The Quesada Reserva Privada Oscuro is a limited production introduced this past year. It was in 2015 that Quesada Cigars launched the first Quesada Reserva Privada, The Reserva Privada is also a limited production, ultra-premium offering that features Dominican San Vincente tobacco set aside from a 1997 crop covered with an Ecuadorian Connecticut wrapper. It is the aged 1997 tobacco that made the Quesada Reserva Privada a special cigar. For 2016, an extension to the Reserva Privada line was introduced, but this one replaced the Ecuadorian Connecticut Shade wrapper with a Connecticut Broadleaf one. That cigar is the Quesada Reserva Privada Oscuro. The Reserva Privada Oscuro is available in three sizes with the Robusto size becoming a part of the 2016 TAA Exclusive Series.
In terms of the TAA as an organization, it is a small group of retailers. At press time the number of retailers is approximately 80. As per their web-site, the TAA is defined as:
The Tobacconists’ Association of America, Ltd. is a trade organization established in 1968 by visionary retail tobacconists. By providing education, communication, research, advocacy, and member discount programs, The TAA works with our members and the industry they support to offer the tools and relationship building opportunities needed to maximize professionalism and success.
Exclusive cigars for the TAA are nothing new, but over the past few years the number of offerings offered per year has grown quite large. 2016 included ten new limited offerings, six on-going exclusive offerings, and the event-only La Flor Dominicana TAA 48 Celebration Limited Edition Maduro. This brings the total cigars for 2016 available to TAA members to seventeen.
This year, the following new cigars have been released for the 2016 TAA Exclusive Series (displayed from left to right in the photo that follows):
- Quesada Reserva Privada Oscuro Robusto
- CLE Azabache
- Crowned Heads – The Angel’s Anvil 2016
- Padrón 1926 Serie No. 48 Natural
- Padrón 1926 Serie No. 48 Maduro
- La Palina Bill’s Blend
- Tatuaje TAA 2016
- My Father El Centurion H.2K.CT Box Pressed Torpedo
- Herrera Esteli TAA Exclusive by Drew Estate
- La Flor Dominicana TAA 48
- La Flor Dominicana TAA 48 Celebration Limited Edition Maduro (Event Only)
In addition to the offerings introduced in 2016, the six blends used as on-going releases exclusive for TAA retailers are:
- Ashton VSG Robusto Especial
- Drew Estate Acid Big Bang
- Padron 1964 Toro TAA Exclusive Natural
- Padron 1964 Toro TAA Exclusive Maduro
- Rocky Patel 15th Anniversary Robusto Grande
- Nat Sherman Panamericana
While this is the third installment in a TAA Exclusive Series by Quesada Cigars, it is the first one to be branded as a Quesada. Below are the three Quesada TAA Cigars
- 2008 Fonseca Signature Series
- 2015 Casa Magna D. Magnus II TAA Exclusive Hadrian
- 2016 Quesada Reserva Privada Oscuro Robusto
Without further ado, let’s break down the Quesada Reserva Privada Oscuro Robusto and see what his cigar brings to the table:
As mentioned the Quesada Reserva Privada Oscuro features the same blend as the original Reserva Privada but replaces the Ecuadorian Connecticut wrapper with a Connecticut Broadleaf. The binder and filler utilize the tobaccos from the 1997 vintage that was set aside.
Wrapper: Connecticut Broadleaf Oscuro
Binder: Dominican San Vincente (1997 Crop)
Filler: Dominican San Vicente from the 1997 Vintage selected, Pennsylvania Ligero
Country of Origin: Dominican Republic (Quesada Cigars Factory)
All three sizes of the Quesada Reserva Privada Oscuro are packaged in ten count boxes. While the Robusto is an exclusive to TAA retailers, there were 1,400 boxes of the other two sizes that were not restricted to the TAA.
Toro: 5 5/8 x 54
Corona Gorda: 6 1/2 x 46
Robusto: 4 3/4 x 52 (TAA Exclusive)
The Connecticut Broadleaf wrapper of the Quesada Reserva Privada Oscuro Robusto has a coffee bean color to it. On a couple of samples, there was some color variation on the wrapper itself as some sections were darker than others. There was also a moderate amount of oil on the surface of the wrapper. While there were some visible veins and thin wrapper seams, i still found this to be a smooth wrapper.
The band of the Quesada Reserva Privada Oscuro Robusto is identical to the rest of the Reserva Privada line. It is a black colored band with holographic font. On the center of the band is a holographic Quesada “Q” leaf logo. To the left of the logo are eight rows of the text “QUESADA” in holographic font. To the right of the logo are eight rows of the text “RESERVA” in holographic font. To the far left is the text “HECHO A MANO” in gray font. To the far right is the text “LICERY REP, DOM” (the location of the Quesada factory in the Dominican Republic) also in gray font. The band is finished with gold trim.
Preparation for the Cigar Experience
Prior to lighting up the Quesada Reserva Privada Oscuro Robusto, I went with my usual choice of a straight cut to remove the cap. Once the cap was removed, I proceeded with the pre-light draw. There was a nice dose of cocoa and chocolate that awaited me on the pre-light draw. I also picked up a touch of cedar. Overall I considered this to be an excellent pre-light draw. At this point I was ready to light up the Quesada Reserva Privada Oscuro Robusto and see what the smoking phase would have in store.
Similar to the Toro, the Quesada Reserva Privada Oscuro Robusto delivered a mix of cocoa powder, earth, white pepper, and a slight hay note. The cocoa and earth emerged as the primary notes early on with the pepper and hay becoming secondary. The retro-hale produced a mix of cedar and white pepper.
During the second third of the Quesada Reserva Privada Oscuro Robusto, I found the earth notes remained grounded as the primary flavor. The cocoa notes receded into the background joining the white pepper and hay notes. I also picked up some cedar in the background. These background flavors provided a nice balance to the earth notes in the forefront.
Toward the last third, I found the pepper notes was more of a mix of black and white pepper. The pepper combination along with the cedar joined the earth in the forefront. I still detected some cocoa and hay in the background. This is the way the Reserva Privada Oscuro Robusto came to a close. The resulting nub was firm to the touch and cool in temperature.
Burn and Draw
The burn of the Quesada Reserva Privada Oscuro Robusto maintained a straight burn path and never was in danger of tunneling or canoeing. The burn line had a little bit of unevenness, but this was easily remedied with a few touch-ups. From time to time, this burn line wasn’t the prettiest looking, but it really didn’t interfere with the performance. The resulting ash had a salt and pepper color and was skewed toward the firmer side. As for the burn rate and burn temperature, both were ideal.
The draw to the Quesada Reserva Privada Oscuro Robusto was ideal. It has a touch of resistance to it – which is something that I like. This made for an enjoyable cigar to puff on from start to finish.
Strength and Body
From both a strength and body perspective, I found both attributes of the Quesada Reserva Privada Oscuro Robusto to have a little more intensity than the the Toro size. The strength and body of the Robusto started out in the medium range. While there was a slight increase in both attributes along the way, toward the end I still found this cigar to be in the medium strength, medium-bodied range.
Both the strength and body of the Quesada Reserva Privada Oscuro Robusto balance each other real nice with neither attribute overpowering the other.
The Quesada Reserva Privada Oscuro line is an excellent one. In terms of this special release for the TAA, the Robusto is also a fine offering. In terms of how it stacks up against the other sizes, I would still give the edge to the Toro offering in this line.
In terms of how this cigar stacks up against other Quesada TAA releases, I still go back to the 2008 Fonseca TAA Signature Series as the one the stands at the top. That still isn’t a knock on the Reserva Privada Oscuro Robusto as it still is very good. This is a cigar I could recommend to a novice or experienced cigar enthusiast. As for myself, this is a cigar I’d smoke again – and its worthy of a box split.
Key Flavors: Earth, Cocoa, Pepper, Cedar
Burn: Very Good
Complexity: Medium to High
Finish: Very Good
Assessment: 3.5-Box Split
News: Quesada Reserva Privada Oscuro Coming Soon; Will Include Special TAA Vitola
Brand Reference: Quesada