Size: 6.75 x 54 Box Pressed Perfecto
Today we go Unicorn diving with the 2008 Padrón Serie 1926 80 Years Maduro.
This was a gift from buddy, Skip Haynes. He has had this cigar marinating in his humidor for 12 years.
I’ve never reviewed this blend. Plenty of other Padrons have touched these lips but I missed out on the 80th; so, what better way to dip my toes that see how a 12-year-old blend held up. For over $30 per stick, it should still have plenty of plutonium half-life.
You can still buy these cigars everywhere. But they are regular production. Still, the sites that focus on rare cigars, this cigar can be had for your right testicle and your wife’s left ovary.
This is the first perfecto that Padron ever produced.
From Cigar Aficionado (2008):
“Eighty-three years ago this coming June, José Orlando Padrón was born in Pinar del Río, Cuba. He emigrated to the United States, and in 1964 he founded Padrón Cigars Inc. in an attempt to re-create the beloved Cuban cigars of his youth. The first Padróns were humble, 30 cent fumas sold exclusively in Miami. The cigars were later taken nationwide, largely due to Padrón’s son Jorge, now president of the company. Numbers are important to the Padróns: the 1964 Anniversary Series marks the year the company was founded, and the Serie 1926 line commemorates the birth year of the company patriarch. This year’s No. 2 cigar celebrates his 80th birthday. It is undeniably an amazing cigar, teeming with complexity and depth that can only be achieved through inventories of well-aged tobacco. The cigar has the signature Padrón flavor: cocoa, coffee, nuts and toast; it also has orange peel, leather and some spice on the finish. It is made with some of the company’s oldest leaves by only one buncher and one roller, who create but 300 cigars per day. It’s a rare find. The Padróns, two-time winners of our Cigar of the Year contest, have never finished lower than third in this ranking. Their long-standing philosophy is that they make cigars to suit their own taste, and sell what they don’t smoke.”
Clearly, extensive aging has been kind to this cigar’s presentation. Oil seeps from the wrapper. The mottled exterior is a mix of espresso, beaver, russet and walnut. Coincidentally, these were also the names of the band members in the failed 1960’s Beatles’ rip off TV show, “The Ferrets.”
Seams are invisible. But there is a mighty plethora of veinage that swallows the texture of the wrapper whole. Still, I can find a nice toothiness that is close to being Braille. The triple cap and the foot are remarkably intact for such a long hibernation.
The cigar is pretty hard. No give anywhere on the stick. And the cigar has shrunk a bit as both cigar bands are a’ slippin’ and a’ slidin’.
SMELL THE GLOVE:
Gorgeous floral notes are complimented by dark chocolate, espresso, raw almonds, malt, cedar, black pepper, some creaminess, barnyard, and raisins. This is, after all, a Nic puro; so no surprises in play.
Can’t do the cold draw. Big plug. I grab my trusty PerfecDraw draw adjustment tool and have at it. Gotta be honest, I’m scared shitless of shoving this tiny rod (no pun intended) down the narrow aperture of a clipped torpedo. I done dood it…The plug, as usual, was in the cigar band area. I actually pulled out a half inch of petrified stem that cleared the path to glory.
Once more with flaccidity: big dollop of cloves, espresso, dark chocolate, malt, black pepper, cedar, raisins, and barnyard.
It’s a smoke bomb. Flavors slam against my palate like a pie against Soupy Sales’ face.
There is instant complexity along with feets don’t fail me now transitions that jump in with gusto…the finish is creamy black pepper and malt.
This particular blend has gotten everything from godhead to meh reviews. Since Padron is always in the top 10 of Cigar Aficionado’s top 25 list every year, it is hard to take them seriously. But other top reviewers went Bozo crazy nuts over this stick.
I don’t have a second cigar in which I could have seen if I was wasting my time on this review. It was a leap of faith that either it would be fantastic…or I would go Medieval on this cigar. At this moment of early smokage, the cigar is living up to its fabled reputation. Is it worth $32.50? Tall order. We shall see.
I sense some hesitancy in the blend’s approach. Started with a bang and now it feels like it might be holding back a tad. The black pepper did not mellow from 12 years of aging. It is now the dominant flavor that is in the back of my throat and travels up to my sinuses causing one big spicy meatball.
The draw is perfect.
Strength is medium/full.
First sip of water and an explosion of sweet and fruity flavors come to the forefront: Caramel, black cherries, cinnamon raisin toast, vanilla ice cream, with a Worcestershire sauce chaser.
Despite the varied flavor profile, the complexity is beginning to slack off. I should be in seventh heaven by now. It’s a good cigar, but no different from a very good $12 blend.
Has a long hibernation stolen some goodness from the Serie 1926 80 Years Maduro? It is not abnormal for the first third to be merely a tease…but not in a cigar aged this long. It has a stilted and moon walking start. The consistency is in question. One moment, it is an excellent cigar, and the next it is a good AJ blend.
Mind you, CA gave this cigar their No.2 position for 2008. And the honest reviewers were all over the place. I’ve found that Padron cigars need plenty of humi time. Who knows how much time was allowed in the written reviews. Timing is everything.
It’s a conundrum to review a perfecto in thirds. The bottom third of the cigar is tapering from a 20-ring gauge to a 54 in 2-1/2”. I now begin the meaty section of the cigar. The first third took only 25 minutes to wade through.
The Padron lost its edge. There are seedlings of what might have been an incredible blend…but it wasn’t made to survive 12 years. I reviewed a 1997 Fuente Fuente Opus X Perfecxion #2 and it received a 97 rating from me. Not only did it survive 20 years of humidor time, but it was an exciting cigar. Seems Padron can’t make that type of claim…at least not for this blend.
I love AJ blends. But this $32 cigar is just a nameless $7 Nic puro. And it would be a good $7 cigar. But there is no way to avoid the price point on this cigar. I would have loved to review this cigar 10 years ago.
Strength is full.
The blend is getting worse. Lots of hay in the mist. The sweet factors are now gone. Even the savorier aspects are clinging for life. The dominant flavor? Black pepper.
I’m bummed. It started with a bushel full of promise. But it is now bleeding out in front of me. Bring in CSI.
There is a new minty version of the blend kicking in. Everything else has gone into hiding.
This is the very thing you gotta look out for when browsing the online stores that specialize in rare cigars. Not many survive the time warp. Like the $100 Davidoff Royal Release from 2016. It tasted like a $2 bundle cigar.
What? There is some improvement prick teasing me. The flavor profile begins to open and release some character sorely lacking.
I’m at the halfway point.
The profile is mainly malt, cloves, black pepper, some creaminess, raisins, and cedar.
There is now a nice finish comprised of creaminess, espresso, raisins, black cherries, and buttered biscuit.
Transitions? Not so much. It is lying there like my first wife on our honeymoon. We screwed like rabbits before we were married. The moment I said, “I do,” she said, “I don’t.” The marriage lasted 11 months. She spent 9 of those months in a mental facility. So far, Charlotte has been immune to the mind-numbing effect I must have on women.
Sweetness returns in the mode of caramel, coffee ice cream, and black cherries.
The cigar begins its overdue redemption as I close in on the last third. Harrumph.
The cigar has, surprisingly, been a quick smoke.
Nicotine ransacks my brain. You’d think that 12 years of solace would mellow the blend out dramatically. Nope. The spiciness is over the top. As other flavors are mild and subdued, the pepper is overwhelming them. Without the spiciness, this might have provided a different experience.
Complexity returns. Transitions are wonky but trying their best.
A couple nights ago, I was working at Prime Cigar when the need for No.1 was in order. There were several patrons sitting and smoking. For the first time in decades, I got my schlong caught in my zipper as I pulled it up. I let out a scream that had customers knocking on the bathroom door asking if I was OK? I squeaked out: “I’m fine…”
I told everyone what I did and there was an explosion of laughter at my expense. I’ve installed baby bumpers on all the zippers on my jeans. Makes me look like I’ve got an out of control boner, so I use duct tape whenever I go out.
I bet this was a great blend in its heyday. But time has been its enemy.
The cigar is continuing to improve as its life begins to disappear into the ether. Figures.
At least, I’m now getting a hint of the magnific-osity of the original blend.
But holy shit…this is one strong cigar. I’m blown away that the strength has maintained its killer instinct all these years.
The Padron is pretty damn good now. Sammy the cat nods in agreement.
My clothes are hanging on me. In 2-1/2 months, I’ve lost 36lbs on the Lakers Diet. A couple more pounds and I’m done. But I don’t know how to go into maintenance mode. Normal food tastes funky. Plus, it feels like I’ve got concrete in my belly. Still, whatever the solution is to modify my diet, I found the first diet that I didn’t have to suffer through for the first time in 20 years.
That baby bump that most middle-aged men get is mostly liver fat from eating the wrong shit forever. It’s the last thing to go for me. My skinny jeans are too big.
The balance of the cigar is now in stasis. Any forward momentum has been dashed to the rocks.
I can’t complain about the construction. The burn has been excellent without a single touch up required.
I had high hopes, but at the same time, some dread that what just happened would take place and disappoint me. I think I will review the Quorum 2nds tomorrow.
Clearly, at one point, the Padron 80 was a mind bender of a cigar. This review will have zero influence on anyone thinking of purchasing this stick. Another job well done by the katman.
And now for something completely different:
The Hal Blaine Chronicles…
Hal was part of the legendary L.A. Wrecking Crew. The most elite group of session musicians in the world. I idolized them. Check out what Wikipedia says about Hal Blaine.
As a teen, I would always read the liner notes on my albums. They always told a wonderful story. Something kids today don’t get to do as you need an electron microscope to read liner notes on a CD.
I would lie on my bed upstairs, smoke a doob, and kick back. If I did it in the evening, and I would come downstairs to grab some chips for the munchies, my mother would always ask what that strange smell was? I told her it was incense. The den was directly below my bedroom which my dad built as an add-on to the house. It was huge and it was all mine.
The albums would always list the musicians that played on the record. That’s how I learned of Hal Blaine (drums), Joe Osborne (bass), and Larry Knechtel (keys).
They played on almost every Top 10 hit of the 1960’s and 70’s. Hal played on over 30,000 recordings and had 6,000 songs in the top 30.
And boy, did he know how to tell a story. He was the Uncle Remus of the music world. He couldn’t talk about his life without dropping 10 famous names in a single paragraph.
And he loved that I found him fascinating so he would tell me stories for hours on his yacht in Marina Del Rey, Ca. He was going through his umpteenth divorce and was relegated to his boat as his temp residence, while the wife took the mansion in Bel Air.
I was regularly invited to lunch on his boat in which a few of his friends would always be there as well. I would drive from Long Beach to Marina Del Rey in my 1981 Datsun station wagon. And parked it as far away from the Bentleys and Ferraris as possible.
I was nervous on my drive from Long Beach to Marina Del Rey. My history with Hal was a broad stroke of meeting some of the most famous people in the music business. Who would I meet this time? And how would I contain the fascination and drool?
I met Hal through my musical partner, Rick Tunstall. We were recording original music at Sunset Gower Studios. Rick had worked for a cartage company and, on a regular basis, would move Hal’s drums and then set them up. Hal never touched a drum case. We spent two weeks with Hal and I was star struck. Later, when I opened my recording studio, I had the cajones to hire him, for almost nothing, to play on my projects…and those of other customers to the studio.
So, who would I meet that day on the boat?
I got there a little before 1:30. Two guests had already arrived. I was thrilled to see my old bass teacher, Carol Kaye. This was the most famous female bassist in the world and part of the L.A. Wrecking Crew. The other guest was a stranger.
I started to introduce myself to Carol, thinking she wouldn’t remember me, and before I could finish, she gave me a big bear hug. I was Fred Selden’s cousin. Fred is one of the most successful session reed players in L.A. He was a savant and doing sessions at age 13 and touring Europe fronting his own jazz band. He, too, played with everyone and besides doing sessions, also composes music for the movies. And it was Fred who made the connection for me to take lessons from Carol back in 1968.
The guy I didn’t recognize was Larry Knechtel…the third player in the Wrecking Crew. He was a keys player and was also a member of the charting rock group, “Bread.” I hated that group. Stupid music.
A few minutes later, the last two guests arrive. They were Neil Diamond and Phil Spector.
Hal had recorded dozens of songs under the production tutelage of Spector. But Spector was known to be a hermit and an odd ball. How Hal got him to remove himself from his Beverly Hills mansion was never explained. And for the most part of the luncheon, he said nary a word.
Hal told me he was once invited to Spector’s home. He was ushered to the huge living room and all the black curtains were closed with one dim light on. Hal sat there for 45 minutes and Spector never said a word. Then out of nowhere, Spector asked, “So what is Sinatra like?” Hal, the great storyteller told him of his impression. Then more silence. Hal had enough and excused himself. Spector never said goodbye.
I had met Diamond once before while visiting Hal. Diamond was a very down to earth fella. And now we had a gaggle of Jews: Hal, Neil, Spector, and me. So, it didn’t surprise me when the catering truck rolled up from Canter’s deli in West L.A. The very famous deli that had been around forever. If you wanted great matzoh ball soup in L.A., you went to Canters.
A huge spread of deli was laid before us. It was Jew heaven.
I did little talking. Although, The Police were very big at that time and I had played in a band with the drummer, Stewart Copeland back in England. So, they found my road stories interesting. But that was all I had to offer. Besides, I was more content to listen to these icons discuss their stories then me telling them how great Sonja was at giving head.
We sat there until dusk, drinking and eating til we all had to unbutton our jeans. Except for Carol. She wore a dress.
Hal told us how he was in Frank Sinatra’s house when Nancy Sinatra and Tommy Sands first met and locked eyeballs. He saw them fall in love with each other right there in front of him.
Neil told a story about him and Elvis. How Elvis had visited Neil’s home and they stayed up all night singing.
Spector continued to seem distant and uninterested.
And on and on it went. I was writing a column for a Long Beach underground newspaper (Uncle Jam) and while I couldn’t take notes, on my return home, I wrote down as much as I could remember. And then turned it into a story for the paper.
Except for Hal, I never saw those people again. I was about to begin my Eddie Munster project and my duties at my recording studio had me working 15-hour days; 7 days a week, or longer…8 days per week. I did manage to get Hal to do several sessions for me. I paid him a paltry $300 in cash each time. What a mensch. He would actually blow off big time sessions to come work for me.
My studio was downtown, and his Bentley parked at the curb got a lot of stares.
My biggest regret is that I never took photos of the incredible people I met through Hal. There is a rule in show biz. If you act like a fan, you will be treated as such. If you act like a peer, you are treated as one. And the latter is what I chose. Pulling out a camera would have doomed me. And embarrassed Hal. He was my hero.
Hal later retired and moved up to Washington State and I lost contact with him. But I have oodles of cassette tapes of him and I playing together. What a joy!
Hal passed at the age of 90 in March of this year.
The Kodak Instamatic photos below show Hal and me at my recording studio. And below that is a photo of drum charts that Hal wrote for some song we recorded.
Categories: CIGAR REVIEWS