During the 2018 IPCPR Convention & Trade Show, Quesada Cigars showed off one of the most expensive creations it had ever produced.

Dubbed Vega Magna, the three-vitola line includes a number of interesting features, including the price, the age of the tobacco and the packaging. Despite sharing part of its name and some branding with the value-priced Casa Magna, each of the sizes has a retail price over $20. In addition, a portion of the tobacco used in the blend has been aging in tercios since 2001, which is a traditional way of aging that involves wrapping a large number of tobaccos in royal palm leaves. According to the company, each of the Vega Magna cigars are being rolled by a single roller and buncher pair, meaning that while the line is not a limited edition, it will have limited production on a regular basis.

“The use of Dominican tercio-aged tobaccos from as early as 2001, sorted and fermented with the extreme care, makes this blend extremely unique,” said Manuel “Manolo” Quesada Jr., the company’s president, in a press release. “The tercio aging, over long periods of time bring out wonderful complexity, that help create a sweet, rich full-bodied blend with notes of cocoa, dried fruits and cedar.”  

Finally, the packaging for the Vega Magna is also extremely unique, as it features a special piece of art made by Dominican artist Pragmy Marichal that is built into the bottom of each box. The sketch was designed to be hung on a wall and is easily removed, sliding out with a simple tug.

Blend-wise, the Vega Magna incorporates an Ecuadorian sun-grown wrapper covering a variety of Dominican secos, visos and ligero tobaccos and is packaged in boxes of 10 that began shipping to retailers in September 2018.

The Quesada Vega Magna debuted in three different sizes:

  • Vega Magna Robusto (5 1/2 x 54) — $20.40 (Boxes of 10, $204)
  • Vega Magna Belicoso (7 x 52) — $21.60 (Boxes of 10, $216)
  • Vega Magna Toro (6 x 50) — $21 (Boxes of 10, $210)

  • Cigar Reviewed: Vega Magna Belicoso
  • Country of Origin: Dominican Republic
  • Factory: Quesada Cigars
  • Wrapper: Ecuador
  • Binder: Dominican Republic
  • Filler: Dominican Republic
  • Length: 7 Inches
  • Ring Gauge: 52
  • Vitola: Belicoso
  • MSRP: $21.60 (Boxes of 10, $216)
  • Release Date: Sept. 14, 2018
  • Number of Cigars Released: Regular Production
  • Number of Cigars Smoked For Review: 3

From a visual perspective, the Vega Magna is extremely attractive, covered in a dark espresso brown wrapper that is fairly rough to the touch and featuring quite an abundance of oil. There are a number of prominent veins running up and down its length and the cigar is nice and firm when squeezed. Aroma from the wrapper is a combination of hay, manure, dank earth, espresso beans, leather and allspice, while the cold draw brings flavors of strong dark chocolate, cinnamon, oak, leather, sweet hay and some significant spice on my tongue.

The first third of the Vega Magna starts off with a bang, as well as a distinct combination of creamy oak and caramel sweetness that just seems to get stronger as the first third burns down. Other notes of leather, almonds, cloves, roasted coffee, wheat, cinnamon and toast are also present in varying amounts, as is some black pepper on the retrohale and some noticeable spice on my tongue pulled over from the cold draw. Construction-wise, the draw is excellent after a Dickman cut, but the burn gets a bit out of hand right out of the gate, forcing me to touch it up a couple of times to stop it from getting worse. Smoke production from the foot is both massive and dense, while the overall strength ends the first third easily below the medium mark.

While the caramel sweetness has started to recede a bit by the start of the second third of the Vega Magna, the creamy oak flavor remains dominant, followed by lesser flavors of roasted coffee beans, earth, peanuts and cocoa nibs. The black pepper on the retrohale has also decreased a bit, but the spice on my tongue from the first third is still going strong as the burn passes the halfway point. Thankfully, the draw continues to impress, and while the burn has evened up nicely it is still not even close to razor sharp. The strength has increased enough to easily reach a point just below medium by the end of the second third.

The final third of the Vega Magna features many of the same flavors as the first and second thirds, but they are less distinct, perhaps due to the significant decrease in both black pepper and  spice in the profile. The creamy oak note continues to dominate the palate—albeit not as creamy as before–followed by flavors of cinnamon, earth, leather, nuts, hay, barnyard and toast. Although the draw continues along its excellent path until the end, the burn once again gives me issues, meaning I have to touch it up a couple of times before I put the nub down with about an inch to go. The strength loses steam, finishing just below the medium mark.

Final Notes

  • The box and piece of art that is included in the Vega Magna was enough to get tenth place in our 2018 Packaging Awards. Of course, just about everything in the cigar world has already been done before, and that is true of having a piece of art as part of the packaging: the Oliva Master Blends 1 that was released in 2003 also featured a piece of art meant to be hung on a wall, albeit as part of the lid of the cigar box instead of the bottom.
  • There have also been other notable cigars released recently that includes tobacco aged using the tercios method, including the Cohiba Spectre and the Perez-Carrillo Encore line.
  • Charlie visited a Quesada farm in the Dominican Republic as part of the Procigar 2019 festival, which you can read about here.
  • While two of the samples performed quite well construction-wise, the second cigar had a very open draw, albeit with still enough resistance to smoke.
  • For some reason, when I first heard the name of this cigar, my first thought was that it was a new Autobot Prime.
  • The cigars smoked for this review were purchased by halfwheel.
  • Final smoking time for all three samples was just under two hours, clocking in at one hour and 57 minutes.
  • If you would like to purchase any of the Quesada Vega Magna cigars, site sponsor JR Cigar has them in stock now.
86 Overall Score

There are very few times that I put the nub down on a final sample of a cigar I am reviewing and wish I loved it more, but that is the case with the Quesada Vega Magna. On paper, it has just about everything going for it: great packaging, a great story, an awesome looking wrapper and some very unique tobacco as part of its blend. Don’t get me wrong, the Vega Magna is enjoyable—especially the first third, which is loaded with a dominant combination of both creamy oak and caramel sweetness—but the profile seems to lose complexity and nuance the longer you smoke it. Having said that, if the piece of art that comes in the box is the final item that seals the deal for you to purchase these cigars, you most likely will not be disappointed with your purchase, even at the suggested price.

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.