Cigar Snapshot Episode 23 Padilla Studio Tobac Special Edition Figurado Size: 6 x 60 (Figurado) Wrapper: Ecuador Habano Binder: Nicaragua Filler: Nicaragua About: This cigar was created as a result of a collaboration between Ernesto Padilla and the Oliva Cigar Company. This joint limited-production cigar was blended with input from both Padilla and Studio Tobac, rolled by the Oliva Cigar Company and distributed by Ernesto Padilla. The production run was limited to 1,000 boxes of 10, and they retail for $14.00 per cigar. Prelight: The cigar was a beautifully constructed figurado, obviously crafted by a skilled torcedor. The wrapper was a medium-dark brown, and was quite toothy - to the point that I detected a noticeable texture as I handled the cigar. There was a visible oily sheen to the wrapper, and the cigar did not have any major defects or veins. AROMA: There was a distinct barnyard component that dominated the prelight aroma, that was backup with some pleasant straight-tobacco notes. The aroma at the foot is that same, just a bit more concentrated. TASTE: There was a bitter front end to the prelight taste, along with a fennel/licorice like hint that was present in the finish. 1/3: The nipple at the foot of the cigar lit easily, and I was immediately hit with a robust pepper-like spice. This spice was in the mouthfeel, but did not linger on my palate or in the finish. There was also a peculiar astringent-like quality at the top of my palate and in the retrohale. The finish was short and dry, and dominated by a green nuttiness. The draw was a touch problematic at this point. It felt as though I was not getting draw through the whole diameter of the cut at the head, but rather through a much smaller point. There was still sufficient air movement to keep the cigar going, though I had to work at it a bit to get any kind of smoke production. About halfway through the first third, a tunnel started, which I had expected to see based upon my experience with the cigar up to that point. I decided to try and salvage the cigar the best that I could so that I could continue to smoke it. 2/3: A definite sweetness emerged on the wrapper, and was a nice counterpoint to the full body of the cigar that was continuing to develop. The smoke production improved a little but, the tunnel remained and actually started to worsen. The finish of the cigar started to exhibit sweetness, along with notes of dry hay. The strength and flavor of the ligero tobacco began to emerge, and gave the flavor profile a slight bitter edge. It was hard to evaluate the ash because the tunnel cased an uneven burn, and when I ashed the cigar there was a very solid chunk that remained on the cigar, which is a typical occurrence when a cigar is tunneling. 3/3: The flavors continued to intensify as the cigar moved into the final third, as did both the overall body and strength. The peppery spice became a little bit deeper and enveloped my entire palate as the final third progressed. The tunnel and resulting burn issue seemed to finally be corrected by the middle of the final third. I smoked the cigar down to about the last inch before putting it down. Overall: Overall, I think that kudos should go to Ernesto Padilla for his participation with the blend on this cigar. Though I think that the cigar could have used some more time to sit so that the flavors could marry and mature a bit, I specifically thought that the combination of strength and sweetness was nice. Unfortunately, I cannot say the same thing about the Oliva Cigar Company's contribution to the cigar. In the case of the cigar that I sampled, I certainly was wrong in judging a book by its cover. Though the cigar appeared to be well-constructed, the unfortunate construction error prevented me from being able to enjoy this cigar to the fullest extent. I can't help but think that if this cigar was decently-constructed, that the flavors I experienced would have been better-balanced and the cigar would have been much more enjoyable. Now I know that you are probably thinking that I should give this cigar another chance. Well, I must admit that my opinion on the issue has been influenced by construction issues I have had with other Oliva products - most recently a box of 2011 V Maduros that were essentially tent pegs. So here is my quandary... if I am only based this decision on the Padilla blending, I probably would. However, since I paid $13.60 for this sample, I don't think that I can justify spending another $13.60 on what in my mind is a game of construction Russian Roulette. .