Cigar Review: Quesada Jalapa Belicoso

Cigar Review: Quesada Jalapa Belicoso

Quesada Jalapa Belicoso

Size:   Belicoso (6 1/8″  x 52)

Wrapper: Nicaraguan Jalapa

Binder:  Dominican

Filler:  Nicaraguan & Dominican

Strength: Mild-Medium

Price:  $8.75 MSRP

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One of the surprise hits last year was a little distributed (domestically) cigar from Quesada named the España.  The España was a regional release for the Spanish market that was blended to compete with the Cuban market in Spain.  The España got into the hands of a number of retailers at the ProCigar festival in the Dominican Republic and the response was overwhelming.  Demand was such that a very limited number of España’s made their way to the US but they were few and far between.  The España was a incredibly smooth and complex cigar but due to limited amounts of the rare wrapper leaf there could never be enough for US distribution.  A number of España’s made their way to the blog-o-sphere and were on countless top 10 lists at the end of the year.

Quesada was looking for a way to meet the demand for a cigar with similar characteristics as the España and the solution was found in an aged wrapper grown in the Jalapa region of Nicaragua.   Tobacco from this region tends to be a bit sweeter and more complex and a lot of wrapper is grown in the region.

As a big fan of the España I was excited for this release although I had a little trepidation that it would live up to my lofty expectations.  Make no mistake about it, the España, despite being the opposite of my typical profile, is hands down a personal favorite.  I was gifted a few Jalapa Robusto pre-releases which I smoked without reviewing.  I was curious about the differences in the Vitolas so for this review I smoked a recently released Belicoso.

But enough about that, let’s toast the foot!

Grade: 9.5

Pre-Light:  (1.9)   The Jalapa features a beautiful light golden brown wrapper with a number of prominent veins.  The Belicoso has a tight seams and an expertly tapered head.  Like so many of the great Quesada brands, the Jalapa screams of uniqueness.  Even the band is stunning.

The scent off the foot reveals elements of cedar, nuts, a sweetness, and an almost cotton candy like element to it.  After a cut of the head the pre-light draw offers up creaminess with hints of nuts, cedar, and very faint pepper.

Burn:  (1.9)  The Jalapa featured  fantastic construction.  the burn line was crisp, with a bit of waviness at first, but quickly corrected and was crisp throughout.  The draw was perfect with a slight hint of resistance.  The white-grey ash was strong and held for the first two inches until I knocked it off.  It continued to hold at 3/4″ intervals as the smoke progressed.

Flavor:  (2.8)  With the first few puffs there is a smooth, sweet, creamy, almost vanilla-like flavor with a very mild pepper to the finish. The retro hale early on is sweet, with an almost sugary property to it.  About an inch in and there’s an increase in the nutty flavor.  There is also some mild saltiness.  The smoke is rich and creamy and if there was a flavor called cedar nougat I imagine this would be what it tastes like.  At this point the strength is mild, the flavor is full and quite unique.

As I progress through this incredible cigar I can’t help but get stuck thinking this is one of the most balanced, smoothest cigars I’ve ever smoked.  There is a balance between a subtle cedar, sweet vanilla, creaminess, nuttiness, and just a hint of pepper.  The finish on the palate is nuanced and flavorful.  Retro hale has a rich, aged, dry cedar profile to it. Strength is delicately moving to the lower range of medium.

In the last third the flavors are very similar to the second third.  The creaminess remains thick with the aged cedar profile and then hints of citrus and vanilla popping in and out of the flavor profile.  At times there is almost a caramel like element to the smoke.  Absolutely delicious and very different then anything I usually enjoy.  The Jalapa ends at the lower range of medium strength.

Overall:  (2.9)  I absolutely loved the Jalapa.  It’s so different from the cigars I am accustomed too.  It’s subtle, nuanced, flavors are rich and at the forefront with unique complexities moving in and out.  It’s a cigar I could smoke any time, and every time, it’s just that good.  The Jalapa is almost the opposite of the spice and pepper, coffee and cocoa, I typically enjoy from Nicaraguan tobacco, and the cedar note is quite different than the typical cedar or woodsy note that I taste in Dominican cigars.

The big question of course is whether or not it is better than the España?  The question is flawed, the Jalapa stands on its own, it is absolutely different.  As to whether or not it’s better, I’ll get back to you after I smoke a few boxes of them!

Total: 9.5