Quesada 40th Anniversary Corona Clasica
The Quesada 40th Anniversary Corona Clasica is the final chapter in the 40th anniversary series and is up at bat this weekend.
The Good Stuff:
This year Quesada announced a new line of cigars created to celebrate 40 years of hard work. The 40th anniversary is composed of three regular production lines: Robusto – 5 x 52, Toro – 6 x 54, and the Toro Real – 6 x 65. There are two limited edition vitolas: Toro press – 6 x 49 boxpress, and the Salomon Press with is a 6 ¾ x 50/33. It’s a crazy size with a Salomon foot and head and a slender box-press body. Through those 5 sizes the blend is consistent featuring a Mexican San Andreas wrapper, Dominican Binder, and Dominican and Nicaraguan fillers. The 40th Anniversary Corona Clasica shares the same name as it’s 5 brothers, but the blend is quite different featuring an Ecuadorian Connecticut Wrapper, and a tweaked blend using a Dominican Criollo binder with Dominican and Nicaraguan fillers. The 40th Anniversary Corona Clasica is blended by Manuel “Manolo” Quesada Jr. and is only available at events that he personally attends where it is sold in packs of five. After the event, that specific retailer who put on the event is able to sell the cigars which then comes in 50 count cabinets. You can find a bit more information about the blend over at Halfwheel’s site. While these may be elusive to some, I was able to pick up a handful over at Smokeinn and believe they still may have them in stock. Like many of the other cigars is the 40th anniversary line, the Corona Clasica is a limited run so you may want to pick them up while you can.
Size: 6.5 x 46
Wrapper: Ecuadorian Connecticut
Binder: Dominican Criollo
Filler: Dominican and Nicaraguan
Pairing: Prairie Artisan Ales – Prairie Ale (Saison 8.2% ABV)
The Quesada 40th Anniversary Corona Clasica is mostly covered in a soft white tissue. While the tissue gives the cigar an interesting look and provides a bit of protection for the rather delicate Ecuadorian Connecticut leaf, it’s a pain in the ass to get off on all the Corona Clasicas that I have smoked. Not only is it tightly twisted around the foot, but they also have a small strip of glue on them. In a few cases it worked against the attempt to protect the leave as it tore small parts of the wrapper off during removal. On the plus side, the tears were all very minor and never harmed the smoking experience. Once the tissue has been successfully removed a beautiful, light brown wrapper is on display. The wrapper is pretty consistent in it’s yellowish-brown color but features a few areas of green tinted leaf, and darker brown webbing. As I stated before, the wrapper is pretty thin and delicate but the filler is very tightly packed and firm with no soft spots at all. The long body which resembles more of a toroish vitola leads up to a beautiful round triple cap. The construction is perfect. The cigar is then polished off with a double band. The first is one we are familiar with as it came on the Seleccion de Espana blend featuring a black, gold, white, and silver color wheel and Quesada’s emblem. The second features the same colors with the elegant writing of “40th Anniversary” on the front. The presentation on this cigar is incredible and I just can’t wait to light it up.
The wrapper on the 40th Anniversary Corona Clasica gives off a very bold grassy/mossy aroma with hints of tobacco while the foot of the cigar features much more spice and cedar. The cap cut clean and very easily using my Palio double bladed cutter. The cold draw features much of the same with lots of spice and cedar backed by grassy notes and even a bit of sweetness.
The first draws on Quesada’s 40th Anniversary Corona Clasica start out very salty, with some slight pepper and spice over lots of sweetness, citrus, cedar, and floral notes. As I carried on the saltiness began to face and the spice became a bit more prominent. The draw is a bit snug, but nothing too bad. The burnline is razor thing producing a very pretty, tightly compacted, dark and medium gray ash which held on for an inch before softly falling into my ashtray.
The floral flavors have really taken off in the second third of the Quesada 40th Anniversary Corona Clasica. Each puff the spice peeks through more and more as the cedar and sweetness are still in the mix. It seems all the flavors have to battle through the strong floral flavors to get attention, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing. The floral notes are great. The 40th Anniversary Corona Clasica has a real Cubanesque feel to it’s flavor profile. The retrohale is very smooth and it lets the cigar show off those spice and cedar notes more. The burnline is still rockin’ even and I am feeling absolutely no nicotine as I close out the second third.
The final third of Quesada’s 40th Anniversary Corona Clasica is where the cigar really starts to shine. Up until now the body was medium at best, but it’s now pushing it into the medium/full range with lots more cedar and spice, sweetness, and citrus while the floral flavors begin to fizzle out. I am starting to pick up a bit more of the pepper though, although it’s quite mild. I’m just surprised it’s still present at this point in the experience. The burnline has been perfect the whole time. I never once had to reach for my torch the hour and a half it took to take the 40th Anniversary Corona Clasica down. I smoked this bad boy down until my fingertips were on fire encountering absolutely no harshness at all. Knowing the blend, I do recommend taking your time with this one. If you speed through it there is a good chance you just may encounter some harsher areas.
Having smoked a few of the 40th Anniversary sizes outside of the Corona Clasica, there really isn’t any similarities between the two. The standard 40th anniversary is bolder, sweeter, and flavorful while the Corona Clasica is much more cubanesque, milder, and in my opinion much more balanced and well-rounded. I seldom reach for Connecticut wrapped cigars, but this is one that I could see myself smoking all day. Flavorful enough for the evening, mild enough for the morning. The construction is absolutely flawless, and the experience is incredible while the price point is just. My only suggestion is to lose that tissue, it’s a bit of a pain. I picked up quite a few of these and will probably grab some more. If you happen to come across these do yourself a favor and pick a few up.
Prairie Artisan Ales’ Prairie Ale is an 8.2% ABV Saison style Farmhouse ales brewed at the Prairie Artisan brewery in Oklahoma. I’m a big fan of Saison style ales, especially in fall. The citrus, spice, and fruit really match the weather’s mood, and most of them come in at a nice, high ABV. The Prairie Ale is very light, leading with strong citrus, doughy bread, and spice with a light mouthfeel and a strong citrus and bitterness on the finish. It has a bit of bite, but finishes crisp. The first time I smoked the 40th Anniversary Corona Clasica I immediately pictures pairing this with a light saison. I needed something that had some citrus and spice, but wasn’t overpowering at all as the cigar could easily be overdone by a bolder pairing. The Prairie Ale fit that description to a tee. The citrus, spice, and even the bready flavor paired up perfectly with the existing flavors in the 40th Anniversary. Other pairing would include coffee, a Belgian golden ale, or a mild Marzen.