It’s probably a bit misleading to call it a trend since cigar smokers have been looking for ways to enjoy their sticks in the colder weather for generations, but recently manufacturers have become more responsive to this situation by releasing smaller vitolas for the winter, and in some cases, releasing special samplers geared towards consumers looking for a more compact smoke.
Case in point: Quesada, who recently released the Quesada Winter Pack, a five-cigar sampler with individual cigars all measuring 4 x 50 and with an impressive price point of $24.99, before taxes.
Terence Reilly, general manager of Quesada Cigars, said the sampler was inspired by the desire to accommodate smokers who have to deal with indoor smoking bans and cold weather, which make larger vitolas difficult to enjoy.
But the sampler isn’t just five off-the-shelf cigars in a decorative box. Three of the blends—the Heisenberg, Quesada 40th Anniversary and Tributo—have never been released in this size before. The other two cigars, the Selección España Short Robusto and Oktoberfest Kurz, are regular but limited production and often hard to find. The sampler itself is also limited; just 2,000 are being made and they will only be sold over the winter months.
As for the Heisenberg by Quesada, as it’s formally known, the line debuted in January 2013 and was shrouded in mystery since its first mention. Quesada began sending out somewhat cryptic messages to retailers informing of the new cigar and telling them to “embrace uncertainty,” the theme of both the cigar and a nod to the uncertainty principle, which Werner Heisenberg is closely associated with. In 1927, he said that the more precisely the position of a particle is known, the less precisely its momentum can be known, and vice versa. Heisenberg was a German theoretical physicist and one of the pioneers in the field of quantum mechanics.
The name was fitting for the project because Quesada wouldn’t be disclosing information about the blend in an attempt to encourage consumers to enjoy the cigar with a clean mind and without any preconceived notion as to what it might taste like. The line debuted in four sizes, a 4 3/4 x 40 Corona, 4 x 43 Petite, 5 x 48 Robusto and a 5 1/4 x 44/48/55 figurado called the Coronet Cuadrada.
The formal explanation for the Heisenberg goes as follows:
The Heisenberg project is named after the scientific formula of the same name that proves the fundamental limits of precision: in other words, no matter how much we know about something we will never know everything; the more we focus on one aspect, the less we know about another. The Heisenberg project has two intentions: to dispel the stereotypes that limit our ability to enjoy a cigar and remind aficionados that sometimes its best to sit back, relax, and just enjoy a smoke without over analyzing it. To put it simply, “Embrace Uncertainty!” How often do we pass on an opportunity to experience a new cigar because it’s not from a certain country, factory, or made from certain tobaccos? How often do we spend our time analyzing every flavor and nuance in a cigar rather than simply enjoying it in the moment? So with this in mind we will not be releasing any information on the Heisenberg blend, number of cigars made, or description of strength, flavor, etc. We want aficionados to smoke the Heisenberg with as few preconceived notions as possible. Just light this cigar up and smoke it wherever it is you enjoy a cigar the most; whether in solitude at home, with friends at the local cigar shop, or while taking the dog for a walk. We know this is an unusual way to release a cigar. We don’t know how it will turn out. All we can do is “Embrace Uncertainty.” We are asking you to do the same.
The Quesada family
Since its launch, the Heisenberg line has grown a bit, first adding two 6 x 56/65 figurados called the TP40Q as a store exclusive for Tobacco Plaza in New York as part of the store’s 40th anniversary celebration in July 2013. A total of 1,000 cigars were produced for that release, half of which were round and the other half getting a box press. Three more sizes were added in the fourth quarter of 2013 and the Short Robusto is the most recent size making it 10 total vitolas.
- Heisenberg by Quesada Petite (4 x 43) — January 2013 — Regular Production
- Heisenberg by Quesada Corona (4 3/4 x 40) — January 2013 — Regular Production
- Heisenberg by Quesada Robusto (5 x 48) — January 2013 — Regular Production
- Heisenberg by Quesada Coronet Cuadrada (5 1/4 x 44/48/55) — January 2013 — Regular Production
- Heisenberg by Quesada TP40Q (6 x 56/65) — July 2013 — 50 Boxes of 10 Cigars (500 Total Cigars)
- Heisenberg by Quesada TP40Q Box-Pressed (6 x 56/65) — July 2013 — 50 Boxes of 10 Cigars (500 Total Cigars)
- Heisenberg by Quesada W65 (4 x 65) — November 2013 — Regular Production
- Heisenberg by Quesada W (3 x 50) — November 2013 — Regular Production
- Heisenberg by Quesada W² (5 x 60) — November 2013 — Regular Production
- Heisenberg by Quesada Short Robusto (4 x 50) — November 2014 — 2,000 Boxes of 1 Cigar (2,000 Total Cigars)
Shortly before the 2014 IPCPR Convention & Trade Show, Quesada announced that the Heisenberg line would get a new presentation in the form of a chest built to hold all seven regular production vitolas.
- Cigar Reviewed: Heisenberg by Quesada Petit Robusto
- Country of Origin: Dominican Republic
- Factory: Quesada Cigars
- Wrapper: n/a
- Binder: n/a
- Filler: n/a
- Size: 4 Inches
- Ring Gauge: 50
- Vitola: Short Robusto
- MSRP: $4.99 (Boxes of 5, $24.95)
- Release Date: Nov. 3, 2014
- Number of Cigars Released: 2,000 Boxes of 1 Cigar (2,000 Total Cigars)
- Number of Cigars Smoked for Review: 3
I both love and hate the appearance of the Heisenberg Short Robusto; its compact size is perfect for the cooler weather; its band a reminder of struggling through calculus in high school. That aside, it’s an attractive cigar and the length seems to make the ring gauge feel a bit smaller as well. It’s a firm cigar but with a smooth wrapper leaf that has just a bit of sheen to it and a fairly typical number and size of veins. The cap is neatly applied and is the only place I found any construction issues as the first cigar smoked had a piece of tobacco that looked like it was trying to push through, and as such throwing off the otherwise flat appearance. The pre-light aroma is cool, light and offers a touch of sweetness, a bit like opening up a pack of graham crackers but with a bit more tanginess. The draw is well calibrated and offers an even brighter note at first before turning richer and a touch meatier. Steak sauce was the first impression that came to mind.
While there’s a good amount of texture and body to the smoke in the first puffs of the Heisenberg, specific flavors are having a hard time sticking out and leave me with general impressions of wood and pepper, the latter more prevalent in retrohales than on the tongue. If I would have used a book of wood matches to light the cigar, I could easily think that’s what I’m smelling, as the wood takes on a slight char note before the burn line has progressed an inch. There are also spots early on where a hearty tree bark note comes out along, and the pepper component seems to vary from cigar to cigar; sometimes being a minor factor while other times being much more upfront, and between the two the latter seems preferential, giving a more complete picture of the tobacco while also eliciting a nice lingering tingle in the nose. Technical performance has been very good so far, with only my momentary inattentiveness to the cigar forcing a quick touch up.
A somewhat inauspicious start is quickly put in the past as the Heisenberg hits its second third, ramping up in both strength and flavor with smoke production also increasing noticeably. The cigar takes on a much more smokey flavor by its midpoint, robust at times without being gritty or harsh, and offering a good lingering flavor in the mouth. I’m also a bit surprised by how slowly the cigar is burning, as it took me nearly an hour to get the final third on the first cigar, though that time was much shorter on the second, when I tried to be a bit more diligent in my puffing. The cigar continues to burn flawlessly, and other than a slightly tight draw there is nothing to complain about as the burn line is even, the ash is tight and strong and smoke production is more than abundant.
There’s a continued building and evolution of the body of the Heisenberg Short Robusto, as it doesn’t veer too far in one direction or another since waking up in the previous third but shows leanings towards more wood or more pepper in various puffs. Unlike with smaller ring gauges, a little more fervent rate of puffing brings out a hearty strength the cigar as the heat makes the pepper come alive and more aggressive in the nose, while the palate gets a much fuller bodied experience, yet it never turns harsh, almost as if this blend was built to be smoked fairly quickly. With just about an inch left a thick and sweet aroma comes off the cigar while its rests, with a big chalk note behind that. There still hasn’t been a single demerit issued to the Heisenberg Short Robusto based on how it has burned, and the cigar can be taken down to a pretty good nub if time and temperature allow.
- In his review of the Quesada 40th Anniversary Short Robusto, Brooks Whittington noted that there is roughly a difference of $3 between that cigar and the next smallest size in the line. The difference in the Heisenberg line isn’t that stark: a 4 x 43 petite costs about $4.50, while the 4 3/4 x 40 corona is $5.50.
- The one interesting pricing note is the 3 x 50 W, which costs $4.95, roughly the same price as this despite being an inch shorter.
- Here is your obligatory Breaking Bad reference.
- For those that think there is no such thing as cold weather in Phoenix, I say otherwise. While it’s still mild and even warm by the accounts of many, for those that have lived here for a while, the low 60s is considered downright chilly.
- Having lived in states that are on opposite ends of the spectrum in terms of climate and having places to smoke (Washington and Arizona), I really feel for those in colder climates that don’t have access to indoor lounges.
- Depending on your drive, this could also be a good commute cigar. A company could really brand these in a number of ways.
- Crowned Heads recently announced a new size of Jericho Hill that is geared towards smoking in the colder months, the 4 x 42 Shots.
- Quesada Cigars advertises on halfwheel.
- Final smoking time averaged just about an hour, though I found myself stretching out the first cigar to about an hour and 35 minutes
- The cigars for this review were purchased by halfwheel.
- Site sponsor Atlantic Cigar carries the Heisenberg line, though they do not appear to be carrying the Winter Pack.
If you’re looking for a hearty smoke in a small format, there’s a lot to like about the Quesada Heisenberg Short Robusto. The pepper is plentiful enough to satisfy those who like a nose-tingling cigar, while the palate is never lacking for flavor, a combination that is almost guaranteed to leave you satisfied even if the weather is chilly and the cigar isn’t as long as you might otherwise prefer. It’s a bit of a shame that so few of these are being produced, fortunately there are some other regular production sizes that are very close to this vitola to satisfy your hankering for a Heisenberg in the colder months.