When Quesada Cigars crafted a special barber-pole version of its lauded Reserva Privada for a shop in Arizona last year, the company thought it was going to be a simple store exclusive and nothing more, writing it off as a gimmick. But after smoking and enjoying samples, the company chose to release a limited quantity of Reserva Privada Barberpoles nationwide, with more to come in September.
The new Barberpole intertwines the light, Ecuadoran Connecticut wrapper from the original Reserva Privada released two years ago with the darker, Connecticut broadleaf cover leaf used on last year's Reserva Privada Oscuro.
The binder in the new Reserva Privada Barberpole is the same from previous versions: San Vicente tobacco from a 1997 bumper crop grown by the Quesadas in the Dominican Republic. The leaf also appears in the filler, along with a touch of Pennsylvania broadleaf ligero for body and strength.
Reserva Privada Barberpole is available in two sizes: Toro, which measures 5 5/8 inches by 54 ring gauge, and Robusto, at 4 3/4 by 52. The Toro carries a suggested retail price of $14.65, while the Robusto will sell for $13.60. Each will come in boxes of 10, but only 300 boxes of each size are being released.
"When we first released the Reserva Privada, the 1997 vintage tobaccos we use for the binder and in the filler was sufficient for, depending on production numbers, a four- to six-year span," said Terence Reilly, of Quesada Cigars. "Producing the Barberpoles in small quantities was therefore necessary because the production calculations didn't include these cigars, and we didn't want to affect significantly the lifespan of the brand in the original Connecticut wrapper."
According to Reilly, 150 boxes were shipped in July following the IPCPR trade show, and the next 150 will be shipped in September.
The first Quesada Reserva Privada scored well with Cigar Aficionado, in particular the 6 1/2 x 56, which scored 92 points. The follow-up Reserva Privada Oscuro averaged 87.7 points in a July 19, 2016 vertical tasting.