Bite Size Review: Quesada 70th Anniversary
In 2017, Manuel (“Manolo” to his friends) Quesada joined the septuagenarian club. To celebrate the landmark event, the 4th generation patriarch of Quesada Cigars crafted a cigar that highlights his own tastes and reportedly, his own preferred blend. The Quesada 70th is blended by Manuel himself and known not to bend to conventional wisdom, Quesada released his birthday cigar in only two vitolas – a six inch belicoso and toro, Manuel’s favorites – and kept blend details a closely guarded secret. A limited release of only 10,000 cigars (1000 boxes) the first year seals the deal. This is not the first time Quesada has eschewed releasing blend details. Like the impetus behind his satirical Heisenberg release, Quesada believes the focus should be on relaxation and enjoyment, not paralysis by analysis. You don’t have to look far for other examples of this sentiment as his Keg and Oktoberfest blends are designed to specifically complement libations, celebration and good times. The 70th also follows other critically acclaimed Quesada blends garnering an outstanding rating of 90 from Cigar Aficionado. Irrespective of blend, Quesada cigars are often heralded for high quality so we do not expect the 70th to disappoint.
Prior to our review, we found it interesting that previous reviews lamented burn and complexity issues with the 70th. At least initially, we found the build of the 70th belicoso to be exceptional. Featuring an oily milk chocolate-colored Dominican wrapper, we found the belicoso semi-veiny, toothy and solid. The nice cap treatment and almost invisible seams are trademarks of typical Quesada construction. Aromas are quite nice highlighted by mesquite, dark chocolate and dark berries and the draw is excellent with a V cut. The initial profile is the most complex featuring a toasty, rich blend of leather, oats, nuts and caramel complemnted by a sweet, earthy finish. There is cream in the nose and spice on the palate around a rich, toasty retro. There’s also wonderful wood and chocolate intonations on the inhale. To say the 70th is delicious is like stating rhetorically that red Ferraris are cool. Transitions are more earthy and woody but maintain a very good complex profile. Notes of mesquite, baking spice and pan dulce keep some of the heavier elements in check and continue to make the 70th an absolute delight to smoke. In the waning stages and in keeping with the baking theme, there are, dare I say it, hints of cake batter on the retro – most appropriate considering the occasion. Yes, I’m serious. Unique tastes aside, balance is solid throughout. We did not replicate the poor burn phenomena from previous reviews as combustion is consistently good from first light to nub. Sure, there were times where the burn became uneven, but it always righted itself. Likewise, we also didn’t experience the lack of complexity or profiles dominated by heavy earth elements. On one hand, our experience with the 70th has been truly outstanding and enjoyable, but other’s negative experiences point to possible consistency issues in tobacco used and/or production. The fact our 70th had over 7 months of age, may have helped and could be something to keep in mind. Regardless of reported performance inconsistencies or possible effects of age, we happen to think folks like Cigar Aficionado got it right – this is an outstanding cigar. If you can find them, the 70th is certainly worthy of getting a box or two. ¡Feliz cumpleaños, Señor Quesada! – In Fumo Pax!
Did you Know: Although celebrating his 70th in 2017, the Quesada 70th launched at the end of 2016 to meet the FDA deadline.
- Profile: Med – Full
- Vitola: Belicoso
- Length/ Ring Gauge: 6.0″ x 52
- Purchased: B&M
- Origin: Dominican Republic
- Wrapper: Dominican
- Binder: Sumatra
- Filler: Dominican, Nicaraguan
- Cutter: Colibri V
- Lighter: Xikar Exec. II
- Price: $12.30
- Age: 7 mo.
- Box: 10
- Other Vitolas: Toro [6.0″x50]
Build: Excellent; oily; firm throughout; toothy; seams semi-visible; nice cap treatment; holds 1″ ash.
- Shaft – Leather; green tea
- Foot – Mesquite; dark chocolate
- Cold Draw – Tea; dark fruit
- Initial: Leather, oats, nuts, caramel; sweet earthy finish; rich and toasty mesquite retro; chocolate and wood notes on inhale; cream in the nose; profile becomes sweet and savory; light spice.
- Transition: Chocolate and earth profile; finish offers more coffee and wood; pan dulce (sweet bread) on retro; woody with baking spice notes on retro; Uptick in spice.
- Transition: Woody profile with notes of pepper, earth, chocolate;
Complexity: Very good
Balance: Very good
Touch ups: None
Combustion: Very good; thick, tight ash.
Recommend: 1. Go-to
- Go-to (boxworthy)
- 3rd stringer (keep 1 on hand)
- Smoke a banana instead