By now, the idea of holiday-themed cigars is a familiar one thanks to a number of companies that have been creating limited editions for holidays throughout the calendar. In the case of my favorite “holiday,” St. Patrick’s Day, we’ve seen the obvious approach of producing a cigar wrapped in a green candela. Fortunately, Quesada has taken an approach of commemorating the holiday with my preferred means of celebration: beer.
It’s not a beer-flavored cigar, mind you, but the cigars come packed in a wooden keg-style package and are designed to be paired with an Irish stout. The blend features a Pennsylvania-grown broadleaf wrapper with Nicaraguan binder and filler. The line debuted in 2015 with a 6 x 50 toro vitola and returned in 2016 with three sizes: Lonsdale (6 x 44, $5.95), Toro (6 x 50, $7.95) and Toro Gordo (6 x 60, $8.95).
Th 2016 version also got an updated band that appears inspired by a fairly well-known Irish beer brand, as well as a new keg in a nearly pitch-black stain that shed the somewhat cheesy and typical shamrock in favor of the new logo. Production was also increased from 250 kegs of 21 cigars in 2015 to 1,000 kegs in 2016, divided up with 500 of the toro vitola and 250 kegs for both the lonsdale and toro gordo.
Here’s what I said about the Quesada Keg Edition 2016 Lonsdale when I reviewed it in January 2016:
If a cigar doesn’t flat out wow, the next best thing it can do is leave me intrigued, which is exactly what the Quesada Keg Edition 2016 Lonsdale does. I certainly like the overall flavor profile and would be open to smoking more of them, but I’m almost more interested in pairing it up with an Irish stout or some Irish cream to see how the cigar performs in a more complex flavor environment. This year’s Quesada Keg Edition is more than just a one-time cigar to smoke on March 17, it’s a respectable option for any occasion when lighting up a cigar is in order.
- Cigar Reviewed: Quesada Keg Edition 2016 Lonsdale
- Country of Origin: Nicaragua
- Factory: Plasencia Cigars S.A.
- Wrapper: Pennsylvania Broadleaf
- Binder: Nicaragua
- Filler: Nicaragua
- Length: 6 Inches
- Ring Gauge: 44
- Vitola: Lonsdale
- MSRP: $5.95 (Boxes of 21, $124.95)
- Release Date: Jan. 14, 2016
- Number of Cigars Released: 250 Kegs of 21 Cigars (5,250 Total Cigars)
- Number of Cigars Smoked For Redux: 1
Between the dark Pennsylvania broadleaf wrapper and the updated band, the Quesada Keg Edition is a fantastic looking cigar. It’s a firm stick but the wrapper has a surprising softness in the hand that is smooth and velvety. The foot offers a bit of creamy sweetness but isn’t forward with many other aromas, while the cold draw is also on the coy side, hinting at earth, chocolate and dry cake but not committing to any of them.
The cold draw proved to be a bit more indicative of the initial flavors from the Quesada Keg Edition Lonsdale than I might have given it credit for. Each of the three notes come together in a harmony that gets accented by a bit of pepper as well as some malt and roast, much like the flavors I tend to find from a Guinness, though the creamy head isn’t part of the cigar’s equation at the moment. There’s a fullness of flavor to the cigar yet I don’t find myself getting overwhelmed with it as the nicotine is either restrained or simply hasn’t made its way into my system. As the cigar rests, the reduced amount of smoke finds a way to exude a delightfully sweet and smoky aroma that absolutely screams Guinness thanks to some roasted barley and malt. It’s not readily apparent, but the flavor gradually loses some of its lush velvety texture as it dries and lightens up a touch, picking up wood and a bit of salty popcorn, while pepper becomes more prevalent in the smoke. It’s an interesting transition that leads to the midpoint of the cigar where a brighter profile awaits with an orange zest sweetness beginning to emerge.
The creaminess returns for the first puffs past the midpoint as the Quesada Keg Edition 2016 Lonsdale undergoes a number of quick transitions, bringing the earthiness back for a bit, varying the pepper and then heading into an even drier profile by the time the bands need to come off. The smoke is a touch richer through the nose than it is on the tongue, but the duality makes for an enjoyable interplay between the senses and shows off a fuller picture of what the cigar has to offer. Flavors stay consistent and enjoyable until the final inch, when a touch of sourness comes into the equation and throws the progression off track.
Quesada Cigars advertises on halfwheel.
I'm happy to say that time has served this cigar well, particularly in the first two thirds as the core flavors have had a chance to mingle and marry into a richer profile, and the result mirrors the complexity and notes I tend to associate with an Irish stout more than they did a year ago. The sour chalkiness of the final third is a new and unfortunate development that I'm not sure comes with age as well or may just be attributable to this particular sample; thankfully it's not enough to affect the score too much. With St. Patrick's Day on the horizon, I'm glad to know this remains a viable option for celebrating the day.