Up for review this week is one of the latest creations of Matasa, the Quesada 35th Anniversary. As the name implies, this special, limited edition cigar commemorates Matasa’s 35 years in the cigar business. But the really interesting story is how the cigar was made. Manolo Quesada, the founder of Matasa and man responsible for the popular Casa Magna line did not participate in the blending of this cigar. That was by design. This cigar was created exclusively by the 5th generation of the Quesada family to mark the milestone. And in fact, when the final blend was being voted on, Manolo was reportedly allowed to vote, but was ultimately overruled. The cigar comes in a single size, a box-pressed toro, 6 x 49.
I heard rumors about the 35th Anniversary at the IPCPR trade show (reportedly it sold out in the first day and a half), but I didn’t actually see or smoke one until my recent visit to New York. It just so happened these were just hitting the shop that week, and I was excited to try it out. My experience with it was mostly positive, so I decided to buy more for a later review. That time is now, let’s light it up!
Size: 6 x 49
Wrapper: Ecuadorian Arapiraca
Binder: Dominican Criollo-98
Filler: Dominican Republic Havana Vuelta Arriba Ligero, Nicaragua Ligero
Smoking Time: 2 hours
Price: MSRP $11.95
The Quesada 35th Anniversary is a very attractive looking cigar, decorated in not one, not two, but three elegant silver, gold and black bands. Two near the head, and one at the foot. And somehow the cigar pulls off the band blitz without looking gaudy. The wrapper beneath the bands is equally attractive, a dark, oily reddish brown with few visible veins, and no obvious imperfections.
The cigars were firm to the touch, and only slightly lumpy. The wrapper scent was a mild, but funky compost, but the foot had a more pronounced rich chocolate aroma. The cold taste had a dusty chocolate flavor.
Unfortunately, the performance of the Quesada 35th Anniversary in the burn department left a lot to be desired. In the best of cases, the cigar required several touch ups, and in the worst, the concern wasn’t correcting the seriously uneven burn line, but keeping the cigar lit. I had to relight one of the cigars I smoked for this review no fewer than six times, four of these were in middle third of the stick.
After smoking the worst offender, I suspected the cigars were simply too wet. I almost never dry box cigars, but I gave the remainder a day’s rest in an unhumidified cedar box. This did result in fewer relights and generally better experiences with consequent sticks. (The cigar photographed for the Tower of Burn was one of these cigars.)
On the positive side, each cigar’s draw was perfect, and between re-lights, the ash was light, attractive and solid.
The first third was a rich combination of coffee, nuts and little bit of chocolate, with coffee being the dominant flavor. Saying simply “coffee” sells it short though, it was a mixture of coffee beans, black coffee and sweeter cafe con leche flavors. There was also a grittiness to the mouth feel, that I didn’t care for, but that didn’t take too much away from my enjoyment of the flavor.
Coffee continued to play a part in the flavor profile during the second third, but not as big a role. Dark and bittersweet chocolates, along with a smoother cocoa were more prominent. Nutty flavors began to reappear past the half way point, as did a bit of sharp tasting cedar.
The final third was introduced by a buttery nutty flavor with a little bite of cedar. There were also elements of creamy cocoa and coffee as the cigar neared its conclusion.
For a special limited release cigar, the price isn’t surprising. And while a bit higher than I generally pay for the cigars I smoke, it wasn’t a significant deterrent.
Ordinarily a cigar’s burn issues aren’t enough for me to give a stick a thumbs down, especially when it doesn’t involve a bad draw. But in this case, the cigar was so high maintenance, it had me wondering at one point if I was smoking a cigar, or just playing with my lighter.
In spite of the seemingly constant relights and touch-ups, the cigar did prove to have a great flavor profile, but I just didn’t have the opportunity to fully enjoy it. Matasa has a great blend here, and I’d love to love it, especially with a good cup of coffee, if only I could keep it burning. I won’t say I disliked the Quesada 35th Anniversary, but I probably won’t be buying more and I can’t wholeheartedly recommend it either. As always, the choice is yours as to whether or not to try one. If you’re in the camp that thinks flavor trumps everything, you should try this cigar. If you’re one who can’t abide a bad burn, there’s nothing to see here.
Liked It: Enjoyed the flavor, but put off by significant burn problems
Buy It Again: Unlikely
Recommend It: Depends
Tower of Burn
Here for your viewing pleasure is my trademark Tower of Burn.
13 thoughts on “Quesada Serie Limitada 35th Anniversary”
Mr. Hewitt, you should see that “Tower of Burn” on my new IMac…sweet!
Once again Stogie Review introduces me to a cigar I’ve never heard of. Thanks.
Makes you wonder what the blend Manolo voted for tasted like, and if the burn was any better.
Interesting you chose a single day for your drybox time, any science behind that decision?
I loathe a cigar that wont stay lit. People tell me that Padilla Obsidians taste good but I can never seem to get that far. I have experienced what you speak of from a Don Diego Liga #2 from time to time (good flavor, wont stay lit) but luckily not on a regular basis.
Love the written review. Adds nicely to the mix.
Bought a 5pack of Matasa 30th Annies and had the same burn isues on all 5. Flavor was great, just had to relight half a dozen times.
I just saw these at my local B&M last week. I’d never even heard of them but another patron was raving about the flavor. They were up there in price thanks to NY taxes. I think it was close to $15.
Guys…what happened to my comment from last night. Was it not posted due to me using my other computer? What gives?
Well…lets see if I can remember what I wrote
Mr. Hewitt, you should see the Tower of Burn on my new IMAC…SWEEEEET!
Once again Stogie Review introduces to me a cigar I knew nothing about. Thank you.
Makes you wonder what the blend Manolo voted on tasted like, and if it burned any better.
Interesting that you went only 1 day in the drybox. Any science behind that decision?
BTW…I like your written reviews…blends nicely with the rest.
Keep up the great work Brian.
Thanks for recreating the comment Al, you were just an innocent victim of our over zealous spam filter.
I too am curious about the blend Manolo voted on, for both of the reasons you mention. I wouldn’t be surprised it makes an appearance on the forthcoming Quesada line of cigars.
The dry-box time had more to do a little to do with my schedule, but it had more to do with the dry-boxing practices of other people I’ve spoken to about the topic. Some people do it for as little as a few hours, others as much as a day. Assuming I was right, that these cigars were significantly over humidified, I went with the longer period of time. It did seem to improve the results noticeably.
Great review Brian! I have never heard of this stick either and it seems I wont mind skipping it 😉 I cant stand the burn issues! When you are smoking and trying to relax and enjoy the cigar, you do not want to have to keep touching it up or relighting, it takes away from the experience!
At over $11, I dont think this cigar should have ANY burn problems – mark it down to $5 and maybe I could understand, but not at over $11 !
I have to agree with you and the others as far as the burn issue. The tower of burn shown looks like something I could live with but the constant relights would tend to annoy me. On the other hand though the flavor profile sounds great and something I would definitely want to try. I just wish the price point was a little lower and hopefully storing them at a lower humidity would help with the burn.
Thanks for the review.
I just smoked one of these that I’d been holding onto for a few weeks. What huge disappointment. The flavor had a unique sweetness to it that wasn’t bad but it was surprisingly mild in strength. The burn was also terrible. I didn’t have the smoke go out at all but I had to touch it up several times once I got past the 1st third. The smokes go for over $14 a stick by me and for that money I expect a better experience.
Right on with the review, bought a few out here (of coure at 15.95 lol) and had some lighting issues, etc.
I may be the only person that didn’t experience burn issues. The wrapper did crack, but it didn’t hinder the cigar from burning properly.
I got the cigar as a gift and didn’t realize how pricey it was until I started reading some of the comments on here. The review is dead on! The cigar however, is a little too sweet for my pallette. I expected it to a full-bodied cigar, but surprisingly mild to medium.
I would only smoke it again if gifted, but definitely not worth the price.
Sorry just realized I misspelled the word palate.