A few months prior to this review, I received a few complimentary TNT Padron Anniversary Alternative cigars from TNT Cigars. Since it has been a while since I smoked a genuine Padron, I decided to review these cigars as unique brands, and not as alternatives that may have some similar characteristics to an original national brand. Whether marketed as alternatives or not, cigars made with blends of tobaccos that are comparable to other brands are bound to exhibit at least some similarities. However, no two brands will ever taste exactly alike. The boxed pressed alternatives that I tested were the Toro Natural and Toro Maduro, each having a length of six inches and ring gauge of 50. These TNT alternative cigars are made entirely with tobaccos from Nicaragua, as are genuine Padrons. The natural wrapper is dark in color, and resembles the color of the Maduro wrapper. If the cigars are mingled together during storage, the Maduro can easily be identified by its distinct earthy aroma.
As expected from the cigar's aroma before lighting up, the Maduro cigar did have an earthy taste, but the flavor was balanced and not as earthy as I anticipated. To me, this was a plus, since I do not like a pronounced earthy taste. The Maduro wrapper provided just the right amount of sweetness, and I would describe the texture of the smoke as being leathery. The overall flavor was in the medium-to-full category. On the other hand, the natural cigar had a very enjoyable mild-to-medium flavor, and the texture of the smoke was very smooth. However, one of the two natural cigars that I tasted began to strengthen noticeably with about three inches remaining. I usually smoke a cigar down to about two inches, but it is not all that unusual for a large cigar to become less enjoyable with three inches left.
Draw and Construction
Both cigars had great draws and provided a nice volume of smoke with little effort. The cigars burned evenly, but one of the two Maduro cigars that I tested required a couple of relights, but only after the cigar had already been smoked beyond three inches. Therefore, there were not really any major issues with the construction of these cigars, and they were well made.
These cigars are available online in 5-packs at a cost of $15, or in quantities of 25 cigars for $40. The natural cigars would be a good value for any level cigar smoker, including beginners. The Maduro cigars are somewhat complex but not overpowering, and will probably be enjoyed more by advanced beginners and experienced cigar smokers. TNT Padron Anniversary alternatives are very enjoyable cigars at a reasonable price, whether they closely resemble the national brand or not. At only $1.60 per stick when purchased in boxes of 25, I consider them to be an excellent value.