Cigar Review: Ventura Cigars Cuban Cigar Factory – Manolo Quesada – Rated 93

2019 was a big year for Ventura Cigars. The company introduced the Archetype Chapter 3, the PSyKo Seven Nicaragua with Indiana Ortez, and the new Cuban Cigar Factory collaborations which are focused on some of the best master blenders in the industry.

It was about 2 years ago when Ventura Cigars announced they acquired a small, family-run, boutique cigar factory based out of San Diego, CA known as the Cuban Cigar Factory. For over 20 years this small factory has been producing cigars. This year, they were in the spotlight at the Ventura Cigars booth at the 2019 Premium Cigar Association Trade Show featuring the two Master Blender collaborations – the Manolo Quesada and the Benji Menendez.

The Cuban Cigar Factory, Manolo Quesada is the subject of today’s review.

Manolo Quesada is a fourth-generation master from a lineage of tobacco growers, brokers, and blenders that stretch back over a century. His career began in pre-Castro Cuba, where he first developed a taste for the intricacies of tobacco at his father’s company. Also forced to leave Cuba by Castro’s rise to power, Quesada went to the Dominican Republic, where he founded MATASA in 1972, from the humble beginnings of a chair, a phone, three rollers, and $100. Over the decades, MATASA has flourished under Quesada’s intuitive, expert eye for quality and flavor, making his knowledge for the past and present a natural fit for the Cuban Cigar Factory project.

From Ventura Cigars June 2019 Press Release
Manolo Quesada for Cuban Cigar Factory
Manolo Quesada for Cuban Cigar Factory

The Manolo Quesada for Cuban Cigar Factory is described as a rich and savory blend composed of:

  • Wrapper – Habano Ecuador
  • Binder – Ecuadorian
  • Filler – Dominican

The Manolo Quesada blend is expressed in 3 vitolas and comes packaged in 20-count boxes:

  • Robusto: 5 x 50 MSRP $12.99
  • Toro: 6 x 50, MSRP $13.99
  • Belicoso: 6.25 x 52 MSRP $14.49

Having rested for over 2 months in my humidor, it was time to burn this one to ash. For this review I sampled the Robusto vitola.


Pre-Light Examination

The Manolo Quesada for Cuban Cigar Factory is a glistening, medium tan cigar that is finished with a double cap. It is solid in the hand and has tight seams. There are some light veins running through the leaf.

There is one die-cut band that adorns the cigar which has the Cuban Cigar Factory logo and name on top, using a black background and gold print. Below the logo is the name Manolo Quesada printed in all caps using white ink on a light blue background.

Running the cigar along the nose I picked up a pungent barrel along with nut and butter off the foot.

Slicing the cap straight across the shoulder with my double blade cutter, I gave it a few cold draw puffs that I found to be spot-on with restriction and notes of pepper on the lips and butter and fruit notes on the palate.

With the pre-light complete, I warmed the foot with a double flame torch bringing it to an even orange glow and drew in the first puffs of creamy thick, pepper laden smoke.


Cigar Review Notes

Manolo Quesada for Cuban Cigar Factory
Manolo Quesada for Cuban Cigar Factory
Manolo Quesada for Cuban Cigar Factory
Manolo Quesada for Cuban Cigar Factory
Manolo Quesada for Cuban Cigar Factory
Manolo Quesada for Cuban Cigar Factory
Manolo Quesada for Cuban Cigar Factory
Manolo Quesada for Cuban Cigar Factory
  • Early light gets some pepper through creamy thick smoke
  • Medium grey ash rests on a medium char line
  • Buttery notes take over with lessened pepper
  • Slight grass notes fill in the background
  • Sweet cinnamon spice rounds out the early profile
  • Slight wave in burn after inch
  • Nice crackle in the burn – love when I can hear the cigar burn
  • Citrus notes enter
  • Smoke is getting quite smooth
  • As the ash fell, the burn cone was a bit off-centered
  • Light spice maintains in the second third as the strength moves up
  • Nutty aroma
  • Overall smooth smoke so far
  • Burns a bit hot to the touch midway
  • Fruit notes
  • Spice swirls in again down to the finish
  • Medium Strength
  • Total Smoking Time was 1 hour and 20 minutes

Overall, the Manolo Quesada for Cuban Cigar Factory was a pleasant cigar that started with an early pepper burn and quickly settled into an array of smooth and blended flavors including butter, cinnamon spice, and nut. There was a mild sweetness in the background that kept it pleasurable down to the nub. The ash was outstanding, holding for a good half of the burn. It did have a slightly off-centered burn cone and the cigar burned a bit hot to the touch near the midway point. I rate this one a 93.

Point Deductions: (-1) Off-Centered Burn Cone; (-2) Burned hot to the touch in second half; (-1) Wave in the burn

Bonus Points: (+1) Long Ash

Manolo Quesada for Cuban Cigar Factory
Manolo Quesada for Cuban Cigar Factory

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