Que Vida! or in English – “What a Life”. Yea that sums it up for me. It’s far from over, but for more than a half-century, I have enjoyed a good run with great friendships developing over those years especially through the Brotheres and Sisters of the Leaf. The nice thing about friendships – they bring more friendships.
At this years IPCPR in Las Vegas, I was hanging out with my friend Riste Risteski from Jas Sum Kral cigars, and Ryan Rodriguez from Ohana Cigars in their booth, I don’t recall which one it was, but one of these fine Cigar Men introduced me to Que Vida Cigars who was sharing the booth area. Now, I never heard of Que Vida before that moment, but I am happy that my friendship with Riste and Ryan led me to another small boutique cigar line. It is amazing how cigars bring people together!
The Que Vida is the debut cigar and the namesake for this young company, founded in 2014, by Timothy H. Phan and Manny Boujotas. In fact, Timothy explained to me that it was the Summer of 2014 when Manny kicked him into building a brand. I spent some time speaking with the Que Vida team as they showed me what they had to offer. There it was, the Que Vida cigar, being finished right in front of my eyes. The company only has one blend at this juncture, but one blend can make a splash if it is solid.
The blend is described as proprietary, but the Que Vida website gives some hints to its makeup:
“..the Seco, Viso, and Ligero heralds from the Jalapa region of Nicaragua with its filler from Esteli. Finished with a double fermented Ecuadorian Habano wrapper, we present to you, the Que Vida Cigar.”
Produced at Noel Rojas’ Tabacalare NOA, in Esteli, Nicaragua (which is the same factory as Riste and Ryans cigars) – the Que Vida cigar is available in 3 vitolas and come packaged in 20-Count boxes:
- Robusto (5×50) MSRP $7.50
- Toro (6×52) MSRP $8.00
- Gordo (6×60) MSRP $9.00
Que Vida Cigars is based out of the Fort Lee area of New Jersey, so if you have not heard about this cigar, it is because they are new and have centered operations primarily in the NY/NJ area but are slowly expanding out. Looking at their website I can see they are also in Texas, California, North Carolina, and Florida.
I reached out to Timothy this week, and he and I will schedule a telephone interview in the future to talk further about the history of Que Vida, so stay tuned for that.
So let’s see how the Que Vida cigar performs and pleases the palate. Note that the cigar I received was a pre-release and that is why there was no band on it.
For this review I sampled the Que Vida Robusto which has rested for 4 1/2 months in my humidor
Cigar Review Notes
- Pre-release cigar (that is why there is no band)
- Excellently packed cigar – solid in the hand
- Smooth medium brown marbled wrapper
- The foot gives off an orchard of fruit aroma – wow!
- The cold draw offers some light earth, pepper and honey
- Once ignited, I am awakened with a healthy pepper shot through the nasals
- Pepper continues through a good inch of the burn
- A buttery note breaks through
- The light grey ash fell quickly divulging a fairly centered burn cone on a thin char line
- The butter is joined with a touch of the pre-light honey
- A light fruit aroma evolves
- Sweet spice develops at the start of the second third
- Cedar note follows in the second third
- The aroma is turning into a pleasant nut
- The full body of smoke is very smooth at this point
- Strength is medium-plus at the half way point
- The nut works into the profile by middle of second third with a long finish
- Spice builds in the final with a citrus tang background
If you can get your hands on a Que Vida cigar you would be doing your palate justice. This is one of those hidden gems out there in the crowded cigar market. It had a flawless burn and delivered a full body of flavorful smoke that was not over the top in strength. This is perfect mid-afternoon or early evening cigar that would pair very well with a double espresso or fine Cognac. I look forward to great things from this young company.