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Cigar Review – Quesada Tributo Julio

Blending a tribute cigar is a risky endeavor—one the one hand, if the cigar is great, it’s a worthy tribute and everybody’s happy. On the other hand, if the cigar is terrible, it might be looked at as a half-hearted effort. Thankfully, the Quesada Tributo Julio was everything it was cracked up to be, plus a little extra.

Manuel Quesada blended these cigars to celebrate the lives of four of his family members and close associates who passed away. The cigars are made with a one-of-a-kind wrapper; a hybrid Habano 2000, Corojo, Habano Vuelto Arriba, and Sumatra leaf called HCHS. Underneath this is a Criollo ’98 binder and Dominican and Nicaraguan ligero filler leaves. A blend that complicated had better produce some complex smoke, and believe me, it did.

The wrapper on the stogie was a deep brown with some coppery accents and a nice oily sheen, and the filler was firmly packed from head to foot—I couldn’t find any soft spots. After cutting the tightly applied cap, I took a few pre-light puffs and got caramel, bittersweet citrus peel, and black pepper that made me cough a little bit. Coughing before even lighting up a cigar is a pretty good indication that it’ll be a powerhouse, and it certainly was.

Upon lighting, the cigar blasted my palate with black pepper, leather, and coffee. The caramel that I detected in the pre-light draw wasn’t there yet, and the pepper remained intense until almost an inch into the smoke. Towards the end of the first third, a cocoa note emerged from its peppery base and added just a hint of sweetness.

About halfway through the cigar, the draw got a bit difficult, but after some careful prodding with the Maverick Cigar Awl, it opened right up. The cocoa really ramped up and the pepper mellowed out, and along with the cocoa came some burnt brown sugar sweetness. Up to this point, the burn had been pretty straight (a few mountains and valleys here and there, but otherwise even) and the ash stayed for roughly an inch at a time.

As I reached the final third of the cigar, the pepper came back with full force. I was worried that the cigar would turn harsh, but I worked through the second wave of pepper, and man, am I glad I did. The spice toned down a little and the sweetness of the cocoa ramped up while recognizable aromas of bread, malt, and leather came charging through. The cigar went out on its own accord when there was about an inch left, and at that point I decided to let it go.

I think there was a lot to the Quesada Tributo Julio that I couldn’t pick up on the first smoke, so I’d like to smoke a few more of these in the future. I’d definitely recommend aging these a little to mellow them, but I personally like a little less fiery pepper and a little more caramel from my cigars. That said, there is not a doubt in my mind that this is one of the most complex cigars I’ve ever smoked. So far I’ve tried three of Manuel Quesada’s blends (this, the Fonseca Cubano Limitado Robusto, and the Casa Magna Colorado Toro), and I’ve been very impressed with each one. I recommend getting some of these, aging them, and smoking them down as far as you can. Oh, and one more thing—even after sitting for 45 minutes and writing this review, I’m still flying on the nicotine from this cigar, so I recommend eating something before smoking and enjoying it with a glass of water.

You may notice that these aren’t listed on our website—that’s due to a contractual obligation we have to our supplier. If you’d like to order Quesada Tributo, give us a call at 1-800-41-CIGAR (1-800-412-4427).