Earlier, we broke news on The Quesada Blender’s Sampler, a new limited edition Robusto sampler from Quesada and its U.S. distribution arm, SAG Imports.
SAG Imports, the distribution arm of Quesada, is set to release its most popular blends in the form of a special sampler. The Quesada Blender’s Sampler will feature eight Robustos, two each of the: Quesada Tributo, Quesada Jalapa, Quesada Selección España and a test blend.
There will be 1,000 samplers with MSRP set at $75.00. Terrence Reilly of SAG Imports told halfwheel that the cigars are available to all accounts, previously Quesada’s España has only been offered in Spain and a small handful of U.S. accounts.
“The idea is to provide a single unit in which many of our cigars, including rare ones such as the España, can be purchased together, and to get customer feedback on how the new sample blend stands up against them in terms of flavor and complexity,” said Reilly.
According to Reilly, if there is enough positive feedback on the test blend it will go into production beyond the samplers.
The samplers should arrive in retailers by the end of the week.
Inside each of the samplers is the following card.
While the details on the test blends are still relatively unknown, Reilly confirmed to halfwheel this is a Dominican puro.
- Cigar Reviewed: Quesada The Blender’s Sampler Robusto
- Country of Origin: Dominican Republic
- Factory: The Quesada Factory (MATASA)
- Wrapper: Dominican HVA
- Binder: Dominican Republic
- Filler: Dominican Republic
- Size: 5 Inches
- Ring Gauge: 50
- Vitola: Robusto
- MSRP: $9.38 (Samplers of 8, $75.00)
- Date Released: January 11, 2013
- Number of Cigars Released: 1,000 Samplers of 2 Cigars (2,000 Total Cigars)
- Number of Cigars Smoked For Review: 2
The Dominican HVA wrapper has a great color, but the real value is how it feels: smooth. Really smooth. There’s a medium-full aroma of leather and pepper with some added fruits, spices and pepper from the foot. The Blender’s Sampler Robusto, what we are calling this cigar, has a great triple cap, which is not an everyday occurrence from a Dominican cigar, but appreciated nonetheless. Unfortunately, on both cigars the cold draw was open, really open, too open. Full flavor, including a beautiful mixture of pepper and floral, but a concerning lack of control and feeling in regards to the draw.
The Blender’s Sampler Robusto struggles to stay lit right out of the gate in the first third. On both cigars I work to keep the Quesada from going out, despite a lengthy and thorough lighting process. Unfortunately, the beloved floral note is gone and the cigar starts woody and pepper with the latter all over the mouth. That continues into the first third with a big pepper note, generic woodiness and a touch of orange peel. Construction-wise, my frustration with the Quesada is now on the draw and burn, open and inconsistent.
Into the second third and the cold draw is back. The Quesada is pretty easy to describe: pepper and floral, both big. Complexity? Not so much. Detail? Yes. There might only be two flavors, and both could be better, but the Blender’s Sampler is unique. What’s also noticeable from the transition between the first and second thirds is how much bigger the flavor got. Smoke production is inconsistent, but generally decent enough for me to refrain from complaining.
Honestly, I had no expectations or guesses for what the final third was going to be like. The Blender’s Sampler Robusto shocks me with a Cubanesque flavor that was nowhere to be found before. It’s got a bit of the sweetness and sugariness, dare I say even an argument for twang. The floral note is still around in lesser form and now there’s a great saltiness. Where did that come from.
- There has been a lot of discussion about the price of the sampler and for good reason. Two Tributo Julios should set you back $13.00, the Jalapas at $7.75 MSRP a piece are another $15.50 together and the España Robustos are $16.00 for the pair. The six released cigars add up to a price of about $45.00, which leads to a few questions. A. Are the two test blends really $15.00 a piece? B. Does the box really cost an extra $10.00? C. Are people really paying $10.00+ for some of these blends outside of tax-heavy places. The España and Jalapa are both cigars I like a lot and good cigars regardless of price, but the value is what really made these notable offerings.
- The strength was pretty much medium up until the final third, then it was at least medium-full, maybe full.
- If I had my way, I’d like the flavors reversed so I could toss the cigar by the time the generic woodiness and pepper presents itself.
- This was not Quesada’s best construction. Inconsistent at every turn, although never really problematic. Be prepared to baby this cigar, it does not do well resting for two minutes or more.
- Body is all over the place as well: medium in the first third, full in the second third and medium in the final third.
- Quesada says they want your feedback about this cigar, so flood Terence Reilly’s email.
- Robusto is not my favorite size of España, Jalapa or Tributo. If you are wondering, I’d rank the sampler: Jalapa, Test Blend, España, Tributo.
- Reilly told me there’s a small amount of Jalapa that wasn’t released as part of the 2012 release. There’s a chance we could see a couple thousand cigars in a sampler like this again, but he tells me there are only a few left.
- This is an odd cigar, it’s not outside of Quesada’s current portfolio strength or body-wise, but the lack of sensible progression in the cigar makes it hard to say this fits in the profile.
- Draw was too open for me. By the end it seemed to have tightened a bit, but a bit of resistance would be a welcome addition.
- The cigars for this review were sent by site sponsor SAG Imports/Quesada.
- Final smoking time was one hour and 30 minutes. I babied both.
- New site sponsor Cigar King (1.800.669.7167) is expecting The Blender’s Sampler anyway. The only way to get this cigar for now is through this sampler. Don’t forget to tell them halfwheel sent you.
Brooks Whittington and I had a lengthy discussion about this cigar and how to score things like this. The reality is I really enjoyed the second third's floral and pepper combination, but it's not for everyone. Unfortunately, the final third, unique as it was, was only an average Cuban at best if I were to be honest—and that is by far the most complex part of The Blender's Sampler Robusto. I'd smoke a few more of these, maybe even buy a sampler to do so, but I'm not sure I'd recommend this cigar to very many people. It's got some flaws: a boring first third, below average construction and a price tag that is a bit questionable; and in today's market, three small strikes can mean you're out. A good cigar at times, and one that I enjoyed more than the score mentions, but overall it's just somewhere around average.