Size: 6 x 60 (Golden Bear)
Wrapper: Cuban Seed Corojo
Binder and Filler: Cuban Seed grown in Nicaragua
Strength: Medium – Full
Price: About $7.00/ single
Behind The Stick:
Yet again I come across another manufacturing empire and a person who has such depth to them I almost have to take a step back and re-assess the situation. Most of us have heard the name, and even know the short version of his family history but most do not know the story just under the surface. Ernesto Padilla is the son of a great poet named Heberto Padilla for whom he created this cigar blend in honor of. The year 1968, which was the year his father wrote the anthology Fuera del Juego (Out Of The Game) which had ultimately lead to his own imprisonment in 1971. Ernesto was born the following year, 1972, and in 1979 Ernesto and his mother were finally allowed to live in the US but the uproar that was caused from the initial arrest continued and the international pressure allowed Heberto to leave Cuba as well a year later. While living and teaching in Princeton, New Jersey Heberto was able to produce En mi jardín pastan los héroes in 1984, about the life of writers in Castro’s Cuba, followed in 1990 by the publication of his memoir La mala memoria, a story about Padilla’s life in Cuba under Castro.
Ernesto himself has had quite the background into the tobacco industry before making this blend, after graduating high school he went to school in Philadelphia, Fort Lauderdale and the Miami School of Design with an emphasis in graphic design and even has works on display at The Gallery of Cuban Art at La Casa Azul in Fort Worth, Texas. Although his great-grand parents owned a tobacco farm on which his father grew up, his direct interaction with the industry (aside from family and friends) was when he got a job with Tabacalera Perdomo where he used his education and skills within the Perdomo marketing and product development teams.
The Series 68 is the only cigar in the Padilla tribute line that is hand rolled in Honduras and was also the final chapter in the trilogy Ernesto had released in direct honor to his father. The Golden Bear version is a mammoth of a cigar sitting a 6 x 60 and is so large that it is the only vitola within the 1968 line that does not have a band.
Even though Ernesto has created some great smokes, a few of them almost at the ‘go to’ level, he does not seem to quit. For those who also follow him on twitter, there has been a few words about a cigar line called Cabo as well as talk about new blends on the horizon. Given his history, production abilities and drive, I can only wait to see what Mr. Ernesto Padilla has up his sleeve.
When I first saw this monster of a cigar, I thought to myself that this cigar HAD to be made for a specific reason – this is because I do not know of many other cigars that have even half the mass that this bad boy does. The Corojo wrapper which is harvested from the highest portions of the tobacco plant really gives the smoke its mildly oily, lightly red-hued leaf that does nothing but improve with age. Even with the size, this cigar is evenly packed from head to foot and the triple cap is flawless. Although a very large ring gauge, I think they pulled this one off.
Just from looking at this cigar, one may imagine it to be quite the ass kicker, and perhaps a little off in flavor due to the filler vs wrapper ratio. This is not the case, the filler really gives this smoke a nice strong (not overpowering) tobacco, semi-bitter earth type flavor which begins to pick up steam around the halfway point. As well, at this halfway point the mild spice from before exchanged places with a nice coffee flavor, dark and evenly balanced and surprisingly did not dry out my mouth even the slightest. My main ‘kudos’ goes to the wrapper, which even from the beginning just gushed a sweet, creamy and complex note to the already amazing blend.
Enesto Padilla has quickly become one of my favorite brands, one of those types of companies where you can run out and grab almost anything under their name and it delivers. The 1968 series, the Golden Bear in specific, really seems to fit the flavor profile that I like so I may be a little biased in my decision but this one, although not a ‘go to’ stick, my humidor will have a permanent spot for 2-4 of these giants.
Every Cigar Has A Story, Every Smoke A Memory