SmokeGood DrinkGood Magazine

The LifeStyle: Porsche CEO Promises the Next Panamera Won’t be Ugly

Here’s the thing about the Porsche Panamera: it’s an either you love it or you hate it deal, design wise. Yes, it’s distinctive looking and there’s nothing else quite like it, but on the other hand some see it as ugly. Over the years we’ve come to appreciate the Panamera’s styling but even Porsche admits changes are needed. Those will be addressed when the second-generation Panamera arrives in 2016. As recent spy photos have shown, the overall look of the new fastback sedan is more rounded and refined than the existing car.










The LifeStyle: Ernesto Padilla from Graphic Designer to Cigar Maker

Ernesto embarked upon a career in the graphic arts, studying at the Art Institute of Philadelphia, the Art Institute of Fort Lauderdale and the Miami School of Design. He has participated in numerous art exhibitions throughout the USA and currently has works at The Gallery of Cuban Art at La Casa Azul in Fort Worth, Texas. 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.

Padilla Cigars Ernesto

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. Ernesto attributes his love of cigars and the tobacco business to his father: “He always had a passion for cigars. He was like a secondary ambassador for cigars…I always loved it, always loved the business because of that.” Coming from a tobacco family, Ernesto knew or was acquainted with many people in the tobacco growing world. Working for Perdomo served to solidify these connections, and in time, he struck out on his own.

Padilla Cigars 002

On 24 April 2003, Ernesto and his brother Carlos incorporated as Padilla Cigar Company, and embarked on a new career as cigar makers. Within the Padilla Cigar Company Ernesto handles product development and marketing, while Carlos handles administration and management. Much of the graphic arts in the brand advertising, including band designs, is done by Coolbirth, Inc. Padilla Cigar Co. is what is referred to as a “boutique” brand,  a small company of limited production and distribution. This allows such a company to concentrate on achieving a high quality product. 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.

Padilla Cigars 003

In developing the blends used in Padilla cigars, Ernesto worked closely with several recognized experts, including master blender José “Don Pepin” García and Gilberto Oliva. The results are easily seen, for in the short time that the company has been in existence, it has become recognized in the premium cigar industry as one of the leading boutique cigar companies, and its cigars have been consistently been given high ratings.

In 2008, Padilla parted company with García due to the latter’s expanding commitments to other cigar makers. Padilla opened up his own 2,000-square-foot  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.

The company currently has several brands in regular production and makes special, limited release cigars from time to time as well as occasional custom brands.

Padilla Cigar Brands

Padilla 8 & 11
This spicy and creamy handmade was blended more to showcase flavor than it was for strength, and it delivers a nice, palatable, medium-bodied profile. It was named for the place in which it was rolled – in the famed Calle Ocho in Miami, on the corner of 8th Street and 11th Avenue. With an Ecuadorian Habano wrapper concealing a Nicaraguan binder and a fine mix of Nicaraguan filler leaves, this is one reprise that makes perfect sense.

Padilla Connecticut
As part of his new portfolio, Ernesto Padilla wanted to make sure he covered all the bases. After having notched several successful medium to full-bodied blends into his belt, he’s now got the milder side of things covered too. Introducing the Padilla Connecticut, catering to fans of mellower, tamer cigars.

Padilla Reserva
Medium to full in body, expect billowy smoke to unveil a nutty and creamy character that perfectly mingles with a rich Cuban-esque tobacco core. As the burn progresses, hints of gentle spice, pepper, and hearty cedar also enter the fray. Enjoyable puff after puff, the real credit here belongs to the blend at hand. Greeting you from the outside, a feisty Cuban-seed Ecuadorian wrapper, reddish-brown in color.

Padilla Reserva Maduro
Reserva Maduro is carefully crafted in the Oliva family’s esteemed factory in Esteli, Nicaragua. Dark and alluring, this cigar is bursting with long-fillers from Esteli and Jalapa. Rich, fertile tobaccos grown in black volcanic soils and then patiently fermented. Draped over this hearty core, a San Andres maduro wrapper, skillfully aged to achieve a dark even color and bold character. Together, these tobaccos strike up a swarm of smoke containing smooth but bold notes of coffee, dark chocolate, espresso, and a spicy-sweet finish. Oh yes enjoyable indeed, add another feather in Padilla’s impressive cap.

Padilla Vintage Reserve
This small-run, box-pressed release is special from head to toe. Besides the snazzy presentation, each cigar utilizes a rare wrapper leaf, which really adds some simmer to the sauce….and also makes for a highly appealing flavor profile. Coming from the mind of Ernesto Padilla, and hand rolled at Tabacalera Oliva, this limited release cigar brings a lot to the table.

Padilla Miami Maduro
From the triple cap, entubo bunching techniques, and the rich Cuban-seed fillers, this bad boy screams old school Cuba. And it all starts with a dark San Andres wrapper, grown in the hearty soils of Mexico. Extensively fermented, this leaf hugs a bevy of all Cuban-seed long-fillers from Nicaragua’s most fertile and nutrient rich regions.


The LifeStyle: First Details of Ferrari FF Facelift

The new engine, supposedly for the entry-level model, will be a slightly updated version of the new turbocharged V8 found in the California T. The all-wheel drive system is also set to be tweaked. The seven-speed dual-clutch gearbox will be swapped in favor of an eight-speed unit as well. The exterior will sport more carbon fiber body panels, while the interior will receive an updated infotainment system complete with Apple CarPlay. The 2016 FF’s updates are said to be significant enough to keep the car relevant for a few more years. Ferrari is still apparently deciding the makeup of its replacement. Will it continue the shooting brake design, venture into four-seater coupe territory, or something else entirely?

First Details of Ferrari FF Facelift

First Details of Ferrari FF Facelift

First Details of Ferrari FF Facelift

First Details of Ferrari FF Facelift

First Details of Ferrari FF Facelift

First Details of Ferrari FF Facelift

The LifeStyle: Hublot King Power Oceanographique Titanium

This Hublot King Power Oceanographique Titanium 732.NX.1127.RX watch is a timepiece from the Hublot Oceanographique collection and has a Titanium case with a Black and Blue dial and a Black Rubber Strap Additional Strap for Diving in Black Rubber and Nomex. This Hublot watch, made for Mens features Automatic movement within its 48 mm. case and a scratch resistant Scratch Resistant Sapphire Crystal face. The Hublot King Power Oceanographique Titanium 732.NX.1127.RX watch is water resistant up to 10000 mt.


Satin-finished and Microblasted Titanium

HUB9002 Manual-winding. Movement with Column Wheel and Power Reserve Tourbillon

Sapphire with Anti-reflective Treatment

Black Smooth Rubber Strap – Satin-finished Titanium and Microblasted Black PVD Titanium Deployant Buckle Clasp

Hublot King Power Oceanographique Titanium Limited edition of 1000 pieces 732.NX.1127.RX

Purchase on Amazon: $21,967.20

The LifeStyle: Don Jaume Partagás Created His Brand 169 Years Ago

Partagás is among the oldest brands of cigars, established in Havana in 1845. The name is used today by two independent and competing entities, one produced on the island of Cuba for Habanos SA, the Cuban state-owned tobacco company; the other, containing no Cuban tobacco, produced in the Dominican Republic for the General Cigar Company, a subsidiary of Swedish Match.

The Catalan Don Jaume Partagás i Ravell son of Jaume Partagás (taylor) and Theresa Ravell. He migrated to Cuba and founded with the help of a Lloret de Mar businessman, Joan Conill, a small tobacco factory in Havana in 1827, before establishing his own factory, Real Fábricas de Tabaco Partagás in 1845, on 60 Industria Street in Havana, one of the largest of its time. The name, which translates as “Partagás Royal Tobacco Factory,” was supposedly chosen because of Don Jaume’s status as cigar supplier to various European and Asian nobility.

Partagas 1845 Don_Jaime

Don Jaume owned many of the best plantations in the Vuelta Abajo tobacco-growing region of Cuba; being able to choose from among the finest tobaccos on the island made the brand incredibly successful. Don Jaume is also believed to have experimented with various methods of fermenting and aging tobacco and is legendarily credited with hiring the first lector to read to and entertain the cigar rollers as they worked.

Don Jaume was murdered (supposedly by a jealous rival he’d been vying with in one of his love affairs) on one of his plantations in either 1864 or 1868 and his son Josep Partagás took over the business. Later the factory and brand were sold to banker José A. Bance, who in turn sold to Cifuentes, Fernández y Cía in 1900. In 1916, Don José Fernández apparently left the firm and Ramón Cifuentes Llano joined with Francisco Pego Pita to form Cifuentes, Pego y Cía. In 1927, it acquired the rights to the Ramón Allones brand; at some unknown point the factory began to produce a brand in its own name, Cifuentes.


Ramon Cifuentes died in 1938 and Pego in 1940, leaving the Cifuentes family solely in control of the increasingly prestigious factory and brand, which renamed the company Cifuentes y Cía. In 1954, the Cifuentes family acquired the Bolívar and La Gloria Cubana brands from José F. Rocha and moved their production to the Cifuentes factory. By 1958 it was second only to the H. Upmann company in exporting Cuban cigars, accounting for over a quarter of all exported tobacco goods.

Before and after the Cuban Revolution, the authentic Cuban-produced Partagás has been one of the most revered and highest-selling cigars in the world. By the middle 1990s it remained the second leading selling Cuban brand, following Montecristo, with annual sales of approximately 10 million cigars.

The old Partagás Factory in Havana, since renamed “Francisco Pérez Germán”, is still responsible for much of the annual production of the Partagás brand. It has proven a very popular tourist destination for cigar smokers vacationing in Cuba.

Partagas 1845 02

After tobacco was nationalized following the Cuban Revolution, the Cifuentes family’s patriarch, Ramón, was initially offered the job of leading Cuba’s tobacco industry, but refused and instead emigrated from the country. A newly formed government marketing agency, Cubatabaco, took over the Partagás factory and the production of the brand there.

After a hiatus of almost seventeen years, the patron of the family, Ramón Cifuentes licensed the names Partagás and Bolívar cigars to the General Cigar Company, which in 1978 obtained a trademark and relaunched the brand for the lucrative American market. Initial production took place in Jamaica, but the following year production of the revisited brand moved to a modern factory in Santiago, the second largest city of the Dominican Republic.

In 2002, Altadis bought a controlling share in the Cuban government-owned cigar distributor, Habanos SA, and instituted a number of changes in cigar production. Among them was gradually turning the various brands of Cuban cigars to either all-handmade or all-machine-made lines, reducing the number of redundant sizes within a brand, and eliminating many low-selling cigars. Partagás, which has historically produced a variety of handmade and machine-made or machine-finished cigars, had several of its vitolas cut from production, much to the dismay of connoisseurs worldwide.

Partagas USA Brands

Partagas 1845
Partagas Black Label
Partagas 1845 Extra Oscuro

The LifeStyle: John Hennessey Discusses His Masterpiece: The Venom GT

It takes a bit of Texas madness to dethrone a car like the Bugatti Veyron.

John Hennessey is an awesome guy. Not only is he from Texas, but he also has a thing for horsepower, and lots of it. Along with his world-renowned aftermarket kits for a variety of sedans, coupes, SUVs and supercars, Hennessey Performance is also the creator of the just maddening Venom GT. Sure, its platform origins may come from a Lotus, but Hennessey and crew have turned it into something else entirely. That is, it is a Bugatti Veyron SS killer.

What’s more, the Venom GT is void of things like a dual-clutch gearbox and other computer-assisted elements; it’s a pure analog machine. It also happens to go faster than 270 mph. So how does the man himself work his magic? Check out the video ahead as Hennessey sits down with Mike Spinelli for a tell-all interview.

John Hennessey Discusses His Masterpiece: The Venom GT

John Hennessey Discusses His Masterpiece: The Venom GT

John Hennessey Discusses His Masterpiece: The Venom GT

John Hennessey Discusses His Masterpiece: The Venom GT

John Hennessey Discusses His Masterpiece: The Venom GT

John Hennessey Discusses His Masterpiece: The Venom GT

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The LifeStyle: Jose Orlando Padrón – “Quality is a Matter of Family Honor”

The Padrón family bought a small farm in the Pinar del Río region of Cuba, Las Obas. At that time they made $7 every 100 pounds (45 kg) of tobacco they cultivated in Cuba. From there, the Padrón family continued to buy farms around the Pinar del Río region including a factory in Piloto, where the name of Jose’s company, Piloto Cigars, is taken from.

Jose Orlando Padrón was born in 1926 in Cuba and grew up near the Pinar del Río region, famed for its tobacco. His family has been working in the tobacco industry since the 1850s, and, when Jose moved from Cuba in 1961 after his tobacco farm was nationalized by Fidel Castro, went to Spain, then New York, and then he brought over a century’s worth of tobacco knowledge to Miami. In Miami, Jose earned $60 every month from government aid to Cuban refugees. After a friend gave him a small hammer, Jose obtained a carpentry job. It was this job that enabled him to raise the $600 to start his own cigar brand and business. To this day, the little hammer has been a symbol of Jose’s start as a cigar blender and manufacturer.

Padron 02

Padrón produced 200 cigars a day, made in typical Cuban rolling style, with one torcedor. Padrón then came to the idea of making a new cigar, the “Fuma”. Made completely from Connecticut broadleaf tobacco, many bought this cigar for its curly head cap, which resembled the traditional cigars from Cuba.

It soon became very limiting to deal only with Connecticut broadleaf tobacco because of its long curing process. Padrón was approached by a man from a tobacco company in Nicaragua touring around for potential buyers, who asked him to inspect his tobacco for its quality. Padrón thought very well of his tobacco and told him to come back after his trip to Europe so he may travel to Nicaragua and inspect the tobacco and the fields. There, in the Jalapa valley of Nicaragua, Padrón found the tobacco he would use for his cigars.

Jose Padrón began using the Nicaraguan tobacco in 1967, but due to inability to meet the demands of his consumers, he moved his company to Estelí, Nicaragua in 1970; a country with numerous political troubles at the time. Padrón tried to remain apolitical during his stay in Nicaragua however, after riots broke out and Padrón’s factory was burnt down, Jose began to search for another location for his business.

padron factory

The factory in Nicaragua was rebuilt soon after the disaster, and another factory was created in Honduras. After the Sandinista rebellion and take over, there was much uncertainty at the Padrón factory as to what the workers were to do. Padrón asked them to continue working, and eventually Padrón returned to Nicaragua where he spoke to a Sandinista official, who promised him there would be no more problems with his factory.

A new problem arose for Padrón after making peace with the Sandinistas: the United States embargo against Nicaragua enacted by President Reagan on Nicaraguan products. Padrón scrambled to move as much tobacco and cigars from Nicaragua to Tampa, Florida during the 5 days allotted before the blockade took effect. He was later granted an extension by the U.S. government to continue to move his product for another 6 months, then, whatever stock he had left in Nicaragua, remained there. After the blockade lifted, Padrón shifted his main operation back to Nicaragua, where it still remains today.


Now, both Jose Orlando Padrón and his son, Jorge “George” Padrón, run the family business. As President, Jorge is moving into the director’s position for the company; making more trips to visit the factories in Estelí and working on the business end of the company. It is the intent of the Padrón family that Jorge will eventually take the main leadership role in the company one day.

In 2003, the company opened a new 12,000-square-foot rolling facility in Estelí, Nicaragua, a building twice the size of the company’s previous Estelí facility. The new rolling center was the 17th building owned by Padrón in Estelí and brought the company’s usable space in the city up to a total of 75,000 square feet, mostly dedicated to the storage of tobacco. At that time the company maintained an inventory sufficient for more than 25 million cigars — six years’ worth of production.

Padron 04

The Padron Cigars legacy dates back over 100 years to their native Cuba. Yet, since 1964 the company has built its impeccable reputation by sticking to its family tradition of producing complex-tasting, handmade cigars with the same Cuban-born recipe and techniques that have been used for generations. As the company motto states: “When Padron is on the label, quality is a matter of family honor.” When asked about their limited annual production, the Padrons emphasize that what counts is the quality of the product, not the quantity produced.

Padron Brands

Padron Family Reserve 1964
Padron 1926 Serie
Padron 1964 Anniversary Series
Padron Handmade

The LifeStyle: Aston Martin One-77 is Coolness Personified

Sadly it’s one of the last of its kind. It has a handcrafted aluminum body covering a carbon-fiber monocoque chassis, and a naturally aspirated 7.3-liter V12 with 750 hp lying under its long hood. Today’s supercars are being equipped with battery technologies, but the One-77 keeps things old school with pure premium gasoline flowing through its veins. Just 77 examples were built, all of which were sold about as fast as its 0-60 mph time of 3.5 seconds.

Aston Martin One-77 is Coolness Personified

Aston Martin One-77 is Coolness Personified

Aston Martin One-77 is Coolness Personified

Aston Martin One-77 is Coolness Personified

Aston Martin One-77 is Coolness Personified

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The LifeStyle: AVO Uvezian Jazz Pianist and Cigar Manufacturer

AVO Uvezian (born 1926 in Beirut, French Lebanon) is an Armenian-American jazz pianist and cigar manufacturer.

AVO Uvezian was born to a family of musicians. His mother was a singer, while his father was a composer and conductor for a symphony orchestra. His parents’ experience with music allowed him to develop his talents as a young man and Uvezian joined a jazz trio called the Liban Boys. They received a contract to perform at a hotel in Baghdad where they stayed for one year. After this, they signed a contract to perform at a hotel in Iran. While there, AVO received an invitation from Shah Reza Pahlavi to perform at his palace. In an interview with Cigar Aficionado, AVO described this point in his career.

“I spoke Farsi (referring to Persian), so it sort of broke the ice with the Shah,” he says. “I remember they were trying to dance the jitterbug and I said, ‘You don’t know how to dance that right. Let me show you.’ We were invited back for two or three more events and finally I became the Shah’s pianist. The hotel didn’t care since the Shah owned it.”


After a year of performing in Iran, the Shah arranged for AVO to travel to the United States of America in 1947. While living in New York, AVO played for multiple bands while studying classical piano and composition at the Juilliard School.

In addition to performing, AVO Uvezian also wrote songs, one of which was “Broken Guitar” – the prototype for “Strangers in the Night,” which Frank Sinatra recorded on his 1966 album of the same name. The album won three Grammy Awards, including Best Male Pop Vocal Performance for the song.

AVO met his wife, Marie Sahakian, while performing at a New York resort in the Catskill Mountains in 1951. They had three children Jeffrey , Robert, Ronny Avo Jr. Uvezian .

Uvezian was drafted during the Korean War and sent to Fort Dix in New Jersey where he was put through infantry training. After impressing his officers with his musical talents, Uvezian was taken out of the Infantry and put into band training. When he arrived in Korea, the band would play at an Officers Club where they got paid twenty dollars a night. Uvezian was honorably discharged in 1952. After being discharged, Uvezian spent the next few years working with his father-in-law designing jewelry. This eventually brought him to Puerto Rico where he was paid to perform at the Palmas Del Mar resort.


In 1983, when AVO’s daughter Karyn was born, he went to Switzerland for her christening. AVO had a Cuban cigar after the meal and was not happy with the price. His friend mentioned that they should make their own. Uvezian travelled to the Dominican Republic, where he searched for two years for a satisfactory production facility. AVO finally met Hendrik Kelner, and after smoking samples, AVO offered Kelner twenty-five percent more than he had originally offered.


His presumption was that paying Kelner more would ensure that AVO cigars would receive the best tobacco. Michael Roux advised AVO to use attractive packaging. In the first year, 120,000 AVO cigars were sold. By the third year, AVO sold over 750,000 cigars. In 1995, Davidoff paid AVO Uvezian an estimated $10 million for the rights to distribute his cigars. In 1996, more than two million AVO cigars were sold. 


The LifeStyle: Masterpiece Le Chronographe Squelette

Masterpiece Le Chronographe Squelette

An avant-garde design housed within a diameter of 45 mm. A skeleton that shapes time. A Manufacture –made mechanism, the ML 106-7 caliber. This new instrument for the measurement of short time intervals deserves the utmost respect. Its precise mechanics, for which a patent has been filed, and openwork design, which displays and thus authenticates the movement, are the cornerstones of an undeniably contemporary collection. Offering a new take on the skeleton watch, which had already been fully redesigned in 2007 with the Masterpiece Squelette, this model looks like being a worthy successor. Protected by a sapphire crystal with an anti-reflective coating on both sides, the manually wound movement  is proudly on display.


Within this maze, the workings of the skeletal structure enjoy a refined, streamlined effect and have been reduced to the bare essentials. Hypnotized by the movement’s intricacy, the light brushes past the dusky seconds hand, before bouncing off the sharp, luminous spurs of the hours and minutes hands. Having pierced through the slate-gray metallic sapphire dial, with its applied time indicators, it comes to rest on the chronograph counters, intrigued by the presence of a 60-minute counter.

It then follows the movement of the counter’s hands which, shaped like skeletal discs, resemble the gears of the movement. It then ricochets off the snailed architecture and black screws of the bottom plate, before being drawn into the depths of this compelling time machine. Once inside, it tames the escapement, grazes across the golden gears, acquaints itself with the column wheel and caresses the rubies. Then, in a flash, it slips through the sapphire-crystal case-back, powered by the oscillations of a well-concealed, black balance that blends into its surroundings until almost invisible.

The structure of the Le Chronographe Squelette transforms inorganic matter into a living and exciting mechanism that displays each of its Manufacture-crafted components with pride. The design of this metallic sculpture is an appropriate icon for a brand that has dared to create an elegant yet edgy collection most definitely anchored in the 21st century.