Since 2011, Quesada has celebrated Oktoberfest with a cigar release designed to pair with the dark, märzen-style beer that is so closely associated with the event. In the six years since that first cigar’s release, the line has gown quite a bit, including by way of store exclusives.

This year, The Cigar Shop, which operates stores in Monroe, N.C. and Myrtle Beach, S.C., received the latest retailer exclusive, the Bayern, a pyramid shaped vitola with a slightly tweaked version of the Dominican puro blend.

The shape is by far the most distinctive part of the cigar prior to lighting, though the initial taper is so subtle it would be easy to mistake this for a standard toro, given its six inch length. At its thickest, the Bayern is a 60 ring gauge, though that quickly tapers to a 58, before becoming a 51 ring gauge near the head, which has a much more rounded shape than you’ll find on many pyramids, almost resembling the 109 vitola a bit due to its rounded shoulders though the head is much less pronounced.

Its shape should be recognizable to those familiar with Quesada’s portfolio, as it is based on the Fonseca Triangular.

“The Triangular has been such an iconic vitola that has such as rich history,” said Mark Boley, co-owner of The Cigar Shop, in a press release at the time of the cigar’s announcement. “The Oktoberfest has been an enormously popular line with our customers and now we have an opportunity to bring the Triangular size to this great line. It’s going to make this year’s Oktoberfest celebrations even better.”

Production is limited to just 200 boxes of 10 cigars, with each stick priced at $8.97, before taxes. It joins the other six sizes for 2017 that got a widespread release, all of which have appeared in previous years. It’s the 19th vitola for the line.

  • Oktoberfest Bavarian (5 1/2 x 52) — $7.95 (Boxes of 20, $159.00) — 2011 — 1,000 Boxes of 20 Cigars (20,000 Total Cigars)
  • Oktoberfest Über (6 x 65) — $8.95 (Boxes of 20, $179.00) — 2011 — 1,000 Boxes of 20 Cigars (20,000 Total Cigars)
  • Oktoberfest Das Boot (6 x 52) — $8.50 (Boxes of 20, $170.00) — 2012 — 500 Boxes of 20 Cigars (10,000 Total Cigars)
  • Oktoberfest Kaiser Ludwig (6 x 49) — $9.50 (Boxes of 20, $190.00) —2012 — 750 Boxes of 20 Cigars (15,000 Total Cigars)
  • Oktoberfest Kurz (4 x 50) — $7.25 (Boxes of 20, $145.00) — 2012 — 500 Boxes of 20 Cigars (10,000 Total Cigars)
  • Quesada Oktoberfest Krone (5 x 43) — $7.25 (Boxes of 20, $145.00) — 2013 — 500 Boxes of 20 Cigars (10,000 Total Cigars)
  • Quesada Oktoberfest Event Cigar (2013) (5 1/2 x 56) — 2013 — Event Only
  • Quesada Oktoberfest Mircroblend Series Dunkel (6 x 54) — $8.95 (Boxes of 20, $134.25) — 2013 — 750 Boxes of 15 Cigars (11,250 Total Cigars)
  • Quesada Oktoberfest Lancero (7 x 38) — n/a — 2013 — 10 Boxes of 20 Cigars (200 Total Cigars)
  • Quesada Oktoberfest Salomon Press (6 3/4 x 50/33) — n/a — 2014 — Event Only
  • Quesada Oktoberfest Obskur (6 3/4 x 56) — $7.75 (Boxes of 10, $77.50) — 2014 — n/a*
  • Quesada Oktoberfest Perfekto (5 3/4 x 52) — $9.35 (Boxes of 20, $187) — 2014 — n/a*
  • Quesada Oktoberfest Double Bock (7 x 47) — $8.75 (Boxes of 10, $87.50) — 2015 — 1,000 Boxes of 10 (10,000 Total Cigars)
  • Quesada Oktoberfest Das Brauhaus (4 1/2 x 60) — $7.50 (Boxes of 24, $180) — 2015 — 500 Boxes of 24 Cigars (12,000 Total Cigars)
  • Quesada Oktoberfest Präsident (7 x 50) — $7.50 (Boxes of 10, $74.95) — 2015 — 500 boxes of 10 cigars (5,000 Total Cigars)
  • Quesada Oktoberfest The Marshall (9 x 60) — $19.95 (Boxes of 10, $199.50) — 2015 — 10 Boxes of 10 Cigars (100 Total Cigars)
  • Quesada Oktoberfest The Kugel (5 x 38/58/44) — $7.50 (Boxes of 10, $75) — 2016 — 1,000 Boxes of 10 Cigars (10,000 Total Cigars)
  • Quesada Oktoberfest Triple Bock (6 x 56) — $9.50 (Boxes of 24, $228) — 2016 — 500 Boxes of 24 Cigars (12,000 Total Cigars)
  • Quesada Oktoberfest 2017 Bayern (6 x 51/58/60) — 2017 — 200 Boxes of 10 Cigars (2,000 Total Cigars)

*Not pictured.

The Bayern and the first four sizes are Dominican puros that are made in the Dominican Republic by Quesada, while the Das Brauhaus and Triple Bock are Nicaraguan puros made by Plasencia in Nicaragua.

  • Cigar Reviewed: Quesada Oktoberfest 2017 Bayern
  • Country of Origin: Dominican Republic
  • Factory: Quesada Cigars
  • Wrapper: Dominican Republic
  • Binder: Dominican Republic
  • Filler: Dominican Republic
  • Length: 6 Inches
  • Ring Gauge: 51/58/60
  • Vitola: Pyramid
  • MSRP: $8.97 (Boxes of 10, $89.70)
  • Release Date: September 2017
  • Number of Cigars Released: 200 Boxes of 10 Cigars (2,000 Total Cigars)
  • Number of Cigars Smoked For Review: 3

As I mentioned above, I found the flared cylinder easy to overlook, particularly at the foot, and when reaching for this out of a plastic bag, assumed it to be a standard if slightly beefy toro. I’m not quite sure if this was attributable to me being in a bit of a hurry at the time or the two bands helping to mask the taper, though an honest look at the cigar quickly shows that it is a figurado. It has a generally firm roll, although I find a few soft spots, with one near the head of the second sample a bit concerning. Visually it’s good if unremarkable with a standard vein structure and even coloring of the well-tanned leaf. The cap on each cigar looks a bit off, almost as if it was supposed to have a pigtail but got aborted during the process, though I’m inclined to think it was just part of the normal process given its consistent appearance. The Bayern has a very light and creamy pre-light aroma, almost like a bowl of Cheerios and cold milk based on the sweet creaminess and cereal grains, with certain samples offering vanilla extract and sweet cedar as complementary notes. The cold draw is excellent as far as air flow, and neutral with a a bit of candy cane sweetness in the flavor. What is most noticeable is how the cigar is end-weighted and thus makes it feel a bit out of balance in the mouth.

The first puffs from the Quesada Oktoberfest 2017 Bayern are a bit on the thin side of the texture scale and have me thinking of unsalted, baked pretzels. There’s just a bit of very light, white pepper to be found it would be rather easy to overlook depending on your mood or what you were drinking. the cigar pumps out a good bit of smoke in the first inch. The quantity seems to diminish at the ring gauge starts to shrink, and it seems to get wispier and less willing to stick around, though that could be due to the very slight breeze in the air. Try as I might, the Bayern doesn’t want to burn evenly on the first sample, requiring a quick touchup, with a bit of flowering of the ash happening thereafter. The profile stays fairly rooted in cereal grains, though I get more Frosted Flakes than Cheerios as the first third comes to a close, though that quickly shifts again as a heaping of black pepper gets introduced and punches up the retrohale quite a bit.

While the second third of the Quesada Oktoberfest 2017 Bayern is more pepper forward, I don’t find it to be that much more overpowering on my palate or through the nose, and nicotine strength comes across minimally, if at all. The sweetness is diminishing a bit as more of the dark gray ash builds in advance of the midway point, and by the halfway mark it’s gone almost completely, replaced by a rocky, peppery, and earthy base note that is a departure from where the cigar started. The aroma of the cigar takes the lead in the race for most appealing aspect of the cigar, as it has returned some of the Frosted Flakes sweetness that the flavor shed, though it is much thicker and concentrated without becoming syrupy, thanks to warm cake donuts and a bit of black pepper. While I’m not opposed to the cigar getting fuller, I have a hard time saying it was needed, as if anything I was hoping for more complexity rather than more strength after the first half. With this new development, the mouth gets much more of a tingle with each puff, and I find a bit of irritation emerging towards the back of my tongue and into my throat.

Just as I was becoming acclimated to the new profile of the Quesada Oktoberfest 2017 Bayern, it softens a bit entering its final third as I get traces of creaminess trying to emerge from the heavier notes, with more manifesting in the aroma by way of a freshly made glazed donut. There’s still a good bit of pepper to be found, particularly in the retrohales, but it is a bit more restrained than it had been earlier, leaving less irritation in its wake. The burn line continues to struggle, and I find myself knocking off shards of ash as opposed to clumps, though thankfully no more touchups are needed. With the cigar nearing its completion, I find it struggling to bring the flavor profile together in a tidy package as some of the irritation lingers, the sweetness and pepper seem at odds, and a woodiness that has developed is quite good yet pulls things in yet another direction. This is definitely a cigar where I preferred the profile when the ring gauge was at its biggest, as it provided both the most flavorful and most complex expressions of the blend.

Final Notes

  • Editor’s Note: As a Borussia Dortmund fan, I am not fond of seeing the word Bayern on halfwheel. — CM.
  • The wrapper on the first cigar developed a pair of cracks; the first near the bands seemingly caused by the environmental change, and the second by way of removing the secondary band. Neither seemed to affect the cigar’s performance much, other than making it a bit less visually appealing, at least until I finally felt compelled to knock off the ash and revealed that the filler wasn’t burning evenly, which I touched up a bit.
  • The final third of the second cigar really struggled to burn, requiring a number of relights after just a short rest in the ashtray.
  • This may be asking too much, but I would have loved to see more effort put into the secondary band to have it better match the primary one. The abundance of white on the secondary band makes it stand out too much for my liking, so I would suggest having it match the Oktoberfest’s side designs, with the store’s logo possibly given a German flag treatment to help it look less generic and better integrated into the presentation.
  • The paper and adhesive factor are also different, as the main band feels a bit more traditional and slid off easily, while the secondary band feels a bit glossier and needed to be peeled off, which damaged the wrapper on the first sample.
  • I will give The Cigar Shop credit for including its website on the backside of the band.
  • While I’m always interested by how a cigar’s flavor profile changes from start to finish—which some people argue shouldn’t happen at all and the flavor should remain fairly linear—the addition of a shrinking ring gauge is even more intriguing. Each of the three samples showed the same sharpening of flavors as the ring gauge got smaller.
  • I have to give the Bayern a lot of credit for being as consistent as it was in both flavor and progression. Each of the three samples were near identical, though combustion issues varied a bit.
  • While the Quesada Oktoberfest 2017 Bayern didn’t leave me with much of a nicotine buzz, the pepper, sharpness, and slight irritation stayed with me for a brief while after each sample was finished.
  • Other stores to get exclusive sizes include Thompson Cigar, which got the Präsident in 2016; Tobacco Plaza, which netted The Marshall in 2015; and Smoke Inn, which added the Dunkel to its Microblend Series in 2013.
  • Additionally, the special humidors created for this release are only available through Casa de Montecristo and JR Cigar stores.
  • As part of the 2017 Quesada Oktoberfest launch, 20 stores around the country were selected to host events featuring beer glasses and a raffle prize where the winner will win a two-night trip to Miami to visit Tank Brewery and attend a beer and cigar meal.
  • Final smoking time was two hours on average.
  • The cigars for this review were purchased by halfwheel.
  • The Quesada Oktoberfest 2017 Bayern is available at The Cigar Shop (888-342-4332) in Monroe, N.C. and Myrtle Beach, S.C., as well as its online store.
84 Overall Score

If you’re looking for a lot of flavor changes from a cigar, the Quesada Oktoberfest 2017 Bayern certainly offers that, though I have to say it’s not always for the better. The cigar shines fairly brightly in its first third, develops a solid core and peppery top note in its second third, and stumbles trying to bring them all together in its final third. Not only that, it fails to produce the enjoyable and quite palatable experience that the first half of the cigar delivered. Give me the first half of the Quesada Oktoberfest 2017 Bayern any day and I’d be a happy man, just don’t make smoking the second half part of the deal.

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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 previously the Arizona Rattlers of the Indoor Football League. I also work in a number of roles for Major League Baseball, plus I'm a voice over artist. Prior to joining halfwheel, I covered the Phoenix and national cigar scene for, and was an editor for Cigar Snob magazine.