Quesada Cigars is rolling out the 2017 iteration of its annual St. Patrick's Day Keg, a batch of limited-edition cigars blended to complement stout beers.
This year, Quesada says it has produced a fuller-bodied cigar by revamping the existing blend. It's also added a Belicoso to the line, which, like all the sizes, comes packaged in a miniaturized keg marked with a Guinness-esque Quesada logo. The cigars will begin shipping next week.
The St. Patrick's Day blend remains the same as last year: a dark, Pennsylvania broadleaf wrapper draped over all-Nicaraguan binder and filler. The components of the blend, however, were tweaked to complement heavier imperial stouts, as well as traditional Irish stouts.
Quesada says the imperial stout pairing was also in consideration when it decided to add a figurado to the line.
"We wanted to strengthen the blend. The tapering of the Belicoso channels the smoke and thereby assists in intensifying the flavor," said Terence Reilly of Quesada Cigars.
The Belicoso, which measures 6 inches by 54 ring gauge and comes in a keg of 20, joins the Lonsdale (6 by 44, keg of 30), Toro (6 by 50, keg of 21) and Gordo (6 by 60, keg of 16). All of the sizes have been tweaked for added strength.
The cigars are made by the Plasencia Family at their factory in Nicaragua. Only 500 kegs of each size will be produced, carrying a price range between $5.95 and $8.95 per cigar.
If you're looking for a stout to pair with a keg cigar, Reilly told Cigar Aficionado the specific brews the blenders worked with when creating the blend.
"We used BCS [Bourbon County Brand Stout] from Goose Island, Old Rasputin Imperial Stout from North Coast Brewing Co., and a personal favorite, BOMB! from Prairie Artisan Ales."