|Quesada Reserva Privada Robusto
At the 2015 ProCigar Festival in the Dominican Republic, Quesada Cigars showcased the Quesada Reserva Privada. The Quesadas have typically used this festival as a launching pad for one of their centerpiece new releases. In 2014, the Quesadas showcased their highly anticipated 40th Anniversary line.2015 figured to be a tougher year to match, but with the Quesada Reserva Privada, the Quesadas have appeared to do so. The thing that makes this release special is the incorporation of 1997 vintage tobacco into the blend. The cigar itself is being positioned one of the more premium offerings by Quesada Cigars. The Reserva Privada has now made its way to stores. Recently I’ve had an opportunity to smoke this cigar. No doubt the Quesadas have been a roll and the Quesada Reserva Privada is another home run.
According to Cigar Aficionado, it was in 1997, current company owner Manuel Quesada convinced his father Manuel Sr. and brother Alvaro to set aside a crop of 1997 San Vincente tobacco that was considerered to be exceptional for a special project. The crop was described as “Cosheca Pareja” meaning that the plants were all uniform in height. The middle of the plants were also the same size indicating the nutrients had spread evenly in the plant. The tobaccos were harvested and stored in bales made from palm tree bark wrapped in palm leaves. The bark protected the tobaccos from outside conditions and allowed for a natural fermentation as they aged. A few years ago, Manuel’ offered the tobacco to his daughters Patricia and Raquela for a special project – and then the wheels were put in motion.
A blend was created and the Quesada Reserva Privada came to light. One additional point is once the cigars are produced, they are being aged for one full year.
Casa de Montecristo in Chicago had the national launch of this cigar on 3/26/15 with Manuel Quesada in attendance. These cigars are available at their retail shops as well as their online arm, Top Quality Cigars. Prior to the event, Manuel provided some background on the Reserva Privada:
Given there is a finite amount of this tobacco and that the cigars age for a year, Quesada Cigars has opted to do a gradual rollout. Currently a group of pre-selected accounts will be the first to carry the cigar. Each month, a shipment of six boxes (two boxes per size, three sizes total) will be shipped to retailers. Following the 2015 IPCPR Trade Show additional retailers will be added. The cigars will continue to be made until the supply of 1997 tobacco is depleted.
Without further ado, let’s take break down the Quesada Reserva Privada Robusto and see what this cigar brings to the table.
The 1997 San Vincente crop is used for the binder and the filler. Some Pennsylvania Ligero was added to give the blend some additional strength. Manuel Quesada describes the use of this Pennsylvania tobacco as incorporating some “new” elements with the “old” elements (the aged tobacco). A decision was also made to use an Ecuadorian Connecticut Seed wrapper.
Wrapper: Ecuadorian Connecticut-Seed
Binder: Dominican San Vincente (1997 Crop)
Filler: Dominican San Vicente from the 1997 Vintage selected from the Cosecha Pareja crops, Pennsylvania Ligero
Country of Origin: Dominican Republic (Quesada Cigars Factory)
The Quesada Reserva Privada is being launched in three sizes in ten count boxes.
Robusto: 4 3/4 x 52
Toro: 5 5/8 x 54
Toro Gordo: 6 1/2 x 56
The Quesada Reserva Privada features a very smooth golden brown Ecuadorian Connecticut Shade wrapper. There is a light coating of oil on the wrapper. There are some very thin visible veins and most of the wrapper seams are well hidden.
The band is something very contemporary for Quesada. 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.
Preparation for the Cigar Experience
Prior to lighting up the Quesada Reserva Privada Robusto, I opted to place a straight cut to remove the cap. After successfully clipping the cap, I moved on to the pre-light draw. There was a very unique sweetness that came off the dry draw. It seemed to be a mix of floral sweetness with a slight cotton candy note. Three were also some notes of wood and touch of pepper spice that lingered on the tongue. Overall I considered this to be an excellent pre-light draw. At this point I was ready to light up my Quesada Reserva Privada Robusto and see what the smoking phase would have in store.
Out of the gate, the Quesada Reserva Privada Robusto delivered some very classic Ecuadorian Connecticut Shade cigar flavors – namely some notes of wood, cream, and black pepper. It didn’t take long for that unique floral sweetness that I had detected on the pre-light draw to emerge on the tongue. The sweetness moved into the forefront with the cream notes. The pepper wood notes became a background note and morphed into more of a cedar spice. Meanwhile the retro-hale delivered a floral spice.
During the middle of the first third, the sweetness started to develop into more of wild berry sweetness with the cream. I found this to be a very unique sweetness. The pepper and cedar were still present in the background and I picked up more cedar on the after-draw. Meanwhile the retro-hale also changed into a combination of wild berry and pepper. I found this flavor profile held well into the second third.
During the last third, the cream notes receded into the background. The cedar and pepper spices joined the wild berry in the forefront. The sweetness and spice had very good balance right until the end. This is the way the flavor profile came to a close. The resulting nub was a real finger burner – firm t the touch and cool in temperature.
Burn and Draw
For all of the talk of the aged tobacco in this blend and holographic bands, the construction is something that can easily get overlooked. This is one well-constructed cigar and it is demonstrated in the burn and draw. The burn remained sharp from start to finish – requiring minimal touch-ups. The ash featured a charcoal gray color. The ash was on the firm side and came off the cigar in clean chunks. The burn temperature was ideal. I did find this to be a cigar that burned quickly. The faster burn had no other adverse effects other than resulting in a shorter smoking experience.
|Burn of the Quesada Reserva Privada Robusto
The draw performed quite well. The draw was not too tight, nor what it too loose. This was a low maintenance cigar to derive flavors from.
Strength and Body
Put together aged tobacco, a Connecticut Shade wrapper and some Pennsylvania ligero I was expected something dialed back in strength – but not too dialed back in strength. This is exactly what I got with the Quesada Reserva Privada Robusto. This cigar started out mild to medium in strength and by the second half the cigar had progressed into the medium strength range. In terms of the body, it was a little less dialed back. The Quesada Reserva Privada started out medium-bodied and by the second half had just enough strength to advance to medium to full-bodied. In terms of strength versus body, I found the body had the edge from start to finish.
In 2014, the top two cigars on the Cigar Coop Cigar of the Year list came out of the Quesada factory. With the Quesada Reserva Privada, they get another high scoring cigar that could be a contender for one of the top spots come this December. This is a cigar that lives up to the hype – it has excellent flavor, top-notch construction, plenty of complexity, and no signs of youngness. The only thing that still puzzled me was the faster burn rate, but as I said, it only resulted in shorter smoking time and the pluses of this cigar far exceed this minus. While this is a well aged cigar, I’m curious to see how these smoke with even more time in the humidor.
This is a cigar I would recommend to either the novice or experienced cigar enthusiast. As for myself, not only is this a box worthy cigar, but it’s one worth fighting Chuck Norris for.
Strength: Mild to Medium (1st Half), Medium (2nd Half)
Body: Medium (1st Half), Medium to Full (2nd Half)
Assessment: 4.5 – Fight Chuck Norris for Them