Quesada Reserva Privada
The Quesada Reserva Privada has been creating quite a buzz around the cigar community as of late. I was lucky enough to get my hands on a few and couldn’t wait to fire them up and offer you all my thoughts.
The Good Stuff:
The Quesada Reserva Privada was unveiled at this 2015 ProCigar festival in the Dominican Republic. The Reserva Privada is among one of the first cigars introduced by the Quesada family as an higher level premium cigar. Along with that, the Quesadas used a vintage tobacco farmed in 1997 which adds a special “something-something” to this blend. That’s right, in 1997 Manuel Quesada (who owns Quesada Cigars) convinced his father Manuel Sr. and broth Alvaro to gather an exceptional crop of San Vincente tobacco and set it aside to be used for a special project down the line. Cigar Coop had some good insight as to what made this crop so special:
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.
And that is how the Quesada Reserva Privada came to be. It’s worth noting that the cigars have also been aging for a year since the cigars were rolled.
The Quesada Reserva Privada is offered in three sizes: Robusto (4 3/4 x 52), Toro (5 5/8 x 54), and the Toro (6 1/2 x 56). The cigars will come in boxes of 10 running between $12.95 and $14.95 a stick. Since the tobacco is obviously no longer in existence this will be a very limited run. Some of these cigars have started to creep into a few select shops across the US with more on the way. I purchased mine over from the great guys at Serious Cigars in Houston (who at the time of this post still have some in stock).
Size: 4 3/4 x 52
Wrapper: Ecuadorian Connecticut
Binder: Dominican San Vincente (from a 1997 crop)
Filler: Dominican San Vincente from the 1997 Vintage selected from the Cosecha Pareja crops and Pennsylvania Ligero
Pairing: Brouwerij Verhaeghe Duchesse De Bourgogne (Flanders Red Ale 6% ABV)
The Quesada Reserva Privada starts out with a silk smooth, light brown wrapper. The color is so incredibly consistent on this bad boy that the smaller veins which run the length of the cigar’s body are almost hidden. The wrapper’s texture is very smooth with some slight tooth, and light oils throughout the cigar with the exception of the cap area which showcases a much more oily composition than the rest of the cigar. The Quesada Reserva Privada feels very tightly packed and absolutely solid while the wrapper of the cigar feels very thin and delicate. The seamless leaf leads through to bulky body of the cigar up to a beautiful, round, triple cap. The Quesada Reserva Privada is polished off with a black, metallic silver and metallic gold band which features the standard Quesada crest on the front, “Reserva Privada” along the sides, and “Licey Rep. Dom.” and “Hecho by Mano” on the back in small print.
The wrapper on the Quesada Reserva Privada gives off a whole lot more aroma than I expected leading with some strong, sweet honey, natural tobacco and some slight spice while the foot of the cigar is much more natural with a very spicy/peppery front to it. The cap cut like butter on my Palio double bladed cutter. The cold draw produces some strong honey notes, slight spice, cedar, and natural tobacco flavors.
The Quesada Reserva Privada starts out with some slight black pepper which quickly fades as the cigar begins to showcase some strong cedar, honey, grain, natural tobacco and grassiness with just a little bit of spice on the finish. The draw on this cigar is incredible despite my fear of being too tightly packed. Each tiny little puff kicked out massive clouds of thick white smoke while the Quesada Reserva Privada released almost no stationary smoke as it sat in my ashtray. The burn line was a bit wavy, but started to correct itself halfway through the first third. The ash left behind was a tightly compacted white and light gray which held on for about an inch before falling into my lap explaining why my next picture isn’t as beautiful as it usually is.
It’s crazy just how much flavor this Quesada Reserva Privada is kicking out. The cedar has really taken over the second third with lots of sweet honey, natural tobacco, grassiness, and a great floral flavor that has emerged. This cigar is so incredibly smooth and is easy on my nasal passages as well coating them with a really sweet cedar as I retrohale. The burn line has been perfect since about the middle of the first third and I am feeling absolutely nada in the nicotine department.
The flavors have remained bold, yet really smooth as I venture into the final third of the Quesada Reserva Privada. Still lots of cedar and sweet honey, floral notes, grassiness and grain as well as the introduction of a nice, soft musky flavor. It took me a little over an hour to smoke this cigar down until I could no longer hold it in my chubby little fingers without burning them. Along the way I experience absolutely no harshness, no overheating, and no nicotine kick whatsoever.
No doubt about it the Quesada Reserva Privada rocked. Lately, in my opinion, Quesada has been hitting home runs ever time it steps up to the plate but the Reserva Privada is on a whole new level. I am not big on Connecticut shade cigars as I’ve stated numerous times in the past but this cigar is in a league of it’s own and easily the best Connecticut wrapped cigar I have ever had the pleasure of smoking. The flavors are bold and complex yet incredibly smooth and creamy. This price point is way up there, I know, but with a 1997 vintage and such a great experience I’d gladly pay it time and time again. This is a box-worthy cigar for sure, and I am sure I am going to get my hands on as many as I can carry.
Such an exceptional cigar required an equally exceptional beer pairing. I can’t even count how many times someone has asked me “What is your all-time favorite beer?”. While that’s a very difficult question to answer, more time than not my answer is the Duchesse De Bourgogne. Brewed at the Brouwerij Verhaeghe in Belgium this Flanders Red Ale comes in at a modest 6% ABV. While this is a “Sour Ale” it differs quite a bit from others as it’s so incredibly sweet. The beer starts out with a splash of sweetness, apple, and berry with a very light mouthfeel before finishing crisp with a bit of brown sugar, sour grape, and a mess of sweet apple. Yeah, there is some sourness in there but its overshadowed by the sweetness. The sweetness and fruit is what drew me to this pairing as it complimented the honey, sweetness, and floral flavors from the Quesada Reserva Privada completely. I think the real story here is that the Connecticut wrapped Reserva Privada stood it’s ground and wasn’t overpowered whatsoever by such a potent flavor profile found in the Duchesse.