Wrapper Wars: Padron Cigars Family Reserve No. 95

Padron Cigars are one of the biggest names in the cigar industry. They have a storied history with a lot to unpack, so I won’t go into all of that here. I recommend visiting their website to learn about this iconic company. As with most Padron releases, they are named in honor of a special anniversary. The Family Reserve No. 95 honors the 95th anniversary of Jose Orlando Padron’s, the founder of Padron Cigars, birth. This release was probably one of the most intriguing releases to me, and one of the few I knew I would undoubtedly purchase. I mention that because a word that is synonymous with Padron Cigars (excluding the Thousand series) is “expensive”. Quite frankly, though I usually enjoy cigars in the “Super Premium” category, I am often left with buyer’s remorse because there are so many good cigars in the $8-$12 range that anything above $16ish is a stretch for me. 

Anyhow, what intrigued me about the Family Reserve No. 95 was the fact that it was a 60 ring gauge, non-boxed pressed cigar. Color me intrigued to see a round cigar bearing the Padron name (negating the Damaso, which I tend to ignore anyhow). These are also the first 60 ring gauge Padrons I have smoked. I know they offer 60 ring gauge cigars in their other lines, however, a round 60 ring cigar is a different monster, in my opinion, than a box pressed one. As for the two options in the Family Reserve No. 95, you have the choice between the Natural and the Maduro, which is standard practice from the company. I figured “why not smoke both and compare?”, hence the name “Wrapper Wars”. Padron’s cigars are perfect for this type of comparison, as the blend is the same, which is not always the case with cigars bearing the same name, but different wrappers.

Country of Origin: Nicaragua

Factory: Tabacos Cubanica S.A.

Wrapper: Nicaragua VS Nicaragua Maduro

Binder: Nicaragua

Filler: Nicaragua

Vitola: 4 ¾ x 60 Petit Gordo (No. 95)

Price: $29.50 MSRP

Release Date: March 2022

Company Website: www.padron.com 


I expect a lot of flavor and body with creeping strength in both of these. I look for flavors of rich earth, pepper, leather, coffee, and sweetness. For the Natural I look for citrus, and for the Maduro I expect some dark fruit and cocoa. Both of these cigars should have perfect performance. I do expect them to burn fairly quickly, as I usually find Padron cigars have open draws and typically with this I end up having a faster burn time.

Prelight Characteristics

The presentation of Padron Cigars are always simple, yet elegant, and the wrappers and rolls are also simple and not necessarily pretty. It is interesting when considering these are “Super Premium” cigars. It goes to show that Padron puts most of the money into the tobacco as opposed to the packaging. 

Natural - The medium brown wrapper has some discoloration, veins, and rustic seams. The cigar is pretty firm and heavy. It smells of sweet tobacco, berries, and bread. The cold draw is like a berry freeze pop with plenty of pepper flavor and heat on the finish. 

Maduro - The wrapper leaf is very dark and toothy. The cigar is quite firm and dense. It also smells of sweet tobacco, but a bit stingier, like Copenhagen Snuff. It’s also a bit perfumey and soapy. The cold draw is earthy and has a bit of a chocolate fudge note, along with plenty of pepper flavor and heat in the finish as well.  

First Third

Natural - It’s a bit hard to get lit, but when I do it’s medium bodied smoke with full flavors of toasted bread, nuts, coffee, and slightly tannic wood. The draw is quite loose. The retrohale is bitey upfront with pepper, but is quickly followed with tons of citrus and vanilla. About an inch in the draw has snugged up a bit and the smoke has become fuller in body, but has become medium in flavor. The draw has turned more earthy with some cocoa and coffee. The retrohale still has pepper, citrus, and vanilla in spades. The first third ends with the no flavors updates. The performance has been great. 

Flavor - 3.5/5

Performance - 4.5/5

Experience - 3.5/5

Maduro - First light is full bodied smoke with full flavors that are very toasty up front before giving way to earth, leather, and pepper. The leather is pretty creamy. There’s a bit of mustiness in there as well. About a half inch in there is a bit of meatiness joining the draw, along with some molasses in the finish. The retrohale is very sweet, but has some stingy pepper to it. The retrohale adds a nice nuttiness to the finish. The first third comes to an end with perfect performance and full flavors of creamy leather, toast, earth, and pepper.

Flavor - 3/5

Performance - 5/5

Experience - 3/5

Second Third

Natural - Quickly into the second third the flavor is back to full with more toasted bread, coffee, and slightly tannic wood.  Hitting the halfway point coffee is the primary note. It’s an earthy, nutty coffee. There’s also some cane sugar sweetness and wood in the finish. The end of the second third requires a slight touch up to the burn line. 

Flavor - 3.75/5

Performance - 4/5

Experience - 3.5/5

Maduro - The second third is rolling along much of the same with the addition of a dark fruit sweetness on the draw. The retrohale is still a bit bitey but has brought in some citrus tang. At halfway the performance has remained perfect, with the ash just dropping. The flavor has come down to medium and is still relatively the same. The retrohale has eased up on the stinging pepper and is showing some subtle baking spice. 

Flavor - 3/5

Performance - 5/5

Experience - 2.75/5

Final Third

Natural- The final third is a bit more wood forward and is starting to show some baking spices. The strength is building a bit and has hit medium. There’s a bit of cream present as well.  Hitting the band the tannins are really picking up a lot, however, they backed off quickly, which was nice. The draw and retrohale are full of pepper and earth. Coming to an end at an hour and 40 minutes there’s not much to report. The flavors are relatively unchanged and the performance was great throughout this third. 

Flavor - 2.5/5

Performance - 5/5

Experience - 3/5

Maduro - Nearing the band the profile remains earthy with some leather, pepper, and dark fruit sweetness. The finish is showing some citrus and baking spice. Into the band point the flavor is back up to full and there’s a saltiness in the profile. Approaching the end, the cigar has become primarily pepper, earth, and wood. Ending at an hour and 54 minutes there are no flavor changes to report. The performance was flawless throughout and surprisingly no strength made its presence known. 

Flavor - 2.5/5

Performance - 5/5

Experience - 2.5/5


Overall Experience

Natural - I thought this was a good cigar. There were quite a few transitions throughout the smoking experience. The major flavor components were toasted bread, coffee, earth, pepper, and wood, but there were always underlying flavors of nuts, cream, cane sugar and baking spices that made for a complex profile. I also really enjoyed when the retrohale showed a lot of citrus and vanilla. Is this cigar worth the price tag? Probably not, but I would smoke this cigar again if I managed to get a bit of a deal on it. 

Overall - 7.39/10

Maduro - I thought the Maduro was a solid cigar with plenty of flavor, though the flavors were more straightforward and consistent than the natural. The moments of creamy leather, citrus, and dark fruit sweetness were nice additions to the overall earthy and peppery profile. The performance was flawless throughout the lengthy smoke time, which made for an easy going experience. For me, if I was going to purchase more Family Reserve No. 95s, I would go Natural. I think it offered a bit more complexity that made for a more unique experience.

Overall - 7.06/10

Feel free to reach out to me with questions, concerns, criticisms, or just to talk at @guitarsandcigarsfarm on Instagram, or visit my website www.guitarsandcigarsfarm.com

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