November of last year Ernesto Padilla contact me out of the blue and told me about some cigars he was working on for 2011. He seemed pretty excited about the Artemis, and discussed it at length. Before we finished emailing he mentioned in passing another, budget-friendly line called La Terraza. Which, as it turns out, is the first of the two to hit cigar shop shelves. Here’s what he said about it then:
“I have a new brand coming out called Padilla La Terazza it comes in a maduro and habano wrapper with all Nicaraguan fillers. It will be 20 count boxes. Retailing for $5 dollars a stick.
The Padilla La Terazza is named after one of the most famous fishing villages in Cuba, Cojimar. That[‘s] where Ernest Hemingway a friend of our father kept his boat. La Terazza is a famous bar and restaurant in town where the fisherman and locals would gather after their catch of the day.”
Ernesto was true to his word, the La Terraza was released in both natural and maduro wrappers, and is actually slightly cheaper than he expected. The maduro robustos I purchased for this review cost $4.45, and that includes Georgia’s 23% tobacco tax. You’ll find the La Terraza in boxes of 20, in most of the familiar sizes: Robusto (5 x 54), Toro (6 x 52), Torpedo (6 1/4 x 52), Toro Gordo (6 x 60) and Churchill (7 x 50).
I selected the maduro to review this week in part because it’s such a striking looking cigar, and because it was available in enough quantity for a proper review. I just hope it’s striking on the palate as it is to the eyes. Let’s find out.
Size: 5 x 54
Smoking Time: 1 1/2 hours
Source: Purchased by reviewer
That’s one dark wrapper on the La Terraza Maduro. “Maduro” just doesn’t do it justice, it’s as black as a darkroom at midnight. And oily too. If it weren’t for the oscuro tone, you could probably see your reflection in that sheen. Focusing on those factors, I almost missed the crack in the foot of one cigar, and the unusual lighter brown splotching near the cap on several sticks. (Which did make me say “hmmm…” whilst stroking my goatee thoughtfully.) Also easy to overlook were the veins. There were plenty of them, but they were pretty fine, and hard to see through the glare.
The wrapper was also pretty striking to the nose. In short, it had more funk than Parliament. The unusually pungent aroma was like a combination of compost and barbecue sauce. Fortunately the cold draw was a less unsettling sweet chocolate and raisin flavor.
There was some irregularity in the draw from cigar to cigar, with half of the sticks noticeably firmer than the rest. All of them perfectly smoke-able, but worth noting, as it did seem to have an impact on the flavor profile. Aside from that, and a some minor wrapper cracking, the La Terraza performed well. Long solid ashes, mostly even burn lines and decent smoke volume.
A pronounced, rich leather was the first flavor I encountered in the La Terraza Maduro. Variations in the draw firmness made the most significant impact on this third, with looser sticks tending to be a little sweeter and more peppery. But generally, this portion was a transition from the initial leather to chocolate with a raisin-like sweetness and little espresso.
In the second third, a savory, smoky quality appeared. A growing charred wood, chocolate and pepper kept things moving along with leather playing a faint supporting role.
By the time the final third started to burn, the wood and pepper had taken over the profile, with chocolate popping up occasionally just to make sure you weren’t missing it. Nearing the end, there was return of the espresso I noted earlier.
Padilla priced it perfectly.
Ernesto got it right when he tweeted that this is an “everyday value smoke”, though he probably should have tacked “good” onto that statement. The La Terraza Maduro oozed with straightforward but enjoyable flavors, burned well, and held my interest nicely. It doesn’t hurt that it’s a good looking smoke either. For less than five bucks, I don’t even mind the minor inconsistency in draw. If you’re trying to keep costs down, and you enjoy a good maduro, head out to your local shop and pick up a few.
Liked It: Yes
Buy It Again: Yes
Recommend It: Yes
Tower of Burn
Here for your viewing pleasure is my trademark Tower of Burn.