Padilla Miami 8 & 11 Lancero
The Padilla Miami 8 & 11 Lancero combines two of the hottest trends in cigars: the blending expertise of Don "Pepin" Garcia and the lancero shape.
The long and thin Lancero vitola (in the case of the Padilla Miami it is 7 and 1/2 inches long with a 42 ring gauge) has been making a comeback of late. The lancero was said to be one of Fidel Castro's favorite sizes, but lately non-Cuban cigar makers have made the lancero a staple of their new lines, perhaps sensing a backlash by some cigar connoisseurs against the ever widening ring gauges that the cigar industry has been experiencing.
Meanwhile, Don Pepin - formerly a master roller and blender in Cuba - is similarly becoming a staple of the cigar industry. Currently he produces some of the hottest cigars being made today including Tatuaje, Ashton's San Cristobal, EO Brand's 601 line, and of course his own Don Pepin cigars. Unfortunately as of February he no longer is making cigars for Padilla.
Reportedly, Padilla is to begin producing the Miami (along with the formerly Pepin-made Padilla 1932 and 1948) in a new Miami factory. But for this review I'll tried a few Pepin-made Padilla Miami lanceros. (Just a note, the 8 & 11 refers to the location of the factory where these cigars are produced: 8th Street and 11th Avenue. Since the cigar will no longer be made there, Padilla is dropping the 8 & 11 from the name and will simply being calling the continued line the "Padilla Miami.")
As with most of Pepin's cigars, the Miami lancero has the classic Cuban triple cap but with a twist, literally. The cigar has a pig tail. The wrapper of this Nicaraguan puro is medium brown with a slightly greenish tint and while the wrapper isn't particularly oily, it is almost entirely vein-free.
After clipping the fragile cap and lighting up, I was greeted with smooth cedar and earth, with some spice and plenty of honey flavors. The Miami has been hailed by Cigar Aficionado as a "full-bodied masterpiece" but I didn't quite find it to be full-bodied. Perhaps because the lancero, more than the Robusto to which CA was describing, relies on the wrapper so much for its flavor due to its thin ring gauge I would slot the Miami lancero in as more of a medium or medium to full-bodied cigar.
Construction was good but not exceptional. One of the four cigars I smoked developed a nasty crack in the wrapper and the ash was particularly susceptible to falling off after only a quarter inch (once again, I think this can likely be attributed to the lancero format). On the positive side was an impressively even burn on every stick I smoked.
The cigar continued to provide its smooth complex notes until about an inch past the midway point when the cigar had a tendency to turn a little bitter. Given that the lancero is seven inches long, it was as disappointing as it became predicable (after multiple sticks) that it turned bitter and earthy.
Overall, I find the Padilla 8 & 11 Miami to be a mixed bag. On one hand, it started with a very enjoyable, complex, bold yet smooth mix of sweetness and spice. However, for a cigar that retails for around ten dollars per stick, I found the construction to bit a bit suspect and the tendency to have the smooth flavors sputter out early to be disappointing (especially given the wonderful start).
This combination of pros and cons earns the Padilla 8 & 11 Miami a respectable most rating of three and 1/2 out of five stogies.
Source: Stogie Guys Online Cigar Magazine