Manuel Quesada likes to tell the story about his first days of making cigars in the Dominican Republic, with the company’s sole assets being “$100, a chair and a phone.” It was 1974, and Manufactura de Tabacos S.A. (Matasa) was the only cigar factory in Santiago’s first free-trade zone.
Quesada has been making cigars continuously since 1974, and today—45 years later—his company is known as Quesada Cigars, and it makes cigars in a new, far larger factory in a free zone in the Dominican city of Licey. To celebrate the company's history, Quesada is poised to release a new brand called Quesada 1974.
Quesada 1974 is made with an Ecuador wrapper, Dominican binder and a mix of Dominican and Nicaraguan fillers. The company describes the new blend as a medium to full-bodied smoke.
The cigar will come in four sizes: Robusto (5 inches long by 50 ring gauge), Short Robusto (4 by 50), Corona (6 by 43) and Lancero (7 by 38). The two robusto sizes will come in boxes of 25, while the other two smokes will be packed 28 to the box.
The cigar is making its debut in the Spanish market and should be reaching stores now, with prices ranging from 6.20 euros ($7) to 7.50 euros ($8.50) per cigar. Those attending the ProCigar Festival next week in the Dominican Republic will be able to sample the smoke; it will be included as part of the registration box filled with Dominican cigars that is presented to all who attend the Festival.
Quesada 1974 will be presented to U.S. retailers this summer at the IPCPR trade show in Las Vegas and will reach U.S. markets later this year.