C.Gars Cuban Cigars

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Padron

Padron cigars have a very interesting back story, beginning in the mid 1800s when Damaso Padron immigrated from the Canary Islands to Cuba and worked in the fields of a tobacco farm in Pinar del Rio. After saving enough money, the Padron family were able to purchase a small farm and together they cultivated tobacco, spending whatever money they had on extending the farm to the point where they added a factory to the town of Piloto (The official name of Padron).

Fast forward to 1961 after many years of business, the family farm was nationalised by the Castro regime so José (Damasos grandchild born in 1926) left Cuba and travelled through Spain and New York before settling in Miami in 1962. When he first arrived in Miami he started from scratch, he received $60 a month from the government which was given to Cuban refugees but he felt like a burden, after all he was a 36 year old man who was strong and in good health. All José wanted to do was support his family and use his expertise from the cigar industry to open his own business, but he needed a way to earn money first. A friend asked José if he could do carpentry to which he said yes, so his friend gave him a little hammer to put to good use. It was this little hammer that allowed José to save $600 to open Piloto cigars in 1964. 

When the company was first founded in 1964, José only had one roller, who was able to produce around 200 cigars a day. These cigars were originally made of a Connecticut Broadleaf tobacco, which was limited in comparison to what José was used to in Cuba.

José was contacted by a Nicaraguan tobacco company to tour the tobacco fields in the Jalapa Valley in Nicaragua. He was so impressed with what he saw that by 1967 the company incorporated it into their production process, which in turn made Padron incredibly popular to the point that they couldn’t keep up with demand.

However in 1970 the company moved to Esteli, Nicaragua which was in the midst of the Scandinista revolution and by 1978 the factory was burned down due to the civil war. Due to the revolution Padron cigars suffered and business was interrupted until José met with the government and was assured that there would be no further interruptions. Not long after in 1985 there was another interruption with the US embargo which halted the trade of Nicaraguan products in 1985. Within the first five days of the embargo, José was forced to move production to Honduras, as well as pushing as many of his cigars as possible to Tampa. The embargo came to an end in 1990 when the Sandinistas lost the elections.

Now Padron has 17 factories with the latest opening in 2003 which is more than 75,000 square feet and is mainly used for storage of around 6 years of cigar production or the equivalent to more than 25 million cigars.

Throughout all of the difficulties that Padron has encountered, José never once took his eye off his values. His determination and passion carried him through many disastrous occasions. During all of these setbacks José still practised the same quality assurance method for his tobacco, he put his face into the leaf and deeply inhales the fragrance to determine if it is a quality batch - this has proved effective as Padron cigars have been awarded Cigar of the Year three times by Cigar Aficionado as well as consistently being in the top 25.

Padron have four series with a vast array of vitolas which means they more than likely have a cigar for you. The 1926 series celebrates the birth of José Orlando - the refined tobacco is aged five years then blended to create an exceptionally smooth, complex, balanced & full bodied flavour. The 1964 anniversary series was created to celebrate the beginning of Piloto cigars, these cigars are hand crafted in Nicaragua, using premium long filler which are cured, aged and blended with vintage leaves of sun grown tobacco. The Damaso range is dedicated to the man who started it all, they are mild, flavorful, hand crafted and limited production and is made with an Ecuadorian Connecticut wrapper. The Family Reserve is Available in both sun-grown natural and maduro wrapper, the tobacco is aged ten years, then blended to create an exceptionally smooth, complex, balanced and full-bodied flavour.

Click here to view the Padron range

Written by Oliver Partington

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