After a string of high-profile hits like the Miami and the Signature 1932, Ernesto Padilla released the Cazadores line, a lower-priced handmade offering that promised to uphold the quality standards of Padilla’s pricier sticks. The Cazadores, a blend of aged Nicaraguan filler tobaccos topped off with a slick Ecuadorian Habano wrapper, made their debut in 2009, a year that was flooded with high-end manufacturers putting out value-priced cigars to varying degrees of success. Today I decided to take the Padilla Cazadores Toro (6×50) out for a walk, and see just how much “value” this stogie really held.
My initial impression of the cigar was that it had a great look to it, and, like most Padilla sticks, a really snazzy band. The smooth, dark brown Habano wrapper had just a slight oily sheen, and a slightly sweet smell to it. The construction appeared to be solid, and pre-light draws gave off notes of coffee and a vague spice taste. It was officially time for the torch.
In the first 3rd of the cigar I was almost taken aback by how easy and open the draw was. Thick plumes of creamy smoke literally poured out of this thing, right from the first puff. The taste was predominantly faraway spice and espresso, with just a bit of sweet cedar on the finish. Despite the extremely generous draw, the cigar maintained a nice, medium-paced straight burn and produced a firm-yet-fluffy grey ash.
As I burned into the 2nd third, the flavors transitioned into a creamy and bready profile, with a nice mellow spice throughout, and a touch of anise on the finish. The spice note here was particularly interesting, like a savory mix of black and white pepper. By this point the burn had gone just slightly astray, but fixed itself quickly. The smoke continued to be silky-smooth, and the draw remained completely effortless.
During its final portion this stogie saw yet more flavor progression, with the smoke taking on a more robust taste of leather and cedar, and also a pronounced cream note. In addition to this, I was picking up a mellow caramel sweetness, along with the tasty spice note that had been building. The culmination of these flavors was quite enjoyable, and the stick burned picture-perfect until the end.
The flavor progressions of the Padilla Cazadores were subtle at first, but became more complex as the smoke went on. In fact, by the time I had reached the last third of the cigar, I was shocked at how complex it had been. This stogie really had a lot going on for less than $5 a stick. Performance-wise, the Cazadores was outstanding. It had one of the easiest draws I had ever experienced, and required no touch-ups at all. All in all, I can honestly say this cigar is close to unbeatable in its price range, and it deserves every bit of the A grade I’m giving it. I’ve smoked a lot of cigars, and this one definitely had the all markings of a stick that could easily sell for $10. Any smoker on a budget should look these up, and after you try one you may even want to send Ernesto Padilla a “thank-you’ note, because he definitely just hooked you up.