Quesada’s line of seasonal, Oktoberfest-themed cigars were introduced in 2011 and have now entered their 6th annual release. The blend utilizes purely Dominican tobaccos, with a profile that has been crafted to pair perfectly with the seasonal, Märzen-style beers often associated with Oktoberfest festivals.
The cigars have undergone multiple changes since their original debut, such as new bands in 2014, the introduction of a Nicaraguan alternative in 2015, and new sub-bands (to distinguish the year of release and blend) in 2015. Additionally, each year, new sizes are introduced (as well as some that are retired), such as the new Kugel and Triple Bock Haus. The overall lineup for 2016 has increased to seven vitolas (between the two blends), up from the six sizes of 2015.
Oktoberfest 2016 Kugel Breakdown
- Wrapper: Dominican Cibao Valley
- Binder: Dominican
- Filler: Cuban Seed Criollo (Dominican) | Olor Viso & Olor Ligero (Dominican)
- Factory: Quesada Cigars (Dominican Republic)
- Production: Seasonal (1,000 boxes of 10 cigars for 2016)
- Vitola: 5″ × 38 × 58 × 44 “Kugel” (figurado)
- Price: $7.50
The cigars are packaged in 10-count Semi Boite Nature boxes; a more traditional approach, compared to the Nicaraguan blends, which feature Bavarian-style “brauhaus” boxes (shaped after a beer-house). For 2016, 10,000 Kugel cigars have been rolled. When asked about next year’s release, brand-runner Terence Reilly intimated the size was likely to return.
Kugel is not only the most intricate vitola in the series, tapering from 38 to 58 to 44 ring gauge, it is also the most affordable—coming in at only $7.50 per cigar.
The cigar is rather dark (Colorado Maduro), perhaps only a shade lighter than maduro, with a subtle, orange/gold hue in the sunlight. The wrapper is fairly oily, having very thin veins and contrastingly dark seams. The construction is rigid, barely allowing you to squeeze to test for soft spots (which there were none). The shape is obviously attractive, and the solid construction makes for clean and consistent curves. I think most will agree that elegant cigar shapes give the feeling of a more luxurious experience—perhaps it’s the appreciation of the higher level of skill and time spent on its creation. The drawback is the potential for draw and construction issues—but considering Quesada’s regular use of innovative vitolas, it shouldn’t be a big concern.
I’m a big fan of the updated bands, and the new sub-bands do a good job complimenting them. In addition to the color differentiation, there is also small text under the year that designates the cigar’s origin. A nice look overall, although I could do without the emoji-esque beer steins on either side of the sub-band.
On the nose, you’ll find oak, leather, and cabinet spices. The pre-light draw is medium-firm and shows oak and black pepper.
With the cigar’s tapered foot, it toasts/lights quickly, giving a draw that’s on the tighter side and smoke output to match. This is understandable, and the cigar’s shape expands to full width in about an inch—this should improve the draw and smoke output. Flavors are on the darker side, showing a familiar oak, as well as chocolate, malt (it’s meant to pair with beer after all), and a background of leather.
Approaching the 58 gauge, the strength begins to climb—I’d peg the profile around medium flavor, medium+ strength, medium body. This is, not surprisingly, where Kugel receives its first touch-up—just needed a little help over the hump. The flavors have a campfire smokiness and bitter sensation, like chewing on coffee beans.
The construction looks great, as far as ash and burn line are concerned. The ash holds at least two inches, having a medium gray color with occasional dark gray rings. As expected, the draw loosens passing the 58 ring gauge, amping smoke output as well. Overall, the profile is robust, with malt, chocolate, and leather being the primary components, with a slightly sweet caramel making its way in the final portion of the smoke.
Would I Smoke This Cigar Again?
It’s a seasonal smoke and I’m not one to be left out of the festivities. Yes, I always look forward to the annual Oktoberfest beer and ‘gar pairing. As far as seasonal offerings go, this is certainly one of the most fun, least gimmicky, and best value offerings out there. It’s always fun to try the fall season bears as well, and while the German Märzen beers are not my ideal style, it makes it a lot more fun to have a good smoke to pair with and added incentive to join in the Oktoberfest fun.
- Smoke Time: 1 hour, 25 minutes
- Pairing Recommendation: dark Märzen beer
- Purchase Recommendation: 5-pack
- Fun size
- Great value
- Successfully captures the Märzen beer pairing
- Inconsistant draw
- Low complexity
- Low smoke output