Posts

Manuel Quesada 70th Announced

At today’s Procigar tour at the Quesada Cigars factory in the Dominican Republic, the company formally announced its newest release: Manuel Quesada 70th.

The cigar is made in honor of Manuel “Manolo” Quesada Jr., who turns 70 in April. Quesada Jr. himself blended the cigar and as of now, he’s apparently not telling anyone what it is.

It’s offered in his two favorite sizes: Toro (6 x 50) and Belicoso (6 x 52)—both of which are priced at $12.95 per cigar. The Manuel Quesada 70th is limited to 1,000 boxes of 10 cigars in each size.

“My uncle has dedicated his life to cigars and all of us at Quesada cannot express in words how proud we are of him,” said Terence Reilly, gm of Quesada Cigars, in a press release. “Whether you know him well or have never met him personally, smoking the MQ 70 gives the aficionado an opportunity to connect with Manuel through the taste and avor of this blend. It truly exemplies his palate.”

*Credit: Halfwheel

Stellar Stogies: Romeo y Julieta

The “Romeo y Julieta” above obviously refers to the famous Cuban cigar brand, not its unremarkable Dominican namesake. The brand is, of course, named after the star-crossed lovers of Shakespeare’s most famous play. Which I often take to mean that I should smoke a pair of them. I’m just romantic that way.

Romeo y Julieta Cigars was established in Cuba in 1875. And while it took awhile for Romeo y Julieta to become the worldwide star of the cigar industry it is today, the brand did win quite a few high-level cigar awards in its infancy. Among them were gold medals from exhibitions in Antwerp, Paris, and Brussels. Ever wondered about the gold medals on Romeo y Julieta bands? That’s where they came from.

The brand transformed into the Romeo y Julieta we would recognize today when it was purchased by the firm Rodriguez, Argüelles y Cia in 1903. The head of the company, Jose Rodriguez, really knew what he was doing when he decided to acquire the brand: he was formerly in charge of Havana’s famous Cabañas factory. He wanted to take a good brand and make it great. And he certainly did.

Though quality was always important to the brand, Rodriguez (who soon became sole owner of “Romeo y Julieta Cigar Factory”) was a sharp guy – he also knew how important increased production and great marketing would be to the success of the brand. So he started off by implementing a system of incentives that would increase the quantity of cigars the workers could produce. A very modern idea.

Rodriguez was a modern guy, and also used plenty of modern marketing techniques to get the brand name out there. A smooth salesman, he traveled the world marketing his cigars. He pulled lots of gimmicky (but very successful) marketing stunts, such as entering his racehorse (named, of course, Julieta) in races worldwide to bring attention to his cigars. Or making a public spectacle of opening up a Romeo y Julieta cigar shop in the Hotel Capulet in Verona, Italy. And if these place names don’t sound familiar to you (and hence you don’t get the gimmick), you need to go re-read your Shakespeare.

Because of Rodriguez’s smooth schmoozing, the brand exploded, becoming one of the most popular in the world. Just to keep things going, he began to offer personalized bands for the brand’s steady customers. At one point, 2000 different personalized bands were being made for the brand’s more affluent and famous patrons.

One of these famous patrons was, of course, good ol’ Winston Churchill. He was such a big fan of the brand that Romeo y Julieta is given credit for creating the “Churchill” shape that’s so popular today (the factory name is Julieta 2).

*Credit: Karen, Cigar Inspector

*Photo credits: Kevin Hammond, Miss Cleopatra

Casa Magna Magnus II Limited: Looks Aren’t Everything

Some cigars look impressive. This was my  thought when I purchased the Casa Magna Magnus II Limited. I was scanning the humidor at the Lone Wolf Cigar Lounge in West Los Angeles looking for a new cigar to review.  I have tried several Casa Magna smokes before but it has been many years since my last taste.

Brand/ Name of Cigar: Casa Magna/ D. Magnus II Limitada
Country of Origin: Nicaragua
Wrapper: Nicaragua Jalapa Sungrown
Binder: Nicaragua 
Shape: Topedo
Price: $12.95 , Lone Wolf Cigar Lounge, 4/1/16

Where and when smoked: Los Angeles, Ca.  5/1/16

Appearance / Construction:

As I stated earlier I thought very highly of the look of the cigar. Dark chocolate wrapper with a band that creates a real eye grabber. Solid, no soft spots, with an oily feel to the touch. Small veins with no discernible flaws. Overall it was a very bold looking cigar.

Flavor/ Taste and Aroma:

The initial flavor had a combo of chocolate, coffee and a hint of maple. I was not expecting this as I was looking for spice and pepper. Yet, it was a strong taste and pretty bold but not overpowering. The aroma was pleasant, nutty and sweet.

Smoking Characteristics:

The burn was uneven with a dark ash and cool burn. Flavor stayed on course with the same profile I started out with. More spice and pepper flowed through but I liked the overall mix of the blend. No relights but needed to make a correction to even out the smoke.

Conclusion/Overall Impression:

This was a tale of two different cigars. The construction looked very solid. The flavor profile was good but also had bouts of bitter and harsh notes.  It was a respectable smoke but hoped for more.

Final Thoughts:

At $12.95 it needed to be the “bomb.” Too many issues to rate it as a must have cigar.  Here are the numbers.

Appearance/Construction: 4 out of 5
Flavor/ Taste and Aroma: 3 out of 5
Smoking Characteristics: 3 out of 5
Overall : 3 out of 5

*Credit: Frank “Bo” Gerechter, The Urban Fishing Pole