Cigar History: Padrón Cigars

Padron Cigar in a box

Padrón Cigars are one of the most desired cigars available. It’s far from uncommon to hear the words: “that was one of the best smokes I’ve ever had” after the last draw of their Padrón Cigar has been taken.

Although smoking is a very personal subject matter, and we all have a very different palate, there has been some debate over whether a Padrón cigar is worth the price – and the answer is almost always yes, yes they are.

If you are looking to add to your growing collection and would like to buy cigars online then we highly recommend you take a look at our impressive selection of cigars. We also offer an array of delicious drinks, such as cognac, whisky and brandy, among many more.

A Padron Cigar with a cigar cutter and lighter on wood chippings

Padrón Cigars

Padrón Cigars were founded by a Cuban by the name of José Orlando Padrón on September the 8th, 1964 in Miami, Florida.

The company is recognised for having an eye for detail and observing the process of each cigar, controlling the entire production from the growing of the tobacco all the way through to the distribution.

Padrón Cigars are recognised as one of the world’s most luxurious cigar brands. Originally only 200 cigars were rolled a day, each costing $62, which is a surprising notion considering Padrón Cigars are one of the most prestigious makers of premium cigars.

They are said to offer such an indulgent experience due to their excellent blend, providing each puff with a balanced, almost earthy flavour such as cedar and coffee.

The Beginning of Padrón Cigars

The story of Padrón Cigars dates back to the mid-1800s. Dámaso Padrón, José Orlando’s grandfather, immigrated from the Canary Islands, off the coast of Spain, and travelled to Cuba. He worked the fields of a tobacco farm in Pinar del Rio.

After a while of settling in and saving up some money, the family were able to buy a small farm. Together, they cultivated tobacco and spent their money on extending their farm, eventually adding a factory to the town of Piloto. Piloto is where the name Piloto Cigars originate, the official name of Padrón Cigars.

José Orlando’s Journey

José Orlando was born in 1926, hence the 1926 line of cigars, and he worked in the family business. By 1961, the family farm was nationalised by the Castro regime. José left Cuba and travelled through Spain and New York, eventually settling in Miami in 1962.

Piloto Cigars were founded in 1964, which is where the line 1964 inherited its name from. On the company’s website, José Orlando shares the story of ‘el martillito’, also known as ‘little hammer’, which explains how Padrón cigars came to be:

“In 1962, I arrived in Miami, an unknown city in a foreign land. I had to start from zero,” José Orlando is quoted as saying “At first, I received $60 monthly, as Government aid given to Cuban refugees. I was 36 years old, strong, and in good health. Every time I cashed that check, I felt like a burden on the country that had taken me in. For many days, I looked for a job and could not find one.”

From this experience, José was ignited with a fierce determination to support his family and use his expertise within the cigar industry to open his own business.

To start his business, he needed a way to earn money, so his friend asked if he had a hand at carpentry, to which José said he did, so his friend gave him a little hammer to put to good use.

This little hammer allowed José to save $600, and with that, Padrón Cigars opened in 1964. The hammer has become an ingrained story that lives within the heart of the company.

Jorge Padrón, the president of Padrón Cigars, explains that “the hammer has a deep and special meaning for the Padrón family,” he later goes on to say that the hammer signifies “tenacity, integrity perseverance, loyalty, commitment to quality, and much more” which are seen throughout the companies skilful eye for detail, resulting in their quality cigars.

A Padron Cigar next to a dram of whisky

The Production of Piloto Cigars

When the company was first founded in 1964, José had only one roller, who produced around 200 cigars a day in Miami. The initial cigars were originally made of a Connecticut Broadleaf tobacco, which was limited in comparison to what José was working within Cuba.

José was contacted by a Nicaraguan tobacco company, and they agreed that José would tour the tobacco fields on Jalapa Valley in Nicaragua. By 1967 the company made use of the Nicaraguan tobacco and incorporated it into their production process, which in turn became so popular it was difficult to meet their customer’s demands.

The Nicaraguan Revolution

In 1970, the company moved to Esteli, Nicaragua, which was currently in the midst of the nascent Sandinista revolution. By 1978, the company had established itself but was burnt down due to the ongoings of the civil war.

Luckily another factory was founded across the border in Honduras. As the revolution unfolded, the socialist Sandinistas party were victorious. Padrón cigars suffered at their expense. Business was interrupted until José Orlando met with the government and was assured that there would be no further interruptions.

US Embargo

The production of Padrón Cigars continued to encounter issues when the US embargo halted the trade of Nicaraguan products in 1985. Within the first five days of the embargo taking effect, José was forced to move production to Honduras, as well as pushing as many of his cigars as possible over to Tampa. The embargo came to an end in 1990 when the Sandinistas lost the elections.

The Padrón Cigar Empire

Between Miami and Esteli, José would move freely between the two. His faith in his tobacco business was firmly rooted within Nicaragua and it was beginning to gain more momentum. He opened another factory in Esteli in 2003, twice the size of its predecessors.

The new factory was the 17th addition to Padrón’s empire in Esteli, which totalled more than 75,000 square feet. It was predominantly dedicated to the storage of around six years of cigar production, or equivalent to more than 25 million cigars.

A cigar being held while smoked

The Quality and Consistency of a Padrón Cigar

Through all of the strife and turmoil that the Padrón Cigar company encountered, José Orlando never once took his eye off his values- or cigars. His fierce determination carried him through many disastrous occasions.

Throughout José’s entire career he has always practised the same quality assurance method for his cured tobacco. He determines it by sticking his face into the leaf and deeply inhaling its fragrance, which has been proven to be an effective method by all of us who adore the luxuriant draw of a Padrón Cigar.

There is no doubt that each and every Padrón cigar has a clear consistency and complexity to it, which is evident in their products being awarded the Cigar of The Year three times by Cigar Aficionado, as well as consistently being rated in the top 25.

Padrón Cigar Lines

Padrón cigars are available in four series and an array of vitolas:

• Padrón
• 1964 Anniversary
• 1926 Series
• Padrón Family Reserve

All but the Padrón cigar line are box-pressed. Occasionally you will encounter one of Padrón’s special made releases that will commemorate a special family date or event.

Most recently, Padrón cigars shared the ‘Dámaso’ line, which is in honour of Dámaso Padrón, the first of the Padrón’s to arrive in Cuba. The limited production cigar is described as round, mild and flavourful.

For more information regarding the rich and illustrious history of cigars, you can find more on our blog, which is filled with helpful advice and fascinating facts!

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