One thing that we at halfwheel are trying to do is be better about what cigars we are reduxing. We only do about 12 of these per person per year, so I want to make them count. That meant I spent nearly an hour going through a half dozen humidors trying to find a cigar for today’s redux review.
Sometimes it makes more sense to let the cigar sit for a bit longer before a redux review, sometimes I opt to not redux something because I just reviewed a new cigar from the same company. Sometimes, it’s just a matter of making sure we collectively don’t redux four cigars from the same company in a short period of time. Eventually, I resorted to opening up the archive humidor we have at the office and saw a box jump out: Matilde.
It’s been a while since Maltide released anything new, so I would avoid the problem of reduxing something from a company we just reviewed. Furthermore, there was a cigar in the box that was over four-years-old. Perfect.
The Matilde Quadrata was the company’s third release, a line that sits in between the debut Renacer and the much darker Oscura. It debuted in 2016 in three vitolas, highlighted by an Ecuadorian habano wrapper over a Dominican binder and fillers from the Dominican Republic and Nicaragua. All three sizes have a sharp box press, one of the most aggressive you’ll ever see, which is something I was curious about given that some box-press cigars soften over time if they aren’t stored in their original box, which this one wasn’t.
I reviewed the cigar in August 2016 and deemed it my favorite of the company’s three blends:
The Matilde Quadrata is my favorite of the first three releases from the company. More so than anything, the challenge of the Goldilocks syndrome—trying to make this release fall in between the first two releases in terms of profile—was extremely well executed. While the flavors were not the most complex profile I’ve smoked in recent memory, it does progress nicely from the chocolate start to the toasty finish with a surprise pepper kick at the end. At $9 for the fairly large Toro Bravo size, it’s a rather compelling offering in today’s market; now I want to see if the other sizes provide a more intense flavor.
- Cigar Reviewed: Matilde Quadrata Toro Bravo
- Country of Origin: Dominican Republic
- Factory: Tabacalera Palma
- Wrapper: Ecuador (Habano)
- Binder: Dominican Republic
- Filler: Dominican Republic & Nicaragua
- Length: 6 1/2 Inches
- Ring Gauge: 54
- Vitola: Toro Extra
- MSRP: $9 (Boxes of 20, $180)
- Release Date: July 29, 2016
- Number of Cigars Released: Regular Production
- Number of Cigars Smoked For Review: 1
This particular sample was still in its cellophane, which means there are some minor surprises once I start the review process. I knew the cigar was box-pressed, but I definitely didn’t remember that it was this box-pressed and am surprised that the crisp, near 90-degree edges remain after over four years. The cellophane also hid just how wonderful the wrapper feels to the touch, amongst the softest feeling tobacco I’ve ever felt. I’m not sure what to make of the wrapper aroma as there are normal flavors like nuttiness and raisins, but also something that reminds me a bit like laundry detergent. Given that it’s stored in cellophane, I was expecting a bit more than just the medium-plus aroma, though—once again—this is over four-and-a-half-years old. The foot has a full aroma with sweet chocolate, dark chocolate, raisins and graham cracker. Cold draws remind me of the packaged Starbucks Frappucino drinks with creaminess, coffee, chocolate and raisins. There are also minor amounts of a foul beef jerky-like taste and honey.
The Quadrata Toro Bravo begins with earthiness, leather, creaminess, green grapes and peanut butter. While the flavor is quite enjoyable, about an inch into the cigar I hear some weird noise and then get to watch as the wrapper around the cap begins to come apart. This has been stored inside one of our cabinet humidors, so I don’t think this is because of dry storage. Flavor-wise, there’s lots of earthiness, blackberry jam, coffee and a touch of earthiness. I find some black pepper tingling the back of the throat, but I think that’s more of a result of the finish. Speaking of the finish, there’s meatiness, earthiness, grains, creaminess and a bit of sweetness. Retrohales are crisper with lots of earthiness and wheat over some nuttiness. The retrohale finishes with a lot of bread-like flavors and earthiness. Flavor is full, body is medium-full and strength is mild-medium. Despite the issues with the unraveling head, construction is pretty good. I do need to make a touch-up right as the second third begins, but otherwise construction is okay.
Flavor-wise, it gets much meatier in the second half of the cigar. There’s still an earthy core leading raisins, creaminess and leather. The Matilde Quadrata Toro Bravo has a finish that consists of gingerbread, earthiness, creaminess and meatiness. Retrohales have earthiness over cinnamon, leather, creaminess and white pepper. Once the smoke has left my nostrils, there’s meatiness, white pepper, leather, saltiness and creaminess. Flavor is medium-full, body is medium-full and strength is medium-plus. While the cigar doesn’t look great thanks to the unraveling wrapper around the cap, it’s not as bad as it could be. Quite frankly, it’s probably not as bad as it should be. For the most part, it’s pretty easy to smoke and I avoid ending up with any bits of tobacco landing in my mouth. The one drawback is that I need to make a second touch-up to help keep the cigar lit. But outside of those two touch-ups, the Quadrata delivers excellent smoke production until the end.
I don’t know how many Quadratas I’ve smoked since the review—I’m guessing not many—but the real takeaway didn’t dawn on me until I was writing up this review. This doesn’t really taste like a cigar that’s been aged for that long. Not only is there still plenty of flavor left, the flavors that I did pick up aren’t ones that would lead me to believe that this cigar has spent over four years in a humidor. For example, if you handed me this cigar and told me you bought it at a store last week, I wouldn’t think anything of it. Certainly the strength doesn’t match the color of the wrapper, though I’m never sure the strength really matched the way the cigar looked. It’s quite clear that some of the sharp pepper notes I found in the final third of the original review aren’t there to be found, but the mixture of sweetness and meatiness remains. I’ve still got a few more of these, so perhaps there’s another redux to be had after another extended nap in the humidor.