When a company that is typically known for making expensive premiums announces that they’re coming out with an affordable stogie, my expectations are often low. I just think of the half-assed, ammonia-smelling, shoddily-constructed, mixed-filler junk that I’ve often been faced with in the past. That’s why I was a little bit suspicious when I heard about the new Padilla La Terraza line. But when I did some research on the blend and read a few reviews, I realized it actually might be worth checking out. And believe me, it was.
Today I had the pleasure of smoking the Padilla La Terraza Robusto Maduro, which is made with a Nicaraguan binder and (long-) filler blend and topped off with a nearly-black Nicaraguan maduro wrapper. The first thing that struck me about this stogie was the construction; it was flawless. The leaves were firmly (but not too firmly) packed from head to foot, the cap was expertly applied, and the wrapper had no cracks, creases, or major veins. This outer leaf was dark brown with some black and reddish accents, and had a bit of oily sheen to it.
Once I clipped the cap, the pre-light draw was generous, but not airy. I got some flavors of cocoa, pepper, hay, and a very distinguishable graham cracker note. This surprisingly rich pre-light profile made me anxious to get the thing lit, so I began attacking it with my cheapo single torch. After lighting almost immediately, the stogie billowed flavors of cocoa, black pepper, and very bold leather.
Further in, the smoke sweetened up a bit, honing in on that cocoa note. This, along with the underlying leather and a little bit of bread, rounded out the smoke. The pepper began creeping up at the halfway point, but didn’t ever get past medium strength. Around this time, I always like to perform the “squeeze test” to see how much the heat of the cherry softens the rest of the stick—to my surprise, it was still totally firm.
As I burned into the final third of the smoke, the chocolate note evolved into a boozy, cocoa liqueur flavor. The aftertaste was mellow with sweet chocolate flavors, along with some gentle floral undertones that I really had to wait for. This isn’t a cigar you want to rapidly puff away at; there’s a lot you could miss by doing that. I tried to tap the ash, which was about as long as the remainder of the cigar, and it didn’t fall off. The previous ash (there were only two throughout the entire smoke) was about two inches long and totally solid. I have to stress that the construction of this cigar ranks it among the best I’ve ever seen, especially for $3 and change per stick.
As far as “budget” stogies go, the Padilla La Terraza line appears to be at the top of the heap, judging from this stick. I’m looking forward to smoking its Habano-wrapped counterpart, because even if it’s only half as good as the maduro version, it’ll still be well worth the price. I should know better by now than to judge a cigar by its price tag, but here I am again, eating my words. My hat goes off to Padilla for this understated yet supremely tasty smoke.