The Quesada family has been a part of the tobacco world for over a century. When they first arrived in Cuba from Spain they were bakers. It was in the late 1800s that they began their tobacco business when a debt to the family was paid with tobacco. Antero Gonzales and his brother Constantino started a leaf purchasing company, working as tobacco brokers. At the beginning of the century the brothers split ways and established separate companies and became the two largest exporters of Cuban tobacco. They have been competing in the world market ever since through several generations.
A daughter of Antero Gonzalez married a man named Agustin Quesada, who worked his way up the ranks and ultimately ran the brokerage. They eventually became the parents of a boy named Manuel Quesada, who was in turn the father of Manuel Quesada, Jr. — the current head of MATASA. A new company was formed by Quesada to handle the manufacture of Antillian Cigars. This new firm, Manufacture de Tobacos, S.A. (commonly known by the acronym MATASA), was established in a new free trade zone in Santiago in June 1974. The company began as a small operation with $100, a chair, and a phone,” employing just three rollers. Soon there were 35 rollers producing the Fonseca and Sosa brands for Antillian. Total production in the first year was just 20,000 cigars.
In the early 2000′s Manolo Quesada assembled a new management team around him which included general manager Julio Fajardo, Manolo’s brother Alvaro, who as vice president was in charge of the company’s farms and fledgling cigarette operation, and his nephew Alvarito. Unfortunately, in April 2002 a plane crash took the lives of all three, leaving Manolo to run the company. Today, Manolo Quesada works with two daughters — Patricia and Raquel, niece Esther and nephews Hostos & Terence.
Today, the company is celebrating its 40th anniversary. In honor of this milestone, the MATASA factory and their current distribution company in the United States (SAG Imports), will now be collectively known as Quesada Cigars. Over 300 people work in their Santiago manufacturing facility and they produce over 15 million cigars each year. Their best-selling brands are Casa Magna & Quesada Cigars, best known in the medium to full bodied segment and also Fonseca (non-Cuban version), a brand best known for products in the mild-to-medium segment of the taste spectrum.
This cigar has a gorgeous and silky dark brown toothy wrapper. It was smooth to the touch with an oily sheen and a mild, earthy smell with a hint of sweetness on the pre-light.
1st quarter: A slight resistance on the draw eventually led up to a smooth smoking transition. Spices and rich tobacco notes started off right away, producing a lot of thick and flavorful smoke that filled the surrounding air and went straight to the palate. 2nd quarter: Some very interesting and full flavored spice delivered to the palate. It offered an underlying medium body along with a hay like sweetness. 3rd quarter: In this portion, you will find very big aroma and flavor that has a lot of rich tobacco and earthy flavors. A slow burn produced a dark gray flaky ash. There was then more sweetness on the palate and noticeable spice through the nose; a full flavor with a unique quality made itself known. 4th quarter: Once the band was removed, the draw loosened up and interesting spices developed through the nose and in the aroma and remained to the finish.
The Quesada 40th Anniversary had a great balance of flavor and body, offering an overall medium profile. It has a very smooth character with bold flavors and an alluring aroma. It is a solid, well made cigar that offers plenty of flavor and richness.
Myron Gooch Sr.
Reviewed at: The Man Cave.
Time Smoked: 1 hour 45 minutes.
Wrapper: San Andres.
Filler: Dominican and Nicaragua.
Size: 6” x 65.