Back in December SAG Imports announced a new Quesada line called the Q d’etat which was created to help raise awareness about the government’s involvement in cigar regulation. The first release in the line was the Molotov, which Charlie reviewed here. Soon after the Molotov’s release the announcement was made about a Memorial Day release of the Howitzer. This will be the second of three currently planned sizes for the Q d’etat line.
Here is some info about the line from the December press release:
The Q d’etat line represents a symbolic revolt against the unfair taxation practices and mistreatment of the premium cigar industry.
The brand is intended to create awareness of the dangers increased government regulation and taxation will produce, specifically the FDA’s desire to regulate premium cigars. There will be three sizes, released at different dates, of 1,000 ten-count boxes. Each box will contain a form to register for membership in Cigar Rights of America.
Here is a picture from SAG Import’s website of what the box looks like:
(Image via MATASA)
Now you know the background, so let’s get to the review.
- Cigar Reviewed: Quesada Q d’etat Howitzer
- Country of Origin: Dominican Republic
- Factory: The Quesada Factory
- Wrapper: Dominican
- Binder: Dominican
- Filler: Dominican
- Size: 6 Inches
- Ring Gauge: 60
- Vitola: Gordo
- MSRP: $9.50 (Boxes of 10, $95.00)
- Release Date: May 2012
- Number of Cigars Released: 1,000 Boxes of 10 Cigars (10,000 Total Cigars)
- Number of Cigars Smoked for Review: 2
Like all other cigars of this size, the first thing you notice how ridiculously huge the cigar is. The next thing I notice is how amazing the wrapper looks. With just one solitary vein, seamless wrapper application and a smooth slightly oily feel to the wrapper; the cigar looks really great. The Howitzer has just enough give without being spongy and is consistent throughout without any soft spots. Aroma coming off the foot of the cigar is very pleasant having a slight barnyard profile with sweet brown sugar and cinnamon overtones. The pre-draw is also equally appealing giving me notes of toasted raisin bread, brown sugar and a tiny bit of a peppery bite.
After a full minute and twelve seconds of toasting and lighting the cigar (yes, it was timed) I take a few draws and I’m surprised by the sweet bouquet of flavors that starts out the first third of the Howitzer. With an overall earthy profile, there are wonderful hazelnut notes, sweet cream, nutmeg, a hint of cinnamon, and only a touch of pepper. The draw is fantastic and there is plenty of white, aromatic smoke. My only complaint so far is the ring gauge of the cigar, which is just a little too big for my preference. Barely an inch in the cigar has lost a large number of notes that made up the previously great bouquet. All that is really left is the earthy profile, a little cedar, and the touch of pepper. Also as a side note the cigar leaves just a touch of pepper on my lips from the wrapper as well, which I don’t usually notice from other cigars.
By the second third, the Dominican puro has definitely grown in strength living up to its artillery namesake. Unfortunately, the strength has come along with just an overall bitterness that completely shuts down any sort of enjoyable notes this cigar has. Purging doesn’t seem to help matters and really seems to have blown away any remaining flavors. The burn of the Quesada has gone a little squirrely as well with a burn line running up one side of the cigar although it’s not too serious.
Honestly — I didn’t even want to finish this final third. I struggled through part of it though just to confirm there wasn’t anything left worth smoking. All I’m getting seems to be a hot mess of earthy notes, a little cedar, and a touch of pepper – all overlaid with a bitter harshness. On a good note the burn evened out from earlier and the draw is still nice.
- As with their Casa Magna Gigantores I reviewed a little over a month ago, I think the main problem with cigars this size is their wrapper to filler ratio.
- The Howitzer was announced right on the heels of the release of the Molotov, the third size is expected to be announced at IPCPR 2012.
- To be clear, this was a bad cigar not because of the size, this was a bad cigar because of one thing — flavor.
- Charlie stated the Molotov band was “difficult to photograph, questionable looking and not the cleanest in terms of application…” I didn’t find to be the case with the Howitzer. I do think the clean artillery shells on the band made for a nicer, cleaner looking band than the fire on the Molotov’s, and the bands were applied neatly, albeit slightly tight.
- Quesada is a sponsor of halfwheel, these cigars were bought.
- Final smoking time was about an hour and 45 minutes, however if you smoked the entire cigar it could easily break the two hour mark.
The Bottom Line: I can honestly say that I’ve never had higher hopes starting into a cigar only to have them viciously dashed so quickly and thoroughly. If the Howitzer had continued how it started this would’ve been an immediate favorite of mine and easily scored in the mid 90s, and that’s taking into consideration how big a ring gauge this is despite the fact it’s not my personal preference. Since it went downhill so quickly after the first third however, I barely had any time to actually enjoy the good part of the cigar. I’m very curious how a similar blend with the same wrapper in a smaller ring gauge would do and also how this cigar will taste after mellowing out for a few months. Having smoked two of the three we got for the review, I think I’ll sit on the last one and come back to report how they’re smoking after some rest. As for now, I can’t really recommend this cigar past maybe purchasing a single to try it out yourself.
Final Score: 79