Quesada Oktoberfest 2014 Eval

There are definite signs that the summer is coming to an end for me:

  • People stop wearing white pants and shoes
  • There are fewer mosquitoes in my yard
  • Oktoberfest beers dominate the coolers in local grocery stores

And like they’ve done for the past 4 years, Quesada is celebrating this world famous festival by releasing the 2014 edition of their Oktoberfest cigars. This year’s rendition comes in 6 vitolas. For this eval I partook in the Kaiser Ludwig…a 6 x 49 box pressed cigar that consisted of:

Wrapper: Dominican Cibao Valley
Binder: Dominican Republic
Filler: Dominican Cuban Seed Criollo, Olor Viso, Ligero

According to the company’s site, “the Quesada family blended this cigar specifically to be paired with the flavorful Marzen-style beer produced for Oktoberfest…and is available in very limited quantities.”

Now I’m a very visual guy, and my first impressions of this vitola were not good ones, as I LOVE a good box pressed cigar and I’m a sucker for presentation. I liked the design of the label as the vibrancy of the blue and gold made you feel like you were about to experience something regal. Once you pick up the stick, you notice right away just how skinny this cigar is, measuring a little under half an inch tall. It almost seemed as if the cigars were left in the press a little too long which caused the wrapper to appear almost folded in spots. Whether this was by design, I’m not sure, but it was worthy to note. To be fair, I took a closer look at others in the box and this trait was pretty consistent with the cigars that I could see. Taking a closer look at the shape, one side of the cigar seemed flatter than the other, as one side seemed a bit rounder.

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Additionally, the thick, dark Dominican wrapper was not veiny at all, but was rough from foot to head, almost bunched in a few areas. One side of the cigar seemed really bumpy and inconsistent with the rest. Lastly the cap was poorly placed and one could definitely see where the wrapper ended and the cap began…as there were sections where the cap almost seemed to miss the mark, much like the back of the band did (see photo below).

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My hope before I lit it was that I’d be blown away by the taste because the sight of the Oktoberfest left something to be desired and there was little to no aroma coming from the cigar pre-light.

The draw was impeccable, so I began to get hopeful and I dove into the first third. I was immediately greeting with a peppery taste a good amount of body. My initial thought was this cigar would actually make up in body what I personally felt it lacked in appearance. After about 8-10 minutes, the spice and strength calmed and I picked up faint notes of a semi-sweet, somewhat bitter chocolate.

I drank water as I smoked, as I remembered that the 2013 version I had enjoyed a year earlier actually reminded me of beer. So this time I wanted to really taste what I was smoking without actually pairing it with an Oktoberfest beer as the company suggested. I actually believe now after smoking this cigar that pairing it with the beer just might have enhanced the flavor.

The ash was strong, thick and very toothy, as it actually stayed put until I was about 3 inches into it. Even after the ash fell off by itself, the burn remained even throughout and as I smoked the second third through the end, the body it started with really went away.

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Overall, this cigar rated 2.6 on the CigaHr 5-point scale, scoring highest in burn and ash, while scoring the lowest in wrapper, appearance and flavor. My final impression was that the idea had to be for the smoker to get most of the flavors from pairing it with an Oktoberfest beer, as alone the flavor profile was underwhelming. While I do enjoy smoking cigars and partaking in adult beverages at the same time, I should be able to enjoy them independently as well. Hopefully the 2015 edition will allow me to do just that.

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