It was years ago that my siblings and I would find ourselves rummaging around in my grandpa’s old garage. Corrugated metal siding hung loosely from the warped wood frame, a shelter that may not have been as safe as we imagined. Greasy tools lined the walls and sawdust lingered through the air; all surrounding a heap of “treasures” from days past. There was an instantaneous, musty aroma that greeted you as you entered, an amalgam of wood, leather, oil, and the elements, fermented together over time. It’s a fond memory, and something I’ll never forget.
As I’m sure is the case with many who read this, cigars have a certain way of bringing back strong visual memories. They say our sense of smell is tied closest to memory; all it takes is one specific note to bring nostalgic memories rushing back. For me, today it was the Quesada Oktoberfest Dunkel.
This is where the review begins (for those that find the visual precursor unnecessary).
Coinciding with the annual German festival Oktoberfest (in which the world celebrates the existence of beer), Quesada Cigars has found a way to include cigars in all this fun! First released in 2011, the Quesada Oktoberfest is now an annual tradition; one where seasonal cigars and beer alike are paired to perfection.
As a special one-time release, this year Quesada has teemed up with online smoke shop Smoke Inn to create the newest addition in their Microblend series: Quesada Oktoberfest Dunkel. The Dunkel is a tribute to dark, German lager beers, which are commonly referred to by the same name. Aside from adding a dark broadleaf maduro wrapper to this special release, Quesada has also wrapped the foot of the cigar in a natural Ecuadorian Connecticut, making for a very clever “beer foam” appearance. Read more about the specifics of this limited release in the official press release.
I don’t usually post my drink pairing notes with cigar reviews, but for this particular cigar it seemed like an absolute must. The obvious choice in this situation is the Samuel Adams seasonal Octoberfest (misspelled with a “C” in an attempt to Americanize the term, I’m assuming). I decided to crack open one of my own homebrew dunkelweizen beers, which had been aging for over a year and sounded like the perfect choice! Dunkelweizens are the dark counterpart to the more popular Hefe-weizen beers. The beer is characterized by dark, malty flavors, along with fruity notes of banana and a chocolatey finish. I highly recommend you go out and pick up one of these beers to pair with your Quesada Dunkel.
Let the tasting begin
The Quesada Oktoberfest Dunkel is a fantastic looking cigar. The wrapper is dark and oily and the construction feels solid and weighty. The band is the same as the original, with the German flag colors of black, red, and gold; it certainly has the look and feel of fall. The cigar smells of leather and with a pre-light draw there are flavors of seasonal herbs and hay.
As the distinguishing feature of this cigar, I was most interested to experience the changing from the natural to maduro wrappers. This process was fairly quick, so have your tastebuds on their toes (if that makes any sense). Caramel flavors come alive right away, accompanied by a nice aromatic hay flavor and a sweet finish. The retrohale is smooth with a spice on the finish.
The transition from light to dark (wrappers) had me thrown off my game, it came in an instant and I was left grasping for flavors. Soon my palate regained its footing – leather and chocolate came through first, as they were the dominate flavors. But there was a nice hay-like spice in the retrtohale, possibly still lingering from the natural Ecuadorian Connecticut leaf.
There was one other flavor that had me intrigued, something I couldn’t quite put my finger on. And suddenly it hit me – my grandpa’s old garage. I find it so interesting that a cigar can hit such a precise note that it will have you instantaneously transported to another place and time. A musty flavor, but in a good way, like going into a cellar after a rainfall. This is why I felt it necessary to explain my past experiences in the prologue, because the defining flavor of this cigar, for me, was more of an experience than a flavor.
I must also note that the cigar did have a tight draw, and for some this may be just perfect, but I found myself struggling to keep the cigar lit and keep those flavors coming. One or two relights were needed along the way, but only near the end when maybe I held on to the cigar a tad longer than I should have.
Pairing the cigar with my dunkelweizen, I found the beer brought out the sweeter notes in the cigar. A sweet, alcoholic flavor carried over to the cigar, something like barrel-aged rum. Although the beer may have slightly overwhelmed the cigar with its rich, full-bodied flavors.
Moving further into the cigar and the flavors are true to the season. Tree bark and pumpkin spice flavors abound (yum…). The retrohale has picked up some bite, with a tingling spice that seems to get stronger with each puff. The chocolate and leather flavors begin to darken, and that old musty flavor remains, tugging at you throughout.
The retrohale takes center stage as the cigar finishes up. Strong and spicy, I found myself fully retrohaling the cigar through my nose with each puff. The flavors were thick and indulgent, with espresso accompanying that strong spice.
Would I smoke this cigar again?
Most definitely, although I’m glad this is a seasonal release. This cigar is perfectly fitting for the fall atmosphere and is full of nostalgic flavors that help bring back old memories (or maybe that’s just me). I love a cigar with some complexity, one that doesn’t show all its cards upfront and makes you work a little to find all the hidden flavors. And for me, this cigar just hit the spot. This is a medium/full bodied cigar that is a perfect smoke on a fall afternoon – enjoy.
- Unique flavor progression
- Full flavor
- Great with beer
- Doesn't have the new Oktoberfest graphics