When a cigar has a year in its name, it’s usually the sign that it’s going to be a fairly decent smoke since that cigar is usually commemorating a milestone in the history of the company or one of its founders.

In the case of the Quesada 1974 line, the year refers to when Quesada began producing cigars after starting as a leaf brokerage. The cigar debuted during the 45th anniversary of that new venture, first being shown of at the 2019 Procigar Festival in the Dominican Republic before heading to the Spanish market in February 2019. It would arrive in the United States about seven months later.

In addition to celebrating a milestone in the company’s history, the cigar is also notable for one of the components in its blend, as the wrapper is a Cameroon-seed leaf grown in Ecuador, something not commonly seen. Underneath that is a Dominican binder and a mix of Dominican and Nicaraguan filler. Also of note, Quesada grew all of the Dominican tobaccos in the blend.

“This project truly embodies, in my opinion, our heritage and history,” said Manuel Quesada, president of Quesada Cigars, in a press release at the time.

The line is offered in four sizes:

  • Quesada 1974 Robusto (5 x 50) — $9.95 (Box of 10, $99.50)
  • Quesada 1974 Short Robusto (4 x 50) — $8.50 (Box of 10, $85)
  • Quesada 1974 Corona (6 x 43) — $8.50 (Box of 10, $85)
  • Quesada 1974 Lancero (7 x 38) —$8.95 (Box of 10, $89.50)

Here’s what I said about the Quesada 1974 Lancero when I reviewed it in May 2020:

I wanted to say that after smoking three samples of the Quesada 1974 Lancero, I wasn’t quite sure what exactly the cigar was aiming for with its profile, yet I’m more inclined to think came up just a bit short of actually doing it. When the first puffs of the first sample are sour and chalky, it’s not a great introduction, yet the rest of that cigar and the other two samples showed it was capable of delivering much more, and it is those parts that drive the score. The nuttiness and wheat set a consistent and enjoyable base which pepper uses as a frequent springboard to move the profile along, and which I’ll most remember about the cigar. What left me lacking was the Cameroon component, of which I only picked up the most infrequent traces, and definitely not enough to leave me thinking I was smoking a tobacco befitting the name Cameroon, a varietal that without fail piques my interest. All together, the Quesada 1974 Lancero is an enjoyable cigar at a very reasonable price, and one that I wouldn’t turn down if offered the opportunity to smoke another.

  • Cigar Reviewed: Quesada 1974 Lancero
  • Country of Origin: Dominican Republic
  • Factory: Quesada Factory
  • Wrapper: Ecuador (Cameroon)
  • Binder: Dominican Republic
  • Filler: Dominican Republic & Nicaragua
  • Length: 7 Inches
  • Ring Gauge: 38
  • Vitola: Lancero
  • MSRP: $8.95 (Box of 10, $89.50)
  • Release Date: February 2019
  • Number of Cigars Released: Regular Production
  • Number of Cigars Smoked For Redux: 1

Even though it’s only been about a year since I reviewed the Quesada 1974 Lancero, I can’t say I have many strong memories about it. Granted, it’s been one heck of a year, but still, I’d like to think that at least something would have stood out. That feeling only amplifies when I scroll through the original review and notice the word Cameroon. Specifically, this cigar uses an Ecuadorian Cameroon wrapper, which somewhat explains its unique, reddish color, even though it doesn’t have the same roughness or splotchiness that is occasionally found on African-grown Cameroon. While the cigar doesn’t have an oily sheen it does feel slightly oily to the fingers, an interesting mix of oily gloss and a bit of very fine, almost velvety grit. The cigar looks to be rolled very well, with flat seams, a good cap and no visual imperfections. Aroma off the foot is very mild, with a bit of damp wood, which in turn has a bit of sweetness. Air moves well on the cold draw and offers a much more vibrant experience than the aroma. There is a drier—yet still slightly damp—wood flavor, which is fairly complex on its own, and gets combined with a bit of very subtle pepper.

The Quesada 1974 Lancero has a very funky start, starting with the woodiness but quickly veering off into a flavor that is a bit soapy, a bit sour, a bit waxy and just overall odd. It dissipates steadily over the coming inch, clearing the way for a bit of white pepper, particularly on the retrohale, with a bit of subtle simple syrup sweetness. The woodiness turns to a bit of cedar, and for a few puffs it seems like the cigar is quickly getting off the rumble strips and back on the main highway. Unfortunately, such is not the case, as the flavor turns hard again, veering right back into the funkier profile it had in that early going. By the time the first third is complete, I’m beginning to worry about the combustion, as I’ve had to relight the cigar a few times, which is particularly puzzling as the cigar has had the chance to rest for nearly a year in my redux humidor, which I consider quite stable. After getting through this latest detour, the profile gets a bit better, returning to the wood flavor—now cedar—with a bit of spicy pepper on the front half of the tongue. Combustion is problematic but the burn line is even and smoke production is very good. Flavor is a funky medium-plus, body is a solid medium, and strength has steadily built up to medium or even medium-plus.

While the first half of the Quesada 1974 Lancero is quite flavorful—if not always enjoyably so—the second half begins to steadily mellow, dialing back the woodiness a bit to let some of the spicinesses shine through, even though the cigar is also fairly mellow. Combustion remains a concern, though I will admit that the cigar doesn’t seem to be much worse off even with all the relights. That said, my fatigue with picking up a cigar that isn’t burning is growing, and was it not for the review, I probably would have abandoned it some time ago. The final third doesn’t see much change in the flavor, thankfully keeping the majority of the funkiness at bay while sticking with a spicy cedar profile, the former a tangy red pepper that does a good job tingling the very front portion of my tongue. Although the construction has been a consistent struggle, the burn line and smoke production are both quite good. After about two hours and 15 minutes, and at a point where I don’t think another relight would do much good, I call it a wrap and put the Quesada 1974 Lancero in the ashtray. Flavor finishes back at medium-plus due to the red chili pepper, body isn’t far behind and strength is medium-plus, just enough to leave a bit of a nicotine sensation in my system.

70 Overall Score

There are times when a redux shows that time and rest has been clearly good or bad to a cigar, and then there are times like this, where I am left to wonder just what has happened to this cigar since I put it in my redux humidor just about a year ago. Things start off shaky and only mildly improve from there, combustion was darn near atrocious, and the overall experience was far from what I was expecting given my initial one. I don't know what this cigar will score as I write this, but I know it won't be good, which is a shame because no cigar should turn into this after sitting in the humidor for 12 months. I can only hope this is an isolated experience, because to think that the blend could degrade this quickly is nothing short of disappointing.

Original Score (May 2020)
87
Redux Score (May 2021)
70

Patrick Lagreid

I strive to capture the essence of a cigar and the people behind them in my work – every cigar you light up is the culmination of the work of countless people and often represents generations of struggle and stories. For me, it’s about so much more than the cigar – it’s about the story behind it, the experience of enjoying the work of artisans and the way that a good cigar can bring people together. In addition to my work with halfwheel, I’m the public address announcer for the Colorado Rockies and Arizona Diamondbacks during spring training, as well as for the Salt River Rafters of the Arizona Fall League, the WNBA's Phoenix Mercury and the Arizona Rattlers of the Indoor Football League. I also work in a number of roles for MLB.com, plus I'm a voice over artist. I previously covered the Phoenix and national cigar scene for Examiner.com, and was an editor for Cigar Snob magazine.