A decade ago, a small number of people attending the Procigar Festival in the Dominican Republic were some of the first to smoke a brand new blend from Quesada. While it debuted as a Spanish Market exclusive release, the appropriately named Selección España received such glowing reports that the company decided to ship a very small number of boxes for each of the three original violas—specifically the Corona, Robusto and Short Robusto—to a select group of retailers in the U.S. market every month.

Between 2011-2016, a total of 12 different vitolas were released in the Selección España line, including two slightly different versions of a lancero. However, one of the most unique sizes in the line was the España Ninfa that debuted in 2014, a 7 x 33 slim panatela vitola which has been produced very few times outside of the country of Cuba. In addition, while the lancero size in the blend the was released the year before was awarded to various retailers by way of a lottery, Quesada decided to go a different route when the time came to chose who would sell the Ninfas, as detailed in halfwheel’s news story at the time:

First Quesada made an España Lancero, now they are onto something even thinner. While the company will no longer be sending one retailer a month a cabinet of España lanceros, it will continue the program next year with an 7 x 33 Selección España Ninfa.

Terence Reilly of SAG Imports, the distributor for Quesada, told halfwheel that the first of the 50-count Ninfa cabinets will ship in January.

“It looked like we were going to have to cancel the Ninfa until we asked our production supervisor, a man who has 20 years experience rolling all sorts of strange shapes and sizes, to see what he could do,” said Reilly.

“He was quite positive he wasn’t going to be able to make one with the España blend but after much pleading and the promise of a bottle of scotch, he set out to see what he could do.  After two prototypes, one which didn’t draw consistently and one that lost the distinct España flavor, he finally nailed it.”

“It was the most difficult cigar we’ve ever made,” said Reilly. “With a 7×33 there is very little room for error, and, to further complicate matters, the España has four filler tobaccos.”

“Unlike the 2013 lanceros, these boxes will not be chosen at random,” said Reilly. “One retailer will be selected each month.  The change is due to two reasons: one, several very deserving accounts did not receive any and we aim to rectify that; and two, no one believed it was a raffle and so if we are going to take flack from people not receiving a box, it might as well be deserved.”

Blend-wise, the Selección España Ninfa is covered in an Ecuadorian Ariparaca wrapper covering a Dominican binder and filler tobaccos hailing from both the Dominican Republic and Nicaragua. Each cigar was priced at $12.50 and there were only 600 cigars released, with the first 50-count cabinet was shipped to the first chosen retailer in January 2014.

There have been 12 different vitolas in Quesada’s Selección España line.

Here is what I wrote in my original review of the Quesada Selección España Ninfa back in 2014:

Incredibly nuanced, perfectly balanced, excellently constructed, this newest incarnation of the España line hits on all cylinders for me, and is truly a great example of a medium-bodied, full-flavored blend in what may be my favorite vitola of the line. The flavors in the profile are sharp and distinct, working in perfect harmony with each other, and they are just a joy to smoke.

  • Cigar Reviewed: Quesada Selección España Ninfa
  • Country of Origin: Dominican Republic
  • Factory: Quesada Cigars
  • Wrapper: Ecuador (Ariparaca)
  • Binder: Dominican Republic
  • Filler: Dominican Republic & Nicaragua
  • Length: 7 Inches
  • Ring Gauge: 33
  • Vitola: Ninfa
  • MSRP: $12.95 (Cabinet of 50, $647.50)
  • Release Date: January 2014
  • Number of Cigars Released: 12 Boxes of 50 Cigars (600 Total Cigars)
  • Number of Cigars Smoked For Redux: 1

While it is a bit hard to see through the cellophane that has turned yellow, once it is removed the wrapper on the Quesada Selección España Ninfa turns out to be a very attractive cinnamon brown color that is covered in numerous bumps and veins. Having said that, there is very little oil present and the cigar is both extremely light and spongy when squeezed, probably due to the thinner ring gauge. Aroma from the wrapper and foot includes a combination of dense sweet cedar, milk chocolate, barnyard, creamy leather and slight black pepper, while the cold draw brings flavors of aged cedar, leather, earth, nutmeg, cocoa powder, cashews and syrupy sweetness.

I am more than a little surprised with the amount of spice that hits my tongue immediately after lighting up the Ninfa, while flavors of the same distinct cedar from the cold draw combined with some dank earth easily take over the top spots in the profile. While the citrus and maple sweetness that I noticed in my first review are missing, there is quite a bit of floral sweetness and white pepper on the retrohale as well as some bitter espresso on the finish and some secondary flavors of cocoa nibs, nutmeg, leather and generic nuts. The second half of the Quesada Ninfa brings a few new flavors—including a new mint note that shows up on the finish and some distinct milk chocolate sweetness on the retrohale—but the big change is dominant flavors, which morphs into notes of creamy cashews and leather tack. In addition, while the spice on my tongue is still quite aggressive, secondary flavors of cedar, wheat, espresso beans and granola eventually become so faint that they are virtually indistinguishable from each other.

Like the cigars in my original review, the construction on my redux cigar is excellent with a draw that features the perfect amount of resistance for my taste after a straight cut and a burn line that gives me no issues whatsoever for the entire time I am smoking. In addition, the smoke production is surprisingly copious for such a small ring gauge stick while the strength is so light that it never even threatens to cross into medium territory by the time I put down the cigar after exactly one hour and 14 minutes of smoking time.

88 Overall Score

As a vitola, the Ninfa is chock full of potential issues: harder to keep lit than a more standard-sized vitola, much more difficult to blend due to the thinner ring gauge, and way too easy to find yourself puffing too hard or too fast. However, when everything goes well, it can be magical. While the eight years since my last review of the Quesada Selección España Ninfa have dulled the nuance in the profile noticeably, there are still quite a few flavors to be found, including mocha chocolate, aromatic cedar, cinnamon and an ever-present—and brand new—floral sweetness on the retrohale in the first half. When it was originally released, the España Ninfa easily ranked as one the top cigars I had smoked to that point, and while it is nowhere near that level after nine years of aging, I would still smoke each and every one I could get my hands on without hesitation.

Original Score (January 2014)
94
Redux Score (March 2021)
88

Brooks Whittington

I have been smoking cigars for over eight years. A documentary wedding photographer by trade, I spent seven years as a photojournalist for the Dallas Morning News and the Fort Worth Star Telegram. I started the cigar blog SmokingStogie in 2008 after realizing that there was a need for a cigar blog with better photographs and more in-depth information about each release. SmokingStogie quickly became one of the more influential cigar blogs on the internet, known for reviewing preproduction, prerelease, rare, extremely hard-to-find and expensive cigars. I am a co-founder of halfwheel and now serve as an editor for halfwheel.