Padilla Vintage Reserve | Cigar Review

Wrapper: Pennsylvania Broadleaf Maduro
Binder: Nicaraguan Habano
Filler: Nicaraguan Corojo and Criollo (Cuban Seed)
Size: 6.5 x 52 “Torpedo-Box Pressed”
Body: Medium/Full
Price: $14.00
Number of Cigars Smoked Prior to Review: 0
Accompanying Libation: Seltzah Watah



Today we take a look at the Padilla Vintage Reserve.

This is a limited production blend with only 500 boxes of each size.
The cigars are produced at Tabacalera Oliva.
Padilla has stated that the design of this blend is to hit the quality of their back in the day super premiums.

On the front of the cigar, this is gorgeous. On the back…not so much. The front is clean of seams and veins. It’s like a Before and After shot. The back is full of desiccated veins, seams are clearly not tight, and the back of the cap is visible in every detail.
While the front of the cap is clean as a whistle.
The semi oily russet brown wrapper has a mostly tight rectangular box press. Storage has rounded one of the corners.
The cigar band reminds of the MGM Casino in Vegas. And it is numbered. As stated before, Padilla produced 10,000 of each size. This one is the 17,896th made.

Churchill 7 x 50 $13.00
Double Robusto 5 x 54 $12.00

The aroma, probably due to extensive aging from young Joe Talotta, is subtle (Shown in this photo where his grandfather is trying to sell young Joey to anyone at the train station in Sicily. Grandpa knew bad blood when he saw it!)
I smell earthy tobacco, spice, coffee, sweetness, leather, fresh fruit, and gesundheit to me as the spiciness makes me sneeze twice, and just the slightest touch of cocoa.
At the foot, I pick up a lot of black pepper and more earthiness.

The draw is super tight. The cigar is hard as a rock. I attempt the use of my cigar awl but I hear cracking noises immediately and thus stop.
In spite of the tight draw, smoke fills the room. The draw loosens up as the approximately ¾” of cigar awl pushing must have gotten the plug.

Black pepper is like a sea of swarming simbas. The rich earthiness of the tobacco is extremely flavorful.
There is a substantial amount of sweetness and bittersweet cocoa.
The char line starts off a bit wavy.
Right from the get go, the strength is medium/full. I’m sure it will hit full body long before my puny brain, and stomach, are ready for it.

Let me just say this now…I rarely predict this early on a cigar I’ve never tried; but I can taste the sophistication in this blend and I am very impressed. If the cars keep climbing the first drop on this roller coaster, the high price of the Padilla Vintage Reserve will be worth it.

The extended, pointy cap makes it almost impossible to hold the cigar in my mouth while typing. I finally weaned myself off chomping so this will be a long morning.
An inch in, I get a taste of cream and salt. Either butterscotch or toffee show themselves for the first time. Too subtle to differentiate at this time.

A nice addition of floral notes appear. This is turning out to be a big surprise. I really didn’t know what to expect from this $14 Padilla. I dreaded the thought that it might be an overpriced dog turd. So far, the Padilla’s claim is on the money.

The Padilla Vintage Reserve has become an incredibly complex cigar. It should with more than a couple humidor years on it. Thank you Mr. Talotta. (I have a warning in the Summation that you should take heed to).
Little over 1” of ash disembarks from the cigar. Smoke time for that 1” was 15 minutes. At this rate, I expect the cigar to be a 90-100 minute smoke.

This blend is for the experienced palate. Newbies! Do not buy this. The strength will kill you and you really do need a sensitive palate to pick up the nuances. But if you are flush, go for it and learn, my sons. Just remember that your Uncle Katman said this is a might strong cigar.

It’s toffee. The char line is doing well but needs a minor touch up for the photos.

It’s a dreary Milwaukee morning with more rain on the way. A shame. I have my photography lights but if I move them too close, the cigar band’s shininess is lost in the glare. So you don’t get to see how beautiful the cigar really is. Of course, if someone took the photos that really knew what he was doing it would be another story.

The Padilla Vintage Reserve reminds me of a Cuban. The soil can be tasted with each puff. It reminds me of the Ramon Allones Specially Selected. I do a quick check of some reviews of the Allones to make sure my memory did not fail me, and Bang! On the money.
And here they are: Spice, creaminess, toffee, sweetness, fresh fruit (strawberries and kiwi), salt, leather, earthiness, cocoa, oak, and vanilla. Not bad Boo Boo.

For such a complex cigar, the finish is way too short. Balance is good though. And construction is just fine. Nice char line…dead nuts.
The draw tightens up a bit at this point but I ain’t going fishing with my cigar awl.
The spiciness is on the wane. The earthy tobacco increases exponentially.
The sweet factors rule the day at this point. Toffee shares the stage with brown sugar.

You know…I don’t have a single Stones story in my repertoire. Other than Sonja used to wear the hat made famous by the deceased Brian Jones who committed suicide. He gave her the hat in 1968 not that far from his suicide in 1969. Maybe he was already contemplating it. Curved Air’s famous-osity was huge in the late 60’s when they came to fruition. Sonja had a lead part in the original British production of “Hair.” And Darryl and Francis were in the house band. That is when they teamed up and formed Curved Air.

Back to Padilla Vintage Reserve. I go off on tangents a lot.

I was introduced, on FB, to a nice gentleman by the name of Jeff Dono. An ex-musician and we had a nice, but short, conversation. Hi Jeff.

The Padilla Vintage Reserve hits full body. But is as smooth as glass. The finish finally metes out some distance.
Dried fruit flavors push the party into high gear: Raisins, pineapple, and candied lemon slices. There is just a touch of citrus.
Toffee is stronger with each puff.

I’ve never, ever said this about a $14 cigar: It is worth every shekel. This is an impressive premium cigar blend of the highest order. No. I can’t afford it. I could name off a shit load of other double digit cigars that couldn’t kiss the feet (or is that foot?) of this cigar.
The only criticism is the tight draw. But now that the cigar has softened up some, I use the cigar awl, carefully, all the way to the foot and voila! A perfect draw and no casualties on the wrapper front line.

This has to be one of the most enjoyable cigars I’ve smoked. I keep saying that a lot since Mr. Talotta sent me some great cigars from his well-aged stash.

Joe and I have become the best of friends. I don’t have a lot of friends left at age 65. They’ve either covered the planet, are dead, or we just outgrew each other. But you know this. You make your best friends when you are young. It is much harder once you are a senior citizen because of life experience and finding that no one has that special commonality with you. Joe and I have that. And yet we are decades apart in age. My still living friends would love him. He would fit right in. The same sensibility and humor and full of class. Like me. LOL

The Padilla Vintage Reserve is now blasting away with phasers on kill. Man oh man, this is a delicious special blend. Kudos Padilla folks.
Smoke time is a bit over an hour.
Padilla claimed that they wanted to bring back some blends that were equal, or better, than their back in the day style of producing special high premium blends. Ernesto, my man, congrats. You have accomplished your goal with the Padilla Vintage Reserve.

The toffee, creaminess, chocolate, newly added coffee, and fruit are soaring.
And as full bodied as this cigar is, there is only a hint of nicotine. Of course, I still have 3-1/4” to go.

I have to say that you absolutely get your money’s worth with the Padilla Vintage Reserve. The long slow roll of complex, perfect balance, and long chewy finish make this a near masterpiece.

I have time now so I will get to it. Did you know that adding PG solution to humidification beads will destroy your cigars? The manufacturer of the beads says to use distilled water which I have been doing. But I used PG solution recently and it created a chemical chain reaction that caused all of my cigars in one humidor to taste like ammonia and aluminum.
I researched it after the fact and found the truth about this deadly combo. I tossed the bag of beads. Switched the cigars to another empty, clean humidor but I think they are lost. The bead manufacturer should add a disclaimer to their advertising that you should never use PG on them. All these years and I never knew that. But in my defense, I never read anyone talking about this subject. So I was blindsided.
Perfectly good cigars ruined.

Here they are as the last third begins: Earthiness, creaminess, toffee, fruit, coffee, cocoa, roasted nuts, toastiness, leather, vanilla, spice, and citrus.

The char line is still dead nuts and no additional touch ups were required.

I get really paranoid when I get a stick with severe burn problems. The first thing I think is that I did something wrong: too much humidity, lousy toasting of the foot, or carelessness. Then I get a cigar with a perfect char line like the Padilla Vintage Reserve and I realize it ain’t me babe. I don’t care what the manufacturer claims in terms of the journeyman status of his rollers. Anytime I see that little “V” start to burn away from the burn line, I know I’m in trouble. And then that little V takes off and becomes a run, or worse: a canoe. Then you find yourself constantly burning the wrapper to catch up to the run; ruining the potential of the blend.

Thankfully, the nicotine is static.
Floral notes return. I can even smell them. Almond defines itself from the generic roasted nuts. Almost marzipan.
I now get hints of cloves, cinnamon, nutmeg, and star anise.

This is what a $14 cigar should taste like. Always in constant movement. Always a surprise around every corner.
I would never smoke the Padilla Vintage Reserve in a group of other smokers. Distractions. One would miss out on all the subtleties and nuance. That’s why I so much enjoy smoking a cigar like this first thing in the morning before the onslaught begins.

The Padilla Vintage Reserve finds a new smoothness. It is heaven.
It finishes beautifully. No heat. No harshness. No bitterness. Flavors all intact.
I highly recommend you try the Padilla Vintage Reserve.

As I said earlier, the Padilla Vintage Reserve is worth the $14.00. No questions asked. It far surpasses any other cigar in this price range. And no way am I going to spend $16 on the new L’Atelier. Greed has become the name of the game this last year. Especially, coming out of the summer’s IPCPR trade show.

While I’ve stated over and over, I don’t care for cigars that take 2+ hours to smoke. In this case, I was never bored. I waited anxiously for each inch to pass as the flavor profile did the dance of the magic fairies. That excludes my dear friend, Rick Tunstall. I’ve seen him in a tutu and trust me…it ain’t no treat for the eyes.
Except for the tight draw, I have zero criticisms. It is a full flavored, full bodied blend.
It provided a real cigar experience. Not a cigar to while time away with. This requires your utmost focus to truly enjoy.
The blend and its aging were spot on.
Construction was what one expects from a double digit cigar.
You may have to hunt for them, but it’s worth it.


And now for something completely different:

Not a rock n roll story about drugs or debauchery. Just a minor note in the key of life.
I was 23. Saving up for my trip to Europe.

I got a part time job with a very small computer company. My good buddy, Dick Knight, got the gig for me.
The owner was a young man and what a fucking prick!
He used me to run errands for the most part. But it got out of hand.
Once a week, I had to go to his house and clean his pool. OK. No big deal.

One problem. Two actually.
He had a pair of real wolves. Both female.

One was the Alpha wolf. And the second wolf was the B submissive one. I would watch primal dramatics as the Alpha female would pin the other female to the ground and growl like she was going to attack. The submissive one whined and lay there like my first wife did on our honeymoon.
Now wolves are not dogs. They only slightly look like dogs. Up close, they are wolves.
And they were both very big and lanky. With giant heads.

The pool was surrounded by chain link to keep the wolves out.
He grew vine veggies on that fence. Tomatoes, green beans, etc.
Now I had to make a run for it from the backyard gate to the pool about 50 feet away.
The wolves smelled me coming a mile away.

The submissive wolf was friendly. The A wolf wanted to rip me up stem to stern.
I was scared to death. And then I discovered while inside the pool area that both dogs liked green beans.
So every trip to the asshole’s house, I took green beans and would throw them in the opposite direction I was going to distract the wolves. It worked.

My last day occurred when I was in the middle of nowhere in Orange County making a run for the prick.
The piece of shit car he gave to the morons like me for errands had a battery go bad. I didn’t have a cell phone in 1973. And nothing for miles in each direction.

I walked a couple miles to a gas station and called the office. He screamed at me to go back to the car and take the battery out and bring it back to the gas station and get another one.
Was this jerk off kidding? Hike a battery two miles and back?

“What are you? A 6 year old?” Yeah, that’s what he said to me.

He refused to send someone out to help. So I was stuck doing his bidding.
Hours passed and the prick had gone home for the day.
I went into the office and left a note: “Get yourself another 6 year old.”
Didn’t even go back to get my paycheck. My buddy Dick told me that the prick laughed when he read my note.

Next Anecdote:

It was the late 80’s. I worked for a structural steel fabricator as a project manager. The company was called Bartec. They were somewhere in Orange County. California, not Florida.

The owner had a shit load of businesses. From the shop to night clubs and beyond. He was this huge, incredibly handsome rich man. I would have fucked him. He had those movie star Rock Hudson looks. He must have been in his 50’s.
And he was married to actress Tippi Hedren (“The Birds”).

Project management was upstairs. So was the lunchroom and kitchen. Once a week, he came upstairs and sat in the kitchen drinking himself into oblivion.
He invited me and the only other PM to sit with him and oh did he cry the blues.

Tippi was driving him to drink. She was draining his bank account like Skittles from a Skittles bag.
Tippi had a lion reserve in Orange County. It was called Shambala Preserve. Plus, she was used to the good life.
Once in a while, she came in and said hello. Very nice lady. Still a knockout.

And then we got a project. Alfred Hitchcock gave her a cheesy AM/FM radio when she did “The Birds.” But it no longer worked. Mind you, the movie was made in 1963 and portable radios were something new.
We were ordered to get it to run again.

We took the back off and the battery looked like a camping lantern battery. It was like a fucking brick.
We spent the whole day trying to figure out how to jury rig this thing with every battery we could buy. No dice. Plus the insides were corroded from the old battery. It was a nightmare.

Tippi yelled at us when she came to get the piece of shit radio. We apologized and told her we tried.
The upside was that now and again, she brought her daughter to the shop: Melanie Griffith. She was super-hot back then. She spoke in that little girl voice and was very sexy. We would take turns jerking off in the bathroom after she left.
But almost every time she came, she brought her then husband actor Steven Bauer. You know him best from the movie, “Scarface” with Al Pacino.


This was an exceedingly handsome man and made us shnooks look like chopped liver. But it turned out he was very cool and very funny. He would entertain us for hours upstairs in project management. He would even bring joints and we would light up in the building. Melanie was downstairs with her mother and she smelled the pot and joined us.

Then the boss, Luis Barrenechea, would wonder where everyone was and he would come upstairs. He didn’t smoke weed but he didn’t care that we did. He just grabbed his bottle of vodka from the kitchen fridge and start drinking.
Luis is now Purchasing Director at Sheraton Panama Hotel & Convention Center.

He was married to Tippi from 1985-1995.

Now this is funny. A year later. Long after I left Bartec…I was driving down Harbor Blvd in Fullerton. Right in front of me was a brand new Cadillac with the license plate that said: ROAR. I knew it was Tippi.
I jumped out of my car, at the red light, and ran up to her window and knocked.
I scared the living shit out of her.
She started screaming like when the birds attacked her in the movie. Startled me.
I kept yelling my resume and Bartec over and over. She would not listen and gunned her Cadillac through the red light.
She clipped another car that had the green light. My light turned green, I got back in my car, and sped off.
Apparently, no one wrote down my license plate because the cops never knocked on my door.
Mmmmm…Melanie Griffith. Protection Status


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2 replies

  1. Holy shit man, two fucking priceless anecdotes for the price of one! Pure Sunday awesomeness!! But I’m now gonna need intensive therapy to get the Melanie Griffin knuckle shuffles outtta my head…
    But hey man, you were wrong about two things:
    1) My Granpa wasn’t from Sicily. They were living on the tip of the boot in Calabria. Apparantly that’s as far as they were willing to go to get away from tyranny. What…them, swim? Fahgettaboutit!!! <(you had to know that was coming😁)
    2) He did not try to get rid of me at some low rent train station, dick! It was a fucking bus depot in downtown New Britain called Jimmy's Smoke Shack. Get your facts straight! 😛😜😝😉😁

  2. I stand corrected. My apologies, sir.

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