BACKGROUND: I first featured the Quesada Tributo in Episode 226 on Sunday, June 20, 2010. These cigars have been resting in my humidor for 1 year, 2 months and I pulled out a couple of samples last week to see what an extra year of age has wrought.
These cigars are manufactured at the Matasa (Manufactura de Tabacos S. A.) factory in the Dominican Republic. This factory was launched in 1974 as a small operation with only three rollers and Manuel Quesada leading the endeavor. Prior to that, the Quesada family had been leaf processors in Cuba. With 5 generations of family involved in the business, the Quesada's have roots in the tobacco industry that reach back for more than 100 years.
In 2008, the 5th generation of Quesada's decided it was time to nudge the company in a new direction by creating a new Quesada family brand that would pay homage to the family tradition and heritage. In February 2010, I was one of 40 or so people who were on hand to witness the pre-release of the new Quesada Tributo. Tributo, which means "tribute," was produced through the collaborative effort of the entire 5th generation of the Quesada clan. As the name suggests, this cigar is a tribute to those who are no longer alive, but whose lives and memories have shaped the younger generation. It was an emotional event and a once in a lifetime experience, not to mention that the cigar was up to the occasion.
The blend of this cigar starts with a core of Dominican and Nicaraguan filler, a Nicaraguan binder and an Ecuadorian hybrid wrapper. The wrapper is a dark chocolate brown with small veins and with moderate oils exuding from the leaf. The Tributo cigar, comes in four sizes and bears the name of the family members whose lives are being celebrated by the sharing of this new cigar. Those names are: Manolin, Alvaro, Alvarito and Julio. Today's featured Tribute is the 6-inch x 52 Alvaro Belicoso.
TASTING NOTES: The Tributo comes out of the gate with deep earthy flavors on the palate and retrohale. There is also a spicy sweetness. This cigar sports notes of coffee and finishes with substantial pepper spice on the tongue. On the retrohale I picked up a nice balance between wood, sweetness and spice. A year of extra aging has not diminished the best qualities in this torpedo. It is still full in flavor and medium-full in body and strength with big flavor and body.
The cigar exhibited a tight draw and a tunnel in the center of the bunch affected the burn in the first third. The slightly off-kilter burn line was also a bit blistered. The slightly stiff draw may have contributed to the slight bitterness on the aftertaste.
Because of the burn issues with the first sample, I decided to do a flambé purge the cigar at the one-third mark. That definitely freshened and sweetened the flavors nicely. However, even when I burned past the tunnel, the draw was still a bit stiff and I once again experienced some bitterness.
FINAL THOUGHTS: The Quesada Tributo is a cigar with a unique pedigree. The hybrid wrapper gives a unique full flavor and the extra ligero tobacco creates a body and strength profile that will lead to excellent long-term aging, in my opinion. This cigar manages to be complex, while still satisfying a craving for a robust and flavorful cigar. I have no doubt that this will be a great "archive selection" cigar and will age well for 5 years or more.
The first of two samples was the first time I've experienced a wayward burn with the Tributo. Most samples have been rock solid on the construction and burn. However, the second sample that I smoked also had a stiff draw, though there were no tunnels that developed and I didn't notice the same bitterness. A tight draw results in overpuffing to get sufficient smoke into the mouth and often results in a hotter burn and acrid flavors. I nursed the second sample through repeated dry purging cycles to keep it fresh and that seemed to work pretty well.
Most of these cigars will run between $6.50 and $8.00 per stick, except for the Alvarito, which is around $5.00. This is one of the cigars that I believe shows enough distinction that everyone should try it. This may end up being one of the cigars that you either love or hate. I enjoy these cigars and can recommend them to experienced cigar smokers who like a full-flavored and full-bodied smoke.
These cigars are being stored in the singles drawer within an opened plastic cigar sack. This is to allow some ventilation while also protecting the cigars from wrapper-to-wrapper contact with other cigars in the drawer.
This is the second review in a two-part series of podcast reviews of this cigar. They have been resting in my humidor for 1 year, 4.6 months.
Cigar Info Page » for Quesada, Tributo