Terence Reilly has been a busy man of late. While Munich’s annual Oktoberfest celebration ended on October 3, Reilly has been hosting his own version of the famous beer festival at cigar shops across the country, headlined by the 2017 version of Quesada Oktoberfest, the cigar created to pair with Märzen-style beers.
I caught up with Reilly, a jack-of-all-trades for Quesada Cigars and the nephew of company patriarch Manuel Quesada, last week in Midtown Manhattan. Reilly was at the Nat Sherman Townhouse on 42nd Street overseeing another Quesada Oktoberfest event for about 50 or so customers.
It was the first time I had visited the Townhouse since Nat Sherman was acquired by the Altria Group earlier this year. I walked in bracing myself for a different look, but truth be told the place still looks the same. Same great old-timey feel; same great humidor filled with a variety of good smokes.
At the end of the wooden counter with the store’s cash register was a long table covered in decorative beer steins. Quesada Oktoberfest events come with a stein to enjoy beer throughout the evening, and when you leave you take the stein home. This evening, Reilly was offering two mainstay German beers—Spaten Oktoberfest and Hacker-Pschorr Original Oktoberfest—as well as Sam Adams Oktoberfest, which is brewed in the United States.
I put my bag down and was handed the new Oktoberfest Dominican Kaiser Ludwig, a 6 inch by 49 ring box-pressed smoke. The Dominican puro is largely the same blend as previous versions, only it uses a different, lower priming wrapper. Seconds after I snipped the cigar and lit it up, traditional big brass German music, complete with accordions, started piping through the store’s sound system.
Guests mingled upstairs in the main part of the store and downstairs in the cozy Johnson Room. An assortment of German foods, including sausages in pretzel buns, pork schnitzel sliders and potato salad, were brought out at a steady clip.
I found my Kaiser Ludwig paired well with the Hacker-Pschorr, but opted to switch over to the Oktoberfest Nicaragua Das Brauhaus, a 4 1/2 by 60 perfecto. According to Reilly, the smoke, which is blended only with Nicaraguan tobaccos, uses a different vintage of wrapper leaf than the 2016 blend. Again, it was a great smoke, and I felt it paired nicely with malt-forward Spaten Oktoberfest.
In the middle of the event attendees were encouraged to head upstairs for a series of raffles. Reilly started by giving away a box of Oktoberfests from 2016, then five sticks from the 2015 run, followed by a box of 2017 Oktoberfest Nicaraguas.
After, the music kicked back up and guests went back to their beer and smokes. Until next year, prost!
Quesada Cigars Oktoberfest 2017 Event Dates
Oct. 13: Twins Smoke Shop, Londonderry, NH
Oct. 21: Famous Smoke Shop, Easton, PA
Oct. 25: JR Cigar, Whippany, NJ
Oct. 26: Casa de Montecristo, New York, NY (both stores)
Oct. 27: Castro's Back Room, Keene, NH
Oct. 27: Casa de Montecristo, Nashville, TN