Monday, October 5, 2009

My Weekend Cigar: CAO La Traviata "Divino" and Quesada Ltd. Edition 35th Anniversary

By Gary Korb

Finally, after a more than two week cigar hiatus due to a miserable sinus infection, I was able to get back in the smoking groove this past weekend. As I nimbly fingered through my humidors, I decided to try a couple of new cigars that debuted at this year's IPCPR Trade Show in New Orleans.

On Saturday, I sampled the 5" x 50 CAO La Traviata "Divina." Blended with a core of two different ligero filler tobaccos - one from Pueblo Nuevo in Nicaragua, the other from The Dominican Republic, a Cameroon binder, and a dark, mouthwatering Ecuadorian Habano wrapper, this cigar hit on all cylinders. The smoke was exceptionally smooth and complex with dark, earthy tobacco flavors dominated by strong woody notes, and laced with an appealing sweetness.

I paired it with a cup of coffee, which made a good match. The cigar was exceptionally creamy, well-balanced, and highly consistent from start to finish. Although CAO is marketing it as a "full-body" cigar, to my taste it was more medium to full; definitely "full" for the novice, but bearable, for it was never overpowering. Highly recommended!

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On Sunday, I decided it was time to try the Quesada Limited Edition 35th Anniversary cigar. This is a box-pressed 6" x 49 Toro with an Ecuadorian-grown Arapiraca seed wrapper that caps a Dominican binder and a longfiller blend of Dominican, with Nicaraguan ligero at its heart.


As a big fan of Manolo Quesada's work over the year, this cigar did not disappoint. It was also one of the most perfectly balanced and flavorful cigars I've ever smoked. Paired with a glass of Tapeña Garnacha (2007), a nice fruity table wine, the cigar was a virtual kaleidoscope of flavor.

The smoke was extremely smooth, creamy and complex. Rich flavors of sweet cedar, cocoa and coffee prevailed throughout, and each puff was as succulent as the one that preceded it, as it didn't gather any significant strength until the middle of the final third. This is, no doubt, the definition of a "full-flavored" cigar, and belongs in the full-bodied category, too.

I was so impressed with this cigar that, like his #1 ranked Casa Magna of last year, I will not be surprised if the 35th Anniversary makes it into a least the Top-5 this year. Very highly recommended!

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Unfortunately, both cigars are not yet available at Famous Smoke Shop, and the Quesada 35th, due to its limited supply will probably only be available at retail stores. In any event, if you've already had the opportunity to smoke either of these cigars, let me know if we're in sync by leaving a comment.

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