothing more than a few hundred dollars, a solid work ethic and the burning desire to make cigars that tasted as good as the ones he smoked as a young man in Cuba. The image of a hammer on this special release commemorates a most precious gift given to him by a friend when he was virtually penniless—the tool allowed him to eke out a living as a carpenter, money he saved to form a small cigar company. The cigar smokers of the world owe that benefactor a great debt, for the Padrón family continues to give us one brilliant cigar after another. No company has dominated our ratings in the way Padrón Cigars has. This is the third time it has been named Cigar Aficionado's Cigar of the Year, an honor that has only existed for six years. The No. 45 is stronger than typical Padróns and is an intense smoke jammed with rich, hearty, coffee notes and a heady amount of spices. The Padróns are tobacco hoarders, keeping stocks of tobacco for years, and this cigar is made with some of their oldest leaves. Company president Jorge Padrón says the leaves inside are as old as 10 years. The first of the Padrón's Family Reserves were torpedos made from very old tobaccos, served only for special occasion dinners and never sold at retail. While the 45 shares the original's old tobacco, it's a slightly different blend and an entirely different shape, being a severely pressed parejo. While the majority of Padrón Family Reserve No. 45s are made with maduro wrappers, some are wrapped in natural leaves. The cigars come in tidy boxes of 10, the cover of which bears the signature of the Padrón clan. "This is something you carry in your blood," says José Orlando Padrón about making cigars. "I was born in the middle of all that and that is why I love it so much."