The Quesada Reserva Privada Barber-Pole is the third blend in Quesada Cigars’ Reserva Privada line. As the name indicates, the cigar features two different wrappers arranged in a “barber pole” design. In this case, it incorporates the shade wrapper found on the original Quesada Reserva Privada and the oscuro wrapper found on the Quesada Reserva Privada Oscuro. The common denominator of the entire Reserva Privada line is that all of the blends incorporate Dominican San Vincente tobacco that was put aside by the Quesada family in 1997. Today we take a look at the Quesada Reserva Privada Barber-Pole in the Robusto size. While sometimes Barber-Pole cigars are a little more hype that substance, not such the case with the Quesada Reserva Privada Barber-Pole Robusto, as this is an excellent cigar.
As we did when we assessed the original Quesada Reserva Privada and Quesada Reserva Privada Oscaro, we provide some context for how this project came to be:
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.
The Quesada Reserva Privada Barber-Pole has its origins as a shop exclusive to Fine Ash Cigars in Avondale, Arizona. That shop exclusive was released in a 5 3/8 x 46 Corona Gorda. Based on the success of that shop exclusive, a national release Quesada Reserva Privada Barber-Pole was launched at the 2016 IPCPR Trade Show in two new sizes (Toro and Robusto). The Corona Gorda size still remains only available as a Fine Ash Cigars shop exclusive.
Without further ado, let’s break down the Quesada Reserva Privada Barber-Pole Robusto and see what this cigar brings to the table.
In addition to the Barber Pole wrappers, the cigar is highlighted by what is now 20-year-old aged Dominican San Vincente tobacco used in the binder and filler. The filler also incorporates some Pennsylvania Ligero.
Wrapper: Connecticut Broadleaf Oscuro, Ecuadorian Connecticut Shade (Barber-Pole)
Binder: Dominican San Vincente (1997 Crop)
Filler: Dominican San Vicente from the 1997 Vintage selected, Pennsylvania Ligero
Country of Origin: Dominican Republic (Quesada Cigars)
The Quesada Reserva Privada Barber-Pole is available in two sizes, plus the Corona Gorda size that is exclusive to Fine Ash. A total of 300 ten-count boxes of each of the two nationally available sizes have been produced.
Robusto: 4 3/4 x 52
Toro: 5 5/8 x 54
Corona Gorda: 5 3/4 x 48 (Fine Ash Cigars Exclusive)
I found the Connecticut Shade and Connecticut Broadleaf wrappers used on the barber-pole of the Quesada Reserva Privada Barber-Pole Robusto created a nice contrasting effect. I didn’t find either of these wrappers to have much in the way of oil on it. The surface was slightly bumpy as there were several visible veins on the surface.
The band of the Quesada Reserva Privada Barber-Pole is the same one used across the other cigars in 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 multiple 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 went with a straight cut to remove the cap of the Quesada Reserva Privada Barber-Pole Robusto. After the cap was removed, I proceeded with the pre-light draw. The dry draw delivered a mix of cream, cedar, and a subtle cherry note. Overall I considered this to be an excellent pre-light draw. At this point I was ready to light up the Quesada Reserva Privada Barber-Pole Robusto and see what the smoking phase would have in store.
The Quesada Reserva Privada Barber-Pole Robusto started with more notes of cream and cherry. Throughout the smoking experience, I found the cherry notes contributed a subtle sweetness to the flavor profile. There also were some coffee and cedar notes present. Early on the cream notes had the edge in the forefront. The coffee and cherry notes remained secondary and the cedar notes were more distant. Meanwhile the retro-hale also delivered a light layer of cedar and pepper.
Later in the first third, the coffee notes increased in intensity. Toward the early part of the second third, the coffee joined the cream in the forefront. It was also during the early stages of the second third where the cedar notes started to increase. Just past the midway point, the cedar and coffee pushed the cream notes into the background. Meanwhile some subtle cherry sweetness remained in the background.
The last third of the Quesada Reserva Privada Barber-Pole Robusto saw the coffee and cedar develop an interesting fusion between the notes. There still was some of the subtle cherry sweetness and cream in the background. This is the way the cigar experience came to a close. The resulting nub was firm to the touch, but cool in temperature.
Burn and Draw
Overall the burn of the Quesada Reserva Privada Barber-Pole Robusto performed quite well. While there was a slight amount of jaggedness on the actual burn line, I found the burn maintained a relatively straight burn path. The burn didn’t seem to have a problem transitioning from one wrapper to the other. The resulting ash was on the firm side with a salt and pepper complexion. The burn temperature was ideal. I did find this cigar smoked slightly faster than I wanted it to (averaging around 50 minutes in duration), but there were no adverse effects other than a shorter smoking time.
The draw of the Quesada Reserva Privada Barber-Pole Robusto was low maintenance. At the same time, there was a touch of resistance to the draw – which is something that I like.
Strength and Body
The cigars of the Quesada Reserva Privada line tend to be on the milder side when it comes to strength and body – and the Reserva Privada Barber-Pole Robusto falls into this category. From a strength perspective, I found the strength and body Reserva Privada Barber-Pole Robusto started out mild to medium. By the second third, both attributes moved into medium territory where the intensity leveled off int he second half.
In terms of strength versus body, I found both balanced each other in the first half, but during the second half, I found the body had the edge.
Whenever a new barber-pole cigar comes out, I’m the first one to admit I want to smoke it. I’ve heard some say they are gimmicky – and there is some validity to that. At the same time, there have been some very good ones. The Quesada Reserva Privada Barber-Pole Robusto falls into the category as one of the better ones. It’s not going to deliver radically different flavors than would expect from a Connecticut Shade/Oscuro barber-pole, but the flavors it delivers are excellent.
The Quesada Reserva Privada Barber-Pole Robusto is something that can be enjoyed by any cigar enthusiast any time of the day. As for myself, this is a cigar I would smoke again – and it’s one that is box-worthy.
Key Flavors: Cream, Coffee, Cherry, Cedar
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 Barber-Pole Launched at 2017 IPCPR
Brand Reference: Quesada
Photo Credits: Cigar Coop