August 29, 2011

Cigar Review: Quesada Oktoberfest The Bavarian

The Cigar and its Pairings 
When I found out that Quesada Cigars was going to be releasing a cigar named Oktoberfest, that was meant to be paired with Märzenbier, I was very excited. I am a huge fan of Märzenbier, and I always look forward to the season. Märzen is to be brewed during the dates of September 29th and April 23rd, and is then bottled and released in the late summer early fall. Märzen is the beer of choice during Oktoberfest in Munich, Germany, and is my favorite style of beer. I find it really shows great flavors, and the fall is the best time to drink beer for me. Now the cigar, Oktoberfest, is a Dominican puro made in the Dominican Republic by Quesada Cigars. The cigar features a dark and oily wrapper that looks like it is undergone the maduro process, which is from the Cibao Valley in the Dominican Republic, and has Ligero and Viso tobacco that is Cuban Seed Criollo and Olor in the filler. They do not specify the type of tobacco for the binder, but it is obviously Dominican. I chose The Bavarian size, which is 5 1/2" with a 52 ring gauge. I paired this cigar with several Märzen style beers, but I have also smoked it on its own. The cigar is very nice on its own, but it really shows great flavors and excels with a nice Märzenbier. The beers I chose were the Sam Adams Octoberfest, Otter Creek Oktoberfest, Saranac Octoberfest, Spaten Octoberfest and Flying Dog Dogtoberfest. Throughout the cigar I am tasting it with the beers I chose. I will be reviewing the cigar, and with that seeing which beer goes the best with it, in my opinion. The beers are brewed in the same style, but I want to see which Märzen is the best fit for the cigar. Prost!
The Oktoberfest Beers - Märzen
The cigar begins wonderfully showing lots of heavy flavors while remaining medium in body. I am picking up a lot of bread and toasty notes, with some bitter chocolate, earth, wood and and malty flavors. The cigar is burning beautifully and is really great with the beers. Throughout the first third all five beers were showing great flavors of caramel, malt, hops, toast, and oak, but they all differed in strength. I found that the Otter Creek was not as strong as the cigar and was being overpowered, but the other four were pairing nicely. At this point I am saying that the Sam Adams, Saranac and Spaten were pairing the best with the cigar, and looking forward to seeing where we go from here. You can see, from the picture above, the different shades of Amber the beers had, and as you can see with Otter Creek, second from left, it is the lightest.

As I got into the second third of the cigar the flavors of the cigar changed a little, but overall it was very constant. I think this cigar is really nice, but it really needs to be paired with beer to shows its strengths. The second third showed a lot of dark chocolate and oak notes up front, but it finished with a nice earth, bread and spice flavor. The second third of the cigar was definitely a lot better than the first third, and because of its increase in strength as well, was pairing even better with the beers. As for beers in the second third, I was still sampling all of them, but I was down to my final three which I mentioned earlier. At this point I think the Spaten is out of the race, and now it goes head to head with the Sam Adams and Saranac. I liked the Spaten, but I just did not think it was pairing as well with the cigar. It was at this point that my wife came out to see if I was still sober, and wanted to taste some beers as well. She sampled the beers and cigar, and found that I was right on with my pairing as well. The cigar was still burning perfectly and producing wonderful smoke as well.

I am in the final third now and the cigar is going strong. It is showing some nice chocolate, spice and bread flavors up front, but it also is showing that malt, earth and wood flavors from earlier. It is probably medium-full in body, but really balanced and unique. I have smoked cigars with beers before, but this is by far the best pairing I have ever had. I have finished most of the beers, well the ones I think did the best, and this has been great. Quesada Cigars did an amazing job with this blend, and I look forward to smoking it with other beers this fall. The cigar burned slow and cool all the way to the end, and when I put it down I was still tasting the wonderful flavors from earlier. A great cigar that was great with these beers. Now which beer did I prefer?
Oktoberfest Band
For drinking Märzenbier and smoking a cigar, this is the best choice, and it gets a 92. I loved the flavors that the cigar gave off, and I love that it went great with each and everyone of these beers. Sam Adams Octoberfest is probably my favorite Märzenbier, but with this cigar I am going for the Saranac. The cigar and beer paired so well together showing wonderful notes of honey, barley, malt, chocolate, toasted nuts and bread. It was interesting to see the flavors that this cigar gave with the beer, and vice versa. I don't think you can loose if you smoke this cigar with any one of these beers, but for my money I would go with the Saranac and have a treat. I think the Otter Creek was a little too weak for the cigar, Flying Dog was a very different style Märzen than I have had, and the Spaten just lacked a little complexity that was needed with the cigar. The Sam Adams was great, but it just didn't produce those unique flavors that the Saranac did with the cigar.    Really a fun cigar, and a great project that Quesada Cigars took on. It had to have been difficult blending a cigar to go with a specific style of beer, but they accomplished it, and did a great job. I look forward to my next Oktoberfest by Quesada and Saranac, and more importantly, I look forward to fall! Prost!
The Beers and Cigars