Quesada Selección España JFH 25th Anniversary

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Every so often there are stores and cigars that seem like they were just made for each other, and in this case it’s the Quesada Selección España and Just For Him in Springfield, Mo.

Despite the reports that the cigar was passed out by mistake at the 2011 ProCigar Festival, this made-for-Spain line became highly sought-after by American retailers, including several of Quesada’s top accounts. By March, a handful of retailers had received a small amount of them and the buzz only intensified as consumers scrambled to get their hands on them. While many would think that it would be Quesada who would be the ones to thank for producing these cigars and allowing some to be sold in the U.S., it was Christian and Jessica Hutson of Just For Him who pushed for the cigar to be released stateside and have been one of its biggest supporters since.

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So when the time came for Just for Him to celebrate the store’s 25th anniversary, it seemed that one certain cigar would fit the bill.

Quesada Espana JFH 25th Anniversary Box

“The Quesada España blend is a fitting choice for this project, as it was their enthusiasm for the España that led us to introduce it on a limited level to the U.S. market in the first place,” said Terence Reilly, general manager of Quesada Cigars. “Anyone who enjoys the España in the United States has them to thank.”

“The willingness of the Quesada family to work with our requests for our 25th Anniversary Edition is wonderful,” said Jessica Hutson, co-owner of Just For Him. “We feel the cigar is amazing and could not be happier with the end result.”

The Quesada Selección España line now stands at six vitolas, three of which are limited editions, while the JFH 25th Anniversary is the first store exclusive and the first figurado of the group.

Quesada Espana Vitolas

Quesada Espana JFH 25th Anniversary  Molotov

You’ll notice that the Quesada Selección España JFH 25th Anniversary bears a good bit of resemblance to the Quesada q d’etat Molotov, just a quarter-of-an-inch shorter and without the Molotov’s more decorative cap.

Quesada Espana JFH 25th Anniversary  Molotov Box

Quesada Espana JFH 25th Anniversary 1

  • Cigar Reviewed: Quesada Selección España JFH 25th Anniversary
  • Country of Origin: Dominican Republic
  • Factory: The Quesada Factory
  • Wrapper: Ecuadorian Ariparaca
  • Binder: Dominican Republic
  • Filler: Dominican Republic & Nicaragua
  • Size: 4 3/4 Inches
  • Ring Gauge: 38/58/44
  • Vitola: Perfecto
  • MSRP: $7.95 (Boxes of 10, $79.50)
  • Date Released: July 10, 2014
  • Number of Cigars Released: 150 Boxes of 10 Cigars (1,500 Total Cigars)
  • Number of Cigars Smoked For Review: 3

There’s no point in not acknowledging the most unique part of this cigar, and that’s the perfecto shape. The bulging section that traverses the first and second thirds has the almost comical look of a snake that has just had a big meal; an otherwise slender object with something bigger than itself stuck between its head and foot. From a tactile perspective, the cigar feels very well rolled and doesn’t show any inconsistently filled spots. The wrapper is an interesting shade that is both intriguing and attractive despite showing a good number of small veins, fairly earthy in color with a touch of red to it and that has me thinking of everything from a latte to butterscotch and caramel, with its true color somewhere in between. It’s a leaf that it is smooth to the touch with just a bit of fine grit texture and not much in the way of oils. The pre-light aroma is dry and somewhat neutral with the exception of the pepper note that is present, with a bit of cake donut, some creaminess, a faint chocolate powder note and just a touch of pepper showing up in varying amounts among the samples. Even with the small head, the draw feels pretty well dialed in and if anything a bit loose, presenting an even more neutral flavor than what I got from the foot of the cigar.

There’s no mistaking the Dominican tobacco flavor out of the gate, showing a lighter but still flavorful version of earth and pepper than its Nicaraguan counterparts that have been dominating most of my cigars lately, with a touch of wood as well to compliment the flavor. In one cigar, the wood note had a touch of light char to it, an interesting difference between the samples that I found to have more bite than the others but also a bit more character. What I am most intrigued by though, as I have been with every Selección España I’ve smoked, is the Ecuadorian Ariparaca wrapper and what kind of notes it offers as it is a leaf that I don’t have nearly enough experience with. An early retrohale shows a more white-pepper dominant note that is stimulating yet passable, with the smoke thin and fairly wispy, dissipating quickly into a breeze. Smoking a perfecto such as this always provides me with an extra challenge in that I try and focus on how the changing ring gauge is affecting the cigar’s flavor and performance. Just as the ring gauge starts to increase I get a bit of dry marshmallow in the nose and the flavor seems to soften ever so slightly. There also seems to be a consistent point in the transition to the second third where the burn line runs into a spot it just can’t get through, often burning around it and leaving a scab of unburnt tobacco behind.

Quesada Espana JFH 25th Anniversary 2

It’s at nearly the widest ring gauge and the transition to the second third when the ash finally lets go after accumulating so beautifully. The flavor hasn’t shown me much in the way of progression up to this point, though with the ash gone I’m tasting more pepper as it has stepped forward a bit and now leads the Quesada Selección España JFH 25th Anniversary’s offering. The burn line is just a bit wavy but not problematic, while the smoke production is good and does a commendable job in terms of thickness. There’s an interesting shift in the smoke’s texture as the ring gauge starts to shrink and the final third appears on the horizon, as it becomes a bit thicker and less pepper driven, though there is still a good amount for both nose and tongue. After mellowing out a bit, flavors of wood and leather start to come back around, combining with the pepper to quickly get the cigar back up to a medium level of strength.

Quesada Espana JFH 25th Anniversary 3

The flavor is decidedly sharper in the final third with much more of an edge than what was offered at even its most pepper-driven levels, though it doesn’t seem to be the pepper that’s solely responsible for the uptick. A touch of earth starts to come in and more of the wood flavor returns, and in one case with the charred note found earlier. Retrohales remain punchy and a bit of a challenge, certainly on par with the mark that was set earlier. As the Quesada Selección España JFH 25th Anniversary approaches its finish and the ring gauge continues to decrease, I pick up a few notes of banana chips and that flavor’s distinct sweetness both in taste and smell, a somewhat unexpected yet very enjoyable new note that I wish had been more prevalent earlier. The finish is about as clean and enjoyable as I could ask for, though the cigar shows trouble burning as far down as I would like it and ends up leaving an inch or so unsmoked in two of the three cigars.

Quesada Espana JFH 25th Anniversary 4

Final Notes

  • Because of the taper of the cigar, the bands are glued at an angle in order to keep them looking straight and even. The only reason I bring this up is because it feels a bit odd to see a cigar band not glued together perfectly straight.
  • While the current production numbers 1,500, more of the JFH 25th Anniversary may be produced in the future.
  • A bottle of scotch was involved in the creation of the previously released vitola in the Quesada Selección España line.
  • While it might be a bit of an overstatement to say that there will be a big increase in the availability of the Quesada Selección España line, the company has announced that at this year’s IPCPR Convention and Trade Show, there will be an incentive that will allow any account to purchase three boxes each of the Quesada España Corona, Robusto and Short Robusto.
  • There will also be a new look and new event-only vitola for the Quesada Oktoberfest line this year.
  • A new sampler called the Big Bang will also hit the market this summer featuring five 60–and-over–ring gauge cigars.
  • When he reviewed it, Charlie Minato called the Quesada q d’etat Molotov “one of the weirdest shapes I’ve ever seen in the world of cigars.” That was well before the Salomon Press.
  • Final smoking time was one hour and 45 minutes on average.
  • The cigars for this review were sent to halfwheel by Just For Him. Quesada is an advertiser on halfwheel.
  • You can purchase these cigars by calling Just For Him at 417.886.8380.
88 Overall Score

As a fan of the Quesada Selección España line, and a fan of perfectos, I was fairly excited to try this cigar to see how the two came together. Yet as I smoked each one, I couldn't help but think that the larger ring gauge--or possibly even its age and where it is on its particular flavor evolution--was preventing all the fantastic and delicate flavors that I recall from the smaller ring gauge corona and lancero from shining through. While the JFH 25th Anniversary shares the common roots of those other sizes, it just didn't deliver as well for my palate, though by no means was it a bad cigar. The Seleción España remains a fantasic blend, and one that is worth trying in any and all vitolas you can get your hands on. If you're a fan of the Quesada Selección España line, and have some of the other vitolas in your collection, this would be a great cigar to pick up to see just how a cigar's shape effects its flavor.

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Patrick Lagreid
About the author

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.

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