Each year at ProCigar Festival held in the Dominican Republic, Quesada Cigars has used to occasion to unveil a special cigar. In 2015, Quesada Cigars launched a cigar known as the Quesada Reserva Privada. The Reserva Privada is 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 that 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 wrapper with a Connecticut Broadleaf. The result is the Quesada Reserva Privada Oscuro. This past Spring, the new Oscuro made its way to retailers. Recently, I’ve had an opportunity to smoke the Quesada Reserva Privada Oscuro in the Toro size. Overall I found this another outstanding offering by the Quesada family.
Back when we assessed the original Quesada Reserva Privada, we recapped what the Quesadas told Cigar Aficionado on the 1997 tobacco used for that project. This tobacco is now used in the new Reserva Privada Oscuro:
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.
There is one additional point on this project. Like the original Reserva Privada, each cigar produced for the Quesada Reserva Privada Oscuro is aged for one full year after it is rolled.
Without further ado, let’s take a closer look at the Quesada Reserva Privada Oscuro and see what this cigar brings to the table.
The same tobacco components that were used in the original Quesada Reserva Privada are used in the new Oscuro offering. The primary difference is the Connecticut Broadleaf wrapper used in place of the Ecuadorian Connecticut wrapper.
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)
The Quesada Reserva Privada Oscuro is available in three sizes. The Robusto size is one that was offered up exclusively to members of the Tobacconist Association of America (TAA) as a part of its 2016 Exclusive Series.
All three size are packaged in ten count boxes. The TAA size was limited to 750 boxes.
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 Toro isn’t the darkest Oscuro I have seen, but I still would categorize this as a dark wrapper. The wrapper itself has a dark woody look to it. Upon closer examination, some darker marbling could be seen on the surface. There was 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 is the same as the Connecticut Shade Reserva Privada. 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
As I normally do, I started my cigar experience of the Quesada Reserva Privada Oscuro Toro with a straight cut. Once the cap was removed, I moved on to the pre-light draw. The cold draw delivered a flavor that was a cross between cocoa powder and natural tobacco. There was a very subtle cedar note I detected as well. Overall while this wasn’t a complex pre-light draw, it still was quite enjoyable. At this point I was ready to light up the Quesada Reserva Privada Oscuro Toro and awaited what the smoking experience would bring to the table.
The Quesada Reserva Privada Oscuro Toro started out with a potpourri of flavors including earth, cocoa powder , white pepper, and a slight hay note. Like the pre-light draw, the cocoa powder had an inherent tobacco quality. It didn’t take long for the cocoa notes to go primary with the white pepper, earth, and hay notes were in the background. By the middle of the first third, the white pepper notes had almost dissipated. There was an additional layer of mixed pepper with a slight cocoa note on the retro-hale.
Later in the first third, the earth notes started to make their way into the forefront with the cocoa. This continued into the second third. While the earth notes were in the forefront from time to time, I still found the cocoa notes were in charge. The white pepper notes also resurfaced during the second third and slowly started to increase. Meanwhile, the hay notes remained in the background.
By the last third of the Quesada Reserva Privada Oscuro Toro, the white pepper notes kicked up a bit and joined the cocoa powder and earth notes in the forefront. The hay notes still hung on in the distant background. By the very end, there was some harshness, but by this point it was time to put down the cigar. The resulting nub was firm to the touch and cool in temperature.
Burn and Draw
When the first Quesada Reserva Privada Oscuro cigars arrived in May, I did find this to be a cigar that required a lot of re-lights. Some time in the humidor seemed to really fix this and I found a great improvement with the burn. This was a burn no longer required re-lights, but just touch-ups. The burn line remained straight and there was a slight amount of jaggedness on the actual burn line itself. The resulting ash was mostly gray with some darker speckling. The ash was on the firm side. Meanwhile the burn rate and burn temperature were ideal.
The draw to the Oscuro Toro was ideal. It had a touch of resistance to it – which is something I like. There also was a decent amount of smoke production on this cigar.
Strength and Body
From a strength perspective, I found the Quesada Reserva Privada Oscuro Toro to be on-par with the Ecuadorian Connecticut Quesada Reserva Privada. The cigar started out mild to medium in strength. The strength slowly increased and by the second half, the strength moved into medium territory.
Meanwhile, I actually found the body to be somewhat dialed back on the Oscuro compared to the Ecuadorian Connecticut version. This was a cigar that started out mild to medium-bodied. Like the strength, the body built up and by the second half, the flavors were medium-bodied.
In terms of strength versus body, I found both attributes balanced each other very nicely, but neither overshadowed the other.
Even before the Quesada Reserva Privada Oscuro was announced, I was intrigued by how the original Quesada Reserva Privada blend would perform with a Connecticut Broadleaf wrapper. When the cigars hit the shelves in May, I found this to be a cigar that not only required many re-lights, but was somewhat harsh in in the second half. While this cigar was aging for one year before it was shipped, I still felt this blend needed some humidor time to settle down.
The great news is that some time in the humidor did the trick – and this cigar is now shining. I’m not ready to put it at the level with the original Ecuadorian Connecticut Reserva Privada, this is still an excellent cigar and one that is responding very well to aging. It’s a cigar I could recommend to a novice or an experienced cigar enthusiast. As for myself, this is a cigar worthy of a box purchase in my book.
Burn: Very Good
Strength: Mild to Medium (1st Half), Medium (2nd Half)
Body: Mild to Medium (1st Half), Medium (2nd Half)
Finish: Very Good
Assessment: 4.0-Box Worthy
News: Quesada Reserva Privada Oscuro Coming Soon; Will Include Special TAA Vitola
Source: Cigars Provided by Manufactuer (Prior to August 8, 2016)
Stogie Geeks Podcast: Episode 203
Stogie Feed: Quesada Reserva Privada Oscuro Toro
Brand Reference: Quesada