Quesada Selección España H-Town Lancero
So, you guys should all be familiar with Jeff by now. He’s our honorary Casas Fumando writer, and he kicked out tons of great reviews. If he keeps this up we are going to force him to join us full time. Until then, enjoy his newest “Guest” review.
Today I’ll be reviewing the Quesada Selección España H-Town lancero, an exclusive to Houston’ s Stogies World Class Cigars. The Selección España was originally intended solely for the Spanish market (hence its name) upon its release in 2011, but a small handful of retailers in the U.S. were fortunate to receive some of the cigars after they had a chance to try it and raised a clamor asking for it. The lancero size was first produced in an extremely limited amount in 2013, and now are part of Stogie’s “H-Town” series of exclusive lanceros along with ones made by Room 101, Alec Bradley, Fratello, and La Palina. Like the rest of the Españas, it is made at Quesada’s MATASA factory in the Dominican Republic and utilizes an Ecuadorian Arapiraca wrapper, but uses a slightly different filler blend than that of the regular sizes that Quesada lists on its website, as according to the website those include Broadleaf Connecticut in the filler while the H-Town does not. Stogies World Class Cigars sells them online in singles, five packs, and in boxes of 20, which greatly reduces the price per cigar.
Tony had previously done a blind review of the original Quesada Selección España in the Corona size back in 2011 (here), and gave it a rave review. I had always wanted to give the line a try after reading that review, but wasn’t able to procure any until now. So let’s see how this version of the cigar stacks up.
Wrapper: Ecuadorian Arapiraca
Filler: Nicaraguan and Dominican
Size: Lancero 7×38
Smoking time: One hour, twenty minutes
Pairing: Sierra Nevada Oktoberfest 2015 (6% ABV)
The Quesada Selección España H-Town lancero presents itself in an orange tinged medium milk chocolate brown wrapper with darker spots sprinkled throughout and one fairly large Frankenstein stitched vein. It is triple capped and firmly packed with a couple of softer spots. The cigar sports the usual España double band, but with a third band added to designate it as the H-Town. All in all, a very nice presentation, as the band colors coordinate well with that of the wrapper. The wrapper gives off a tangy barnyard scent, while the foot shows pretty much a normal natural tobacco. After snipping off the cap, the cold draw gives up a light tobacco and leaves a bit of saltiness on my lips.
Lighting up reveals an ideal draw, producing a nice volume of smoke, musty tobacco, and a very smooth cedar, which deepens on the retrohale, along with a small touch of saltiness. The burn line has started out a bit thick and wavy, but is doing its best to even itself out, leaving behind a uniformly light gray ash which fell off after reaching three quarters of an inch before I could get a picture of it. The mustiness has shifted to more of a musk, and while the smoke is very smooth on the palate, there is some – but not a lot – of peppery bite in the retrohale. There are now some bread notes and smoky cedar char. Not the smoldering campfire type of charred wood, but lighter and sweeter, making for a nice addition to the other flavors without overwhelming them.
Moving into the second third of the Quesada Selección España H-Town, the cedar and musk continue to lead the way, with a bit of tanginess and that tiny touch of salt, while the retrohale features bread and a light pepper bite to balance things out. The body is at the higher end of medium. The ash has been falling off in one inch chunks and I’m starting to feel a bit of nicotine kick from this cigar. Near the end of this section, the H-Town has become almost creamy in texture, but still retains a bit of bite on the back end to keep me on my toes.
In the final portion, the bright acidity has bumped up and the body has moved into the medium-full range. The pepper returns on both the palate and retrohale, and is leaving a tingle on my lips and tongue. The musk has stepped back, but the smoky cedar and bread notes remain at the forefront. The slight nicotine kick can still be felt, but has not increased in strength. With just over an inch left, some faint baking spice notes come into play, and the sharpness on the retrohale has increased and remains that way as it smokes down to a very small and cool nub.
I found the Quesada Selección España H-Town lancero to be a very enjoyable smoke. One of the drawbacks of reviewing cigars from my point of view is that sometimes I tend to concentrate too much on describing the flavors, rather than just being able to sit back and enjoy the experience. This seems to be one of those times, as looking over this write up, it doesn’t necessarily sound like it’s as nice a smoke as it actually was. I know the first two that I smoked were way up there in terms of enjoyment for me, with good transitions, flavors, and smoothness, as well as solid construction, all at a fair price. I did have to touch it up a few times and re-light it once, but those corrections were minor and didn’t affect the quality of the smoking experience, and it burned through that one goofy vein without any problems. I strongly believe that this is a cigar that is well worth looking into, especially as it is a limited shop exclusive.
While trying to figure out what to pair the H-Town with, I ran across the first Oktoberfest beer that I have seen this year. Coming in at an easy to take 6% ABV, the Sierra Nevada Oktoberfest is a nicely malty and smooth quaff with a nice balance of light sweetness and bittering hops that makes for a good match with the cigar, and also works as a good palate cleanser (I was actually looking for a nice porter, but this is not exactly the right season for finding those on store shelves). I think a bourbon or rum would make for a very nice pairing as well.