Late in 2016, Quesada Cigars launched the Quesada Holiday Keg 2016. The Holiday Keg is an extension to the Quesada Keg line. The Quesada Keg has been a seasonal release for the St. Patrick’s Day celebrations designed to be paired with an Irish Stout. With the Quesada Holiday Keg 2016, it is a cigar meant to be a seasonal release for the end of the year holidays. Like the original Quesada Keg, the Holiday Keg comes packaged in a canister that looks like Keg – however that is where the similarities stop between the two releases. Today we take a look at the Quesada Holiday Keg. Overall I found this to be an excellent offering and one definitely worth checking out.
As mentioned one of the more unique features about the Keg series has been the keg canisters the cigars come packaged in. While they are not meant to substitute for a humidor, they are quite decorative. The Quesada Holiday Keg 2016 introduced a cherry-wood design for the packaging here. This is something that was not seen across the other Keg releases.
Without further ado, let’s take a look at the Quesada Holiday Keg 2016 and see what this cigar brings to the table.
As mentioned, there are a couple of significant differences with the Holiday Keg compared to the original Quesada Keg. First, the Holiday Keg is a Dominican tobacco-centric blend highlighted by a Dominican Corojo wrapper (the original Keg uses a Pennsylvania Broadleaf wrapper over Nicaraguan tobaccos). Second, while the original Quesada Keg is produced at the Placencia factory in Nicaragua, the Quesada Holiday Keg is produced at the Quesada’s own factory in the Dominican Republic.
Wrapper: Dominican Corojo
Filler: Dominican, Nicaraguan
Country of Origin: Dominican Republic (Quesada Cigars SA)
The Quesada Holiday Keg is available in one size – a 6 x 50 Toro. There are ten cigars packaged per keg and a total of 1,000 Holiday Kegs were produced in 2016.
The Dominican Corojo wrapper of the Quesada Holiday Keg 2016 had a dark wood-like color. Upon closer examination, some darker mottling can be seen on the wrapper. The wrapper itself was slightly bumpy with some visible veins and visible wrapper seams. I also consistency found this cigar to be well-packed with no soft spots.
The band itself has quite a contemporary design. The band itself has a dark rose background adorned with indigo, gold, and white colored elements. Sitting on a circular field on the front of the band is the text “FONSECA KEG” in a contemporary gold cursive color. Above that text is the text “QUESADA” in white font on an indigo nameplate. Below the “FONSECA” is the text “REP DOM” in white font on a red ribbon. The circular field as well as the rest of the band is trimmed with gold and indigo. There are indigo designs on the left and right side of the band. On the far right is the another indigo nameplate with the text “QUESADA” in white font.
Preparation for the Cigar Experience
I opted for my usual choice of a straight cut to remove the cap of the Quesada Holiday Keg 2016. Once the cap was clipped I moved on to the pre-light draw. The cold draw delivered notes of nut, cream, and coffee. At times I picked up a touch of dried fruit. Overall I considered the pre-light draw of this cigar to be satisfactory. At this point, I was ready to light up the Quesada Holiday Keg 2016 and see what the smoking phase would have in store.
The Quesada Holiday Keg 2016 started out with notes of generic wood and coffee. In the background there were some subtle notes of white pepper and dried fruit that delivered a touch of sweetness and spice. On the retro-hale, I picked up more wood notes as well as some additional white pepper.
As the Quesada Holiday Keg 2016 moved through the first third, a creamy texture surfaced with thew wood notes. At the same time, coffee notes subsided into the background joining the pepper and dried fruit.
The second third of the cigar still saw the creamy / wood combination as the primary flavor. By the midway point, some cedar entered the forefront. The dried fruit and coffee notes were now quite distant and not contributing greatly to the flavor profile. During this stage, the white pepper transitioned to more of a black pepper on the tongue and retro-hale.
The last third of the Quesada Holiday Keg 2016 saw the mix of wood, cream, and cedar as the primary flavors. There also was still some black pepper in the background. This is the way the cigar experience came to a close. The resulting nub was firm to the touch and cool in temperature.
Burn and Draw
From a burn standpoint, I found the Quesada Holiday Keg 2016 scored nicely. This cigar maintained a straight burn line and a straight burn path from start to finish. This was a cigar that did not require excessive touch-ups. The resulting ash was firm and nearly white in color. As for the burn rate and burn temperature, both were ideal.
The draw performed excellent as well. This cigar had a touch of resistance to it – which is something that I like. This made the Quesada Holiday Keg 2016 an enjoyable cigar to puff on.
Strength and Body
In terms of strength and body, I did not find the Quesada Holiday Keg to be an overpowering cigar. This cigar started out mild to medium in strength. By the second third, it progressed to medium strength and the level remainder constant for the duration of the smoke. As for the body, I found the flavors to be medium throughout the smoke – with little variation from start to finish.
In terms of strength versus body with the Holiday Keg 2016, I gave the edge to the body.
I will admit, when the Quesada Holiday Kegs shipped late last year, I felt the cigars were a little unbalanced and needed some time. Now with six months of age on this cigar, I found the Holiday Keg 2016 to now have better balance and frankly better flavor. I also found the aging resulted in the strength and body mellowing a bit – and this resulted in a better smoking experience. This is a cigar that I feel can be smoked by both novice and experienced cigar enthusiasts. As for myself, this is definitely a cigar I would reach for again – and it’s one worthy of a box/keg split.
Strength: Mild to Medium (1st third), Mi, M (1/3, 2/3)
Finish: Very Good
Assessment: 3.5-Box Split