For almost four decades, José Seijas toiled as an employee in the tobacco industry, rising to the position of vice president and general manage of the Tabacalera de Garcia factory in the La Romana area of the Dominican Republic, a four-hour drive from the cigar-making capital of Santiago. At this facility—which is owned by the premium cigar behemoth Altadis U.S.A. Incorporated—Seijas oversaw the production of more than sixty million cigars on an annual basis, including the brands Montecristo, H. Upmann, and Romeo y Julieta. In 2012, José retired.
However, his retirement did not last very long and Seijas soon started focusing on launching his own brand of premium cigars, with family members as partners in his new enterprise. Pursuing historical records for inspiration, Jose discovered that the very old Dominican brand of La Matilde was available and he made arrangements to purchase it from the owners. After marketing considerations, Seijas shortened the name to Matilde. He then began, once again, to toil in the tobacco fields of La Romana.
In February of 2014, José Seijas introduced the first cigar under his new marque, the Renacer—which means rebirth. This cigar quickly accumulated critical acclaim from both cigar aficionados and cigar reviewers from all points on the compass. Some seventeen months later, Seijas shipped his sophomore release, the Matilde Oscura. This cigar was greeted with a standing ovation by the industry, becoming Cigar Dojo’s number eight cigar of the year for 2015. At the recent IPCPR event in Las Vegas, Matilde introduced the third cigar in its line up, the Quadrata. In Latin, the word “quadrata” means “square” or “rectangular”, an appropriate name for the company’s first, fully box-pressed offering. Once again, premium cigar connoisseurs all over the world are overjoyed that José Seijas’ retirement from Altadis was brief in length.
A tobacco man is, after all, always a tobacco man.
Matilde Quadrata Robusto Breakdown
- Wrapper: Ecuadorian Habano
- Binder: Dominican
- Filler: Nicaraguan | Dominican
- Factory: Tabacalera Palma (Dominican Republic)
- Production: Regular Production
- Vitola: 5¼” × 50 Robusto (box-pressed)
- Price: $8.50
The Quadrata is the third release from José Seijas’ three-year-old Matilde brand, following the highly-rated Renacer and the award-winning Oscura. This new line of cigars is initially offered in three sizes—Robusto (5¼” x 50, $8.50), Torpedo (6” x 52, $9.00), and the Toro Bravo (6½” x 54, $9.00). The vitolas are packed in matte-orange cabinet boxes, which contain twenty cigars.
While the Quadrata and the Renacer are both composed with an Ecuadorian Habano wrapper, a Dominican binder, and long-leaf filler leaves from Nicaragua and the Dominican Republic, the new cigar is not its older brother’s doppelgänger. According to the factory, the Quadrata’s blend is designed to be full in flavor and medium to full in strength—stronger than the Matilde Renacer but milder than the Matilde Oscura, which consists of a Mexican San Andrés wrapper, a Sumatra binder, and filler tobaccos from the United States, the Dominican Republic, and Nicaragua. In addition, the Quadrata is box-pressed and not cylindrical, which typically produces a cigar with a better burn, a fuller draw, and a touch of increased complexity.
The Matilde Quadrata Robusto is a striking example of a premium box-pressed cigar, its razor-sharp edges forming precise ninety-degree angles relative to the vitola’s linear front and back. A perfectly applied triple-cap enhances the sophisticated look of the cigar. Its smooth, Ecuadorian Habano wrapper is almost flawless—attractive veining, a slight amount of tooth, and tight seams. The color of the robusto is a mixture of roasted chestnuts and chocolate, with a subtle tinge of carmine-red. An overall oiliness on the wrapper produces a glimmering sheen in the noonday sunlight, like a dark-hulled sailboat tacking across the open sea.
Underneath the standard, lightly-embossed Matilde band, highlighting the company’s distinctive logo—printed in the color of charred oranges—a matching sub-band identifies the cigar as the Quadrata. Properly packed from the foot to the cap, the wrapper aroma combines finely-aged tobaccos with a chocolate sweetness, while the open foot smells of cedar, earth, hay, and assorted spices.
After the robusto is opened with a substantial V-cut—which reduces the risk of damaging the the cap on a box-pressed cigar, compared with using a guillotine cutter—the cold draw is quite open, with just a slight (and desirable) amount of resistance. Smooth flavors of cedar, cinnamon, and chocolate immediately touch the palate.
After toasting and lighting the cigar with a soft flame lighter, the first draw is slightly tainted by an off-putting mineral taste, which almost immediately fades away. By the third puff, the robusto begins to produce the nuanced and rich flavors indicative of its tobacco composition—an Ecuadorian Habano wrapper, a Dominican binder, and a mix of long-leaf filler from Nicaragua and the Dominican Republic. This combination quickly culminates in a mouthwatering flavor profile that attractively coats the entire tongue and the roof of the mouth. The draw of the cigar is very good, with an ample amount of smoke output. Aromas and flavors of drip-brewed coffee, powdered chocolate, crisp cedar, and ciabatta mingle together in an ambrosial balance, while white pepper and light spices are dominant on the retrohale. The smoking experience is flavorful and smooth.
As the Matilde Quadrata Robusto enters into the second third, the strength gradually increases while the body begins to transition from medium to full. The aromas and flavors present in the first third of the cigar continue to build, while the initial coffee note shifts to a style from a stronger cup, like those produced in a stove-top Bialetti Moka Express machine. Flavors and aromas of salted nuts, dried hardwoods, leather, and spicy Aztec chocolate appear, adding to the complexity of the Quadrata.
Room aroma is reminiscent of a charcoal fire, dotted with chunks of cedar in the fireplace grate of a centuries-old smoking room. The burn line is razor sharp, holding two inches of cinereous ash, highlighted with specks of obsidian. On the retrohale, the white pepper is replaced by red pepper, with just a touch of licorice.
As it burns through its final third, the Quadrata continues to provide an enjoyable and impressive smoking experience. The draw becomes very open, requiring light puffs to produce bountiful amounts of ceiling-clinging smoke. Aromas and flavors are a complex, but smooth, mix of practically every category on the cigar flavor wheel—nuts, dried fruits, herbs and spices, earth and minerals, and an attractive, vegetative note that appears as the robusto enters the numbing stage. It is a fine cigar.
Would I Smoke This Cigar Again?
The answer to that question is, “Yes. And Often.” The Maltide Quadrata Robusto is an outstanding cigar which provides almost two hours of smoking enjoyment. And the pricing makes it even more attractive. In fact, after smoking the review sample, I went out and purchased a box—along with five-packs of the other two sizes.
- No touch-ups
- Atypical, mineral-tasting start