Comparison: Partagas Short vs. Partagas Maduro No. 1
In the comparison section of our Partagas guides for new smokers, we’re going to be observing the differences between the Partagas Short versus the Partagas Maduro No. 1. Though these cigars are radically different beasts, we can draw the comparison as one of pitting the apex of old school cigar style and refinement with the Partagas Short against the heralding of a new age with the Maduro No. 1!
At the early advent of the popularity of Parejo vitolas, otherwise known as “straight sided,” cigar producers increasingly sought to develop smaller, more convenient cigars to smoke in a swift and pleasurable manner, as was the in vogue style of the day. However, this posed certain challenges in regards to making sure the flavour profile, quality and smokability of the cigars maintained the high degree of excellence for which Cuban cigars have always been regarded, due to the smaller size and ring gauge affording less space to hold the full blend of tobaccos normally featured in a larger cigar. With that being said, Partagas have always been a producer willing to rise to the challenge and push the maxim of what can be done in the world of tobacco and thus created the Partagas Short, a cigar which has seen constant production since prior to the Revolution in 1960 all the way through to the modern day. We often affectionately refer to the Partagas Short as ‘the ultimate “pocket rocket” stogie,’ owing to its ability to deliver the full array of Partagas’ much beloved flavour profile in a succinct and accessible format. Starting surprisingly light and toasty with soft accents of almond, the Short soon graduates fully into the familiar Partagas array of flavours; resplendent with notes of cedar wood, earthiness and a healthy dose of spice. As we love to say, it's an immense delivery of flavour despite its diminutive form, a true icon of a bygone age which still maintains its popularity in modern times.
But in speaking of those modern times, modern smokers preferences and desires have changed a great deal when contrasted with those of yesteryear, bringing us to:
As it has been well documented, in the modern era cigar smokers’ preferences have generally developed into a yearning for heftier ring gauge cigars as opposed to the more slender cigars which saw greater popularity in days of yore, however, in addition to this greater appreciation for chunkier vitolas, smokers have developed a penchant for the dusky, oily Maduro wrapper leaves most commonly adorning Cuba’s magnificent Edicion Limitada releases. Maduro leaves are obtained by subjecting the leaves to an extended fermentation process; while all tobacco is fermented before being made into a cigar, the period of fermentation to create Maduro leaves is considerably longer. After curing, Maduro wrappers are packed into bulks to ferment. During this process, there are chemical changes due to the moisture of the leaves and the combined weight of the pile, with the end result delivering a richer flavour profile with a top note which is described by many as being “sweet.” The common misconception is that Maduro leaves are stronger because of their darker complexion, where in actuality they are richer, which can easily be misconstrued as stronger.
While cigars produced with a Maduro wrapper are fairly common among brands in the New World realm, they are significantly rarer in the Cuban cigar industry and generally reserved for Edicion Limitada releases, with the exception of Cohiba’s Maduro 5 range and later Partagas’ Linea Maduro range.
Initially introduced in 2015 as a Habanos Specialist Exclusive release, with sparing quantities being produced, the Partagas Maduro No. 1 would see itself promoted to a standard production vitola and the first of a trio of sticks comprising the Linea Maduro range.
The Maduro No. 1 found itself well received on release, owing to its enhancement of the Partagas flavour profile, bearing all of the earthy, woody and spicy goodness of regular Partagas vitolas but enhancing them with a heftyness reminiscent of smoked or cured meats, along with more pronounced notes of leather and a hint of dark chocolate. It’s easy to see why these special stogies inspired the creation of a whole new product line, and with any luck we hope it’ll be one that continues to grow as the years march on!
When presented in a vacuum of purely the cigars themselves, comparing the Partagas Short and Maduro No. 1 is like trying to compare apples and oranges, they’re radically different entities each with their own pros and cons, but when you distil them down into what they represent and their epoch defining characteristics the comparison takes on new meaning: we’re pitting the zenith of one generation’s achievements against the other; with the ubiquitous availability and versatility of the Partagas Short, a cigar which can be enjoyed at virtually any time, in any place while still delivering an incredible smoking experience; contrasted against the hedonism and richness of the modern era, represented by the Maduro No. 1, a stogie to be savoured and enjoyed sparingly due to the relative sparseness of its availability and the extra labour required to create such a decadent vitola.
We could spend a lifetime extolling the virtues of each of these styles of vitolas, their relevance and pros and cons, but ultimately we feel the best way to quantify the comparison boils down to the above.
And as always, thanks for reading!