Review: Padrón W. Curtis Draper 125th Anniversary Maduro
It took nearly one year from announcement to arrival, but in mid-January, W. Curtis Draper in Washington, DC finally took receipt of the final cigars for its 125th Anniversary Series, courtesy of Padrón. Its arrival follows the 2012 appearances of the Cabaiguan WCD 120 REDUX, a small batch of the original La Aurora 100 Años and the Arturo Fuente W. Curtis Draper 125, a modified Don Carlos Senior Blend.
Like the Fuente, this is a modified blend, albeit of the Padrón 1964 Anniversary. What was tweaked? No one is saying, again much like the Fuente release. What has been tweaked is the shape: this is the first round cigar in the Padrón 1964 Anniversary series as the rest of the line is box-pressed.
Staying in line with the rest of the series, this is a limited release with just 200 boxes of 10 cigars produced, evenly divided with 100 boxes of Maduro and 100 boxes of Natural. The boxes look like this:
And the Maduro and Natural versions look like this side-by-side:
As you’ll see, there’s no distinctive markings indicating this as a special release for W. Curtis Draper, something that all three of the previous releases had.
As noted in the story announcing the arrival of the cigar, this is the fourth Padrón single store release in as many years. Last year, British retailer J.J. Fox received a special Padrón for its 225th anniversary. The year prior, Smoke Inn of Florida received a special Padrón for its 15th year of business and Boston-based L. J. Peretti received a Padrón for its 140th anniversary in late 2010. Several other established retailers have commissioned special Padróns including Holt’s of Philadelphia for its 110th anniversary, New York City-based Arnold’s 95th anniversary and Old Virginia Tobacco Company’s 35th anniversary.
Now that we’ve got that out of the way, let’s light this stick up.
Cigar Reviewed: Padrón W. Curtis Draper 125th Anniversary Maduro
Country of Origin: Nicaragua
Factory: Tabacos Cubanica S.A.
Size: 6 Inches
Ring Gauge: 46
Vitola: Corona Gorda
MSRP: $15.25 (Boxes of 10, $135.00)*
Date Released: January 18, 2013
Number of Cigars Released: 100 Boxes of 10 (1,000 Total Cigars)**
Number of Cigars Smoked For Review: 3
*Pricing depends on which location you buy the cigars from, as taxes differ between Maryland and the District of Columbia.
*Both the Natural and Maduro versions each had 100 boxes of 10 cigars made, for a total run of 2,000 cigars.
The wrapper is textured and toothy with that rustic shade of brown that Padrón has become known for. There are some small veins and a few bumps underneath the wrapper keep it from being perfectly smooth. The pre-light aroma is sweet, smoky and spicy, making me think of both aromatic, floral coffee and a saucy rub for a piece of meat that’s headed to the smoker for a couple of hours. The cold draw has none of the spice that the nose picked up but retains the other flavors with the air feeling like it is just gliding through the cigar. It’s not too tight or too loose – it’s pretty darn near perfect.
The Padrón W. Curtis Draper 125th Anniversary Maduro starts off surprisingly earthy before bringing in a chalk note before the burn line has traversed even an inch, while any sweetness seems relegated to the nose at this point. One thing that quickly becomes apparent is that the ash doesn’t hold on terribly long, half an inch is about all it could hold on for. With the first clump fallen, the flavors turn both sweet and earthy, an interesting combination that delivers both strength and body along with some respite in the form of a thick grape jam flavor. If the first third is any indication, this is going to be a rich and flavorful cigar.
Flavors mellow just a bit at the start of the second third, but the Padrón W. Curtis Draper 125th Anniversary Maduro still puts off quite an enjoyable aroma from the smoke, fairly sweet with just a touch of burning tobacco underneath. An earthy flavor is the first to come back into the equation, delivering some strength to the back of the palate and throat. The retrohale continues to be fairly peppery, so much so that it’s hard to truly enjoy. By the midpoint, the texture of the smoke has lightened up a bit and now shows a leading chalk note with the robust, earthy note being picked up more by the nose. It’s not long before the flavor and texture of the smoke start building back up to a medium-full level, and the cigar readies itself for what should be a strong closing third.
The final third of the Padrón W. Curtis Draper 125th Anniversary Maduro sees a decided shift to a drier, more clay-like note that has remnants of both the earth and sweetness found earlier, but pushed largely to the background of the overall flavor picture. The nose gets hit with a good bit of dry pepper as the cigar seems to alternate between really stimulating my senses of taste and smell. The finish starts with a jelly-on-toast rich sweetness that quickly shifts to a peppery, earthy robust flavor that takes the cigar down to its completion.
- It’s almost odd how well the air moves through this cigar – if I were to ever use the term well-lubricated in a cigar review, this would be the situation.
- The ash on the Padrón W. Curtis Draper 125th Anniversary Maduro is weak, to put it lightly. It hardly makes it to three-quarters of an inch before dropping off.
- While I haven’t seen the boxes in person, there doesn’t seem to be any distinctive marking indicating this is a special cigar, and there certainly isn’t any on the band. If I were doing a special release, I’d insist on there being something to indicate as such; otherwise this looks like a regular production cigar.
- All of the cigars made for W. Curtis Draper’s 125th Anniversary have been 50 ring gauge or under. The Cabaiguan WCD 120 Redux was a 42 ring gauge, the La Aurora 100 Años was a 50, the Fuente was a 48 and this is a 46. In an era rampant with big ring gauge cigars, it is refreshing to see an entire series comprised of smaller ring gauges.
- Because of tax differences between the District of Columbia and the state of Maryland, the price for this cigar is different at W. Curtis Draper’s two stores. Washington, D.C.’s cigar tax is 12% of gross receipts, while Maryland’s is 15% of the wholesale price.
- The total production for this cigar ties the Fuente for the smallest of the four releases. Both the Cabaiguan WCD 120 REDUX and La Aurora 100 Anos had 3,250 total cigars made, while Fuente and Padrón made just 2,000.
- It’s a toss-up as to which of the two wrappers I prefer, as they offer a fairly different flavor profile. The Maduro dives into a deeper, richer flavor profile, though it could go too far for some, while the Natural version is a bit lighter, still with some of the aromatic sweetness but with flavors that fall in the middle of the spectrum, led by wood and a lighter coffee note. I wouldn’t turn down either one.
- The owners of W. Curtis Draper recently opened Civil Cigar Lounge.
- Final smoking time is about one hour and 45 minutes.
The Bottom Line: If you like the Padrón 1964 Anniversary series, you’re pretty much guaranteed to like this cigar. The tweak to the blend remains the interesting piece to figure out, as the Padrón W. Curtis Draper 125th Anniversary Maduro seems to be just a bit more intense than the rest of the line, and is certainly more intense than the Natural version, which seems to be a bit more in line with the rest of the Natural offerings. Given how close this is in size to the 6 1/2 x 46 Monarca vitola that’s a regular production offering, it’s hard to say that you need to run out and buy this for its unique vitola and subsequent flavor, and that’s before taking the slightly higher price into account. It’s still a darn good cigar and makes for a great wrap-up to W. Curtis Draper’s 125th Anniversary Series, though it lacks the true uniqueness and distinctiveness found in some of the previous offerings.
Final Score: 89
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