Here in Florida we may not be feeling that crisp fall weather just yet, but October is right around the corner and it is time for my favorite season… Oktoberfest! Well maybe it’s not an official season but my favorite beers are the rich, malty amber colored Oktoberfest or Märzen style brews. And of course we need to find an appropriate cigar to pair with these full flavored beers.
Nothing pairs better with an Oktoberfest beer than an Oktoberfest cigar! Quesada has been turning out their Oktoberfest cigar since 2011 and this is just a perfect smoke with the perfect beer. The Quesada family has been in the tobacco business for over a century starting in Cuba and eventually relocating to the Dominican Republic. They are best known for their Casa Magna label along with Quesada and Fonseca brands.
This year is a big step for the Oktoberfest cigar. Their traditional Oktoberfest is a Dominican puro with a Cibao Valley wrapper, Dominican binder and a filler of Cuban seed Criollo and Olor Viso and Ligero. I smoked one of those for this article and paired it with a Goose Island Oktoberfest and it was an outstanding match! The cigar had a beautiful dark and oily wrapper with some barnyard hints in the aroma; very firm to the touch but a great draw. The flavors were that of rich tobacco, some roasted nuts, a little earthy and leathery and a bit of sweetness with no bite at all. Just a rich, full, thick and chewy smoke that was incredibly smooth. There was a slight bit of spice on the retrohale but just a very easy and flavorful experience. The low level of hops in the beer matched perfectly with the low level of bite in the smoke. The smoke was cool right to the end and at one point produced an ash of close to two inches. I would definitely recommend this cigar if you’re not a fan of peppery and overpowering cigars but looking for a lot of flavor in a medium strength smoke.
I had the opportunity to try their other Oktoberfest offering while at this year’s IPCPR. They definitely went outside the box on this new blend and created their Limited Nicaraguan series. This was, again, a very rich and flavorful smoke but definitely had the extra strength and kick you will find with Nicaraguan tobacco. This is a Nicaraguan puro with a Viso Habano Jalapa wrapper and binder with a filler of Seco Habano Ometepe, Ligero Habano Esteli, and Ligero Habano Condega. The blend is outstanding and showcases the great rich flavors of Nicaraguan tobacco and kicks it up a notch with some black pepper notes. Just enough pepper to make it noticeable but not enough to overwhelm the rich earthy and leathery tobacco flavor. We managed to get our hands on a limited amount of these beauties and they should be hitting some of our stores in the next week or two. Look for the Double Bock Churchill… you will be glad you found it!
Steve Mungeer, ABC Fine Wine & Spirits, Category Manager: Premium Cigars and Craft Beer and Certified Retail Tobacconist