Unless you’ve been asleep at the wheel the past month or two, you know that SCHIP is right around the corner. This bill is placing a heavy tax on all cigars, and will result in higher prices starting 4/1. Some manufacturers are using this tax as a vehicle to introduce price increases that, in some cases, go above and beyond the level of the tax. In several cases, manufacturers have instituted multiple price increases on the same cigar, capitalizing even further. On top of this, some cigars are already quite expensive, and any new increases (whether it be additional costs or taxes) could possibly put them out of reach for the working man. In an effort to provide you with optimum value, I will be matching up two cigars each week. One expensive cigar and one lesser-expensive option, comparing them based on flavor, satisfaction, construction, and price.
Volume 3 – Padron Maduro and Perdomo Tierra del Sol Maduro
Padron is a darling among cigar enthusiasts, and comes highly decorated with countless top ratings and cigar honors from select publications. It’s handmade in Nicaragua and commonly considered to be a cigar for which other handmades are judged. Tierra del Sol is also made in Nicaragua, but represents a value-priced brand that caters to the working man. A flavorful blend from Tabacalera Perdomo that has been a fan favorite among our catalog, retail store, and online buyers for nearly a decade. Oohhh....an epic battle of the Nicaraguan puros!
Since I am a maduro freak, I will be looking at the maduro variety of each. Let’s discuss the cigars....
Padron – A well-known Nicaraguan available in two varieties: natural and maduro. Its fillers are comprised of Cuban-seed Nicaraguan tobaccos aged for a minimum of 2½ years. The cigars are nicely rolled and finished in box-pressed format. Oily to the touch with a thick maduro leaf.
Perdomo Tierra del Sol Maduro – Produced by Nick Perdomo in Nicaragua. Tierra del Sol consists of Cuban-seed long-fillers grown throughout Nicaragua, inside either a Nicaraguan sun-grown (natural) wrapper or a Nicaraguan broadleaf maduro. These cigars are also rolled well and finished with a sharp box-press frame. Also oily, with a marbleized wrapper.
Honestly....remove the bands and the average Joe will surely have a helluva time telling them apart. Now let’s see how they compare in terms of flavor and quality....
Padron – I chose the #5000 Maduro, a chunky toro-sized vitola. The cigar draws nicely from the start and produces a pleasant, toasty aroma. Off the bat, the cigar is enjoyable. Deep in rich, coffee-like nuances with a smooth finish. Roughly 10 minutes passed and I noticed a change. The cigar began to lose its character. The coffee was gone and the richness was fading. Tobacco flavors became dominant. On the bright side, the aroma remained toasty and pleasant. Unfortunately, that’s about it until the end. I know I will take a lot of heat for this, but Padron just didn’t deliver beyond the first inch or so. I gotta be honest, I was disappointed.
Perdomo Tierra del Sol Maduro – To keep things as equal as possible, I went with the Toro Maduro in this blend, a comparable size weighing in at 6.5”x54. It draws well upon first light, with just a touch of effort required. The cigar opened with a rich tobacco flavor complemented with a toasty, charcoal-like aroma. After the initial blast of rich tobacco mellows, a creaminess coated my palate, influenced by a touch of black coffee. The cigar was mellow, more so than the Padron, but contained a cedary-sweetness that hit the front of my palate on the finish every now and then. I wouldn’t call this a complex cigar, as there are no drastic twists and turns, but it’s certainly tasty from start to finish with enough going on to keep me interested beyond the final inch.
Without considering price, I can easily say the Tierra del Sol has Padron beat. Again, I know I will take a lot of heat for this, as I know folks are passionate about Padron and willing to walk over their fellow man to purchase just one. Me, I enjoy the cigar and not the band, and the Tierra del Sol delivers what the Padron does not: a constant, flavorful smoke from foot to nub that’s both satisfying and mellow enough to enjoy all the time. Tierra del Sol, 88. Padron, 86.
Padron isn’t the most expensive cigar by any means, as the #5000 Maduro sells for about $5.45 per cigar after we apply our characteristic discount skeelz. This price is likely to go up – how high? We just don’t know yet. Price is not the only consideration here. Availability also comes into play. Padron is often out of stock or hard to find in brick and mortars due to low inventory levels and modest allocations. On the other hand, the Tierra del Sol Toro Maduro has already received a slight SCHIP price increase and still only sells for $1.99 a stick. Better still, being a stud in our sales department, Nick ensures we have a constant supply to keep up with demand.
That said, my ratings for these two Nicaraguan puros must be adjusted, and Perdomo Tierra del Sol wins comfortably. Flame on, Padron lovers!
Padron Maduro: 93
Perdomo Tierra del Sol Maduro: 89