Ernesto Padilla was born to Heberto Padilla, a Cuban writer and poet, and his wife, the artist and poet Belkis Cuza Malé. Heberto Padilla was out of favor with the government of Fidel Castro at the time of Ernesto’s birth, and the family was living under house arrest in an apartment in the Marianao neighborhood of Havana. In 1979, Padilla and his mother were allowed to leave Cuba for the United States. His father, Heberto, was not allowed to leave Cuba until 1980. They initially settled in Miami, Florida, but later moved to Princeton, New Jersey.
After completing his schooling, Ernesto began working in advertising, working on various major accounts. He moved to Miami to take a job with Tabacalera Perdomo, where he was involved in marketing and product development. He himself had not been involved in the cigar and tobacco industry prior to his work at Perdomo, but he comes from a family that had been deeply involved in tobacco in Cuba. His great-grandparents had owned a tobacco plantation in the Pinar del Río region of Cuba, and his father had grown up on it.
On 24 April 2003, Ernesto and his brother Carlos incorporated as Padilla Cigar Company, and embarked on a new career as cigar makers. In the case of Padilla Cigars, they have chosen to concentrate on using very rare and limited Cuban-seed first generation tobaccos in almost all their blends, production numbers are therefore also naturally limited.
In 2008, Padilla opened up his own 2,000-square-foot (190 m) manufacturing facility in the Little Havana section of Miami, Florida, to which production of Padilla’s “Miami”, “Signature 1932”, and “1948” cigars was shifted. Production of other Padilla-branded products continued under the auspices of other cigar makers, with the “Serie 1968” made in Honduras by Tabacalera Aguilar and the “Padilla Habano” made in Nicaragua by A.J. Fernandez.
In May 2012, Ernesto Padilla announced a major change in the Padilla lineup. Four of Padilla’s flagship products were to be discontinued, including the Signature 1932, Miami, Dominus, and the newly introduced Artemis, with these to be replaced by new Miami-made lines called Invictitus and Miami Maduro, as well as Nicaraguan-made lines to be known as Padilla Reserve and Premier Cru. The small El Titán de Bronze factory owned by Sandra Cobras was named as the maker of Padilla’s Miami-based production, while a move was made from the Tabacalera Tropical factory to the TABOLISA facility in Estelí for manufacture of the company’s new Nicaraguan line. The TABOLISA factory is the same used by Oliva Cigar Company for the manufacture of its products.
The cigar has a smooth, dark, oily and hearty wrapper that has a slightly sweet cedar aroma on the pre-light nose. It is firm to the touch with soft sweet floral tones.
1st quarter: An effortless draw produced a lot of dense smoke. Big flavors and aroma with hints of creamy, spicy smoke began to develop. The cigar was very rich with smells that are consistent and very alluring. 2nd quarter: A rich flavor profile hit the palate and intensified as the cigar is smoked. Some earthy spiciness with a hint of cocoa in the aroma came into play. While it had a tight draw, it loosened up very well. 3rd quarter: Woody texture with earthy spiciness maintained a slow burn that produced a light gray flaky ash. With the spiciness developed, there was an underlying sweetness to complement the wood texture. 4th quarter: Full flavored spices blossomed and came through to the nose. Dense smoke with heavy earth and spicy notes was present. This cigar left a lasting impression with a long and full finish.
The Padilla San Andreas has excellent construction that offers an even burn. A mouth full of spice, wood and cocoa lingered on the palate throughout the cigar. It is a medium-body overall with a lot of full flavor and a rich, incredible aroma that makes this cigar stand out..
Myron Gooch Sr.
Time Smoked: 1 hour 50 minutes.
Wrapper: San Andres Maduro.
Size: 5” x 54.